Author Topic: Cider Making 2014  (Read 1579 times)

Offline el_capitan

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Cider Making 2014
« on: October 12, 2014, 03:14:12 PM »
Well I'm blowing the dust off my 'apple scratter' and fruit press today and making a batch of cider with my sister and her husband.  They brought a bunch of apples with them so they'll take all the juice with them.  I have a ton of apples just waiting to be processed - I'll end up doing mine on Thursday of this week. 

The last time I made cider (2008), I fermented 30 gallons with 6 different yeasts, and I'm just now drinking the last of it.  It has held up really well over 6 years in the bottle!  I'll post some pics of our setup later on.  Fall weather, full colors, and fresh cider.  Perfect!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 03:44:59 PM »
Will look for the pictures.

What apple varieties do you have to press?
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 03:48:13 PM »
I have my first batch finishing up primary as we speak. I'm trying something based on one of the presentations at this year's NHC. I have 1.5 gallons in primary with enough brown sugar to target an ABV of ~9%. Then I'm going to rack to a keg, sorbate/sulfate, then backsweeten with fresh cider & force carbonate. This should hopefully net me something in the ballpark 6-7% with a bit more apple character.

Batch 1 has some homegrown cranberries added to it. For batch 2 I'm planning on boiling down some cider and using that to boost the gravity of the primary batch instead of sugar, then backsweetening it with fresh cider again. I might add some cinnamon to that one (possibly added right to the cider reduction at flameout).
Eric B.

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Offline ultravista

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 04:01:57 PM »
I brewed a batch of hard cider last year with WLP530. It turned out great.

Offline denny

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 04:13:01 PM »
We have apple trees and a really nice press, so fir years I made a batch of cider every year.  About 3 years ago, I realized I made it but never drank it.  I dumped pout about 6-8 cases that were past their prime.  We've got a huge apple crop this year, though, so I may give it another go.  Generally, we just freeze the juice so we can drink it throughout the year, but we've got such a big crop that there's not enough freezer space for it all.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 04:51:56 PM »
I'm gonna branch out with the cider making a little more next year. I've done split batches to experiment with different yeast strains ,and I've fortified ciders with raisins and/or sugar, more apfelwein style. But I do like the apple character and shorter aging requirements of the 5% abv ciders. But I also haven't made one with cranberries which I definitely want to try next year - one of the best ciders I ever tried was made with cranberries and had a great balance of apple and cranberries. I want to shoot for that.
But there's some 'out of the box' stuff going on with ciders now that has me interested - stuff like using Belgian strains (as in the above posted WLP530) as well as dry hopped ciders which would've never occurred to me. But I saw a couple dry hopped ciders reviewed a few issues back in Zymurgy. IIRC Gordon liked at least one of them. So I think I'm gonna split 10 gallons four ways next time and make a standard, a cranberry, a Belgian, and a dry hopped. Sounds fun.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2014, 05:16:07 PM »
I'm gonna branch out with the cider making a little more next year. I've done split batches to experiment with different yeast strains ,and I've fortified ciders with raisins and/or sugar, more apfelwein style. But I do like the apple character and shorter aging requirements of the 5% abv ciders. But I also haven't made one with cranberries which I definitely want to try next year - one of the best ciders I ever tried was made with cranberries and had a great balance of apple and cranberries. I want to shoot for that.
But there's some 'out of the box' stuff going on with ciders now that has me interested - stuff like using Belgian strains (as in the above posted WLP530) as well as dry hopped ciders which would've never occurred to me. But I saw a couple dry hopped ciders reviewed a few issues back in Zymurgy. IIRC Gordon liked at least one of them. So I think I'm gonna split 10 gallons four ways next time and make a standard, a cranberry, a Belgian, and a dry hopped. Sounds fun.
I've done the dry-hopped thing. It was good, but the cider I used was unfortified and bone dry. I really think you want a little residual sweetness and a slightly bigger cider to compliment the dry hop character. I used Nelson, and I still think it's probably the perfect hop for this application. I'd use it again if I were to do another dry-hopped cider.

As far as Belgian strains go, I've used T-58 a few times, but I never got any real Belgian yeast character in the finished cider. Maybe you need to ferment warm for that, I was at 60ish. Right now I'm using 71B. I use it for cysers, so I figure it will be equally as good for ciders.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2014, 05:39:36 PM »
This year I have 6 gallons juice that I will be splitting 6 ways.  Last year I played with different apple blends and kept yeast a constant (Cote des Blancs).  This year primarily I want to run some more yeast experiments and keep the juice relatively simple.  My plans:

2 gallons fresh local orchard juice go into 6 gallons of my famous Smoked Harvest Apple Ale (uses WLP400/3944).  Redd's, eat your heart out... my apple ale actually tastes GOOD.  The juice is a 50/50 mix from two orchards, one of which is very aromatic and sweet, and the other relatively bland but very tart.  Should turn out very nice.  Same blend goes for the next two batches of cider cider.

1 gallon fresh local orchard juice will be fermented with my favorite yeast, Cote des Blancs, which always turns out positively awesome and applesaucy but a bit dry.

1 gallon fresh local orchard juice will be fermented with Wyeast 1728 Scottish ale yeast, which based on what I've heard from others is supposed to keep the cider a little sweeter but nicely balanced.

1 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with my favorite yeast, Cote des Blancs.

1/2 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with Nottingham ale yeast, which people have said results in a clean, semi-dry cider.

1/2 gallon home-juiced from primarily Jonathan, Cortland and McIntosh will be fermented with US-05.  I have had great results with this yeast before, although it does leave a slightly honey-like ale-like flavor.  Certainly more tasty than Redd's Apple Ale though.

That should do the trick for this season.  I make cider once a year.  This is the week.

I shall never hop a cider.  Yuck.

I have tasted many Belgian yeast ciders.  They do NOT taste Belgiany.  Sorry.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2014, 06:01:07 PM »

I shall never hop a cider.  Yuck.

I have tasted many Belgian yeast ciders.  They do NOT taste Belgiany.  Sorry.

BOTH of these!  ^^^^
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2014, 06:05:12 PM »

I've done the dry-hopped thing. It was good, but the cider I used was unfortified and bone dry. I really think you want a little residual sweetness and a slightly bigger cider to compliment the dry hop character. I used Nelson, and I still think it's probably the perfect hop for this application. I'd use it again if I were to do another dry-hopped cider.


Yeah, it would definitely need a little sweetness to balance in my mind. I usually backsweeten most ciders to ~ 1.006 - 1.008ish anyway. Nelson came to mind, as well as Calypso and it's apple/pear character. Possibly Caliente too, or even El Dorado which I find too fruity in beer.
As for the Belgian strains, I was thinking WY3522 could work nicely with its tartness, as well as a Saison strain with is tart, earthy quality. If, like Dave says, the Belgian character doesn't transfer to cider as readily, worst case, I made drinkable cider. We'll see how it works out.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2014, 06:20:39 PM »
I'm gonna be contrarian; deal with it.

I dry hop my cider and it is awesome.  YMMV.

I've been known to use some Belgian yeasts too, with good/gold results.  As for how overtly Belgian they are, that's not my point.  If I like the flavor profile, success.

This Thursday I am serving 6 of my ciders to a group of 60 women.  Off-dry New World, semi-sweet that is sort of between New World and French, peach with just a touch of ginger, tart cherry, dry-hopped sweet cider, and a ridiculous ~15% monster that started as a batch of Fall's Bounty Cyser from Schramm's book and is slowly being blended and nudged towards New England Cider.  With everything that has been blended together over the last couple years there's at least 10 yeasts represented there. 

I'm not expecting everyone to love everything, but I'm betting I go home empty.

cheers--
--Michael

Offline erockrph

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2014, 06:39:55 PM »
I'm gonna be contrarian; deal with it.

I dry hop my cider and it is awesome.  YMMV.

I've been known to use some Belgian yeasts too, with good/gold results.  As for how overtly Belgian they are, that's not my point.  If I like the flavor profile, success.

This Thursday I am serving 6 of my ciders to a group of 60 women.  Off-dry New World, semi-sweet that is sort of between New World and French, peach with just a touch of ginger, tart cherry, dry-hopped sweet cider, and a ridiculous ~15% monster that started as a batch of Fall's Bounty Cyser from Schramm's book and is slowly being blended and nudged towards New England Cider.  With everything that has been blended together over the last couple years there's at least 10 yeasts represented there. 

I'm not expecting everyone to love everything, but I'm betting I go home empty.

cheers--
--Michael
I don't think it's contrarian. We all do what we like. All of this sounds awesome to me. Personally, I drank a 6-pack of Woodchuck every weekend for a couple of years in college. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy every single cider that has been described on this thread so far, but if I'm making it for myself, then I'd prefer something slightly sweet and fizzy that I can put down by the pint.
Eric B.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2014, 06:44:59 PM »
I'm gonna be contrarian; deal with it.

I dry hop my cider and it is awesome.  YMMV.

I've been known to use some Belgian yeasts too, with good/gold results.  As for how overtly Belgian they are, that's not my point.  If I like the flavor profile, success.

This Thursday I am serving 6 of my ciders to a group of 60 women.  Off-dry New World, semi-sweet that is sort of between New World and French, peach with just a touch of ginger, tart cherry, dry-hopped sweet cider, and a ridiculous ~15% monster that started as a batch of Fall's Bounty Cyser from Schramm's book and is slowly being blended and nudged towards New England Cider.  With everything that has been blended together over the last couple years there's at least 10 yeasts represented there. 

I'm not expecting everyone to love everything, but I'm betting I go home empty.

cheers--
--Michael

+2. Not contrarian to me. All of your ciders sound awesome.
Jon H.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2014, 08:40:04 PM »

+2. Not contrarian to me. All of your ciders sound awesome.

well, they're not.  Mostly yes, but just today I confirmed a problem.  You guys familiar with "mouse"...? 

my first mousy batch; not bad for well over 100 total.

I decided not to dump it all immediately.  There will be one other guy in attendance on Thursday; I'm going to have him taste it before/after an alkaline mouth rinse and describe it to the ladies.  Drinks AND entertainment.  ;)

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cider Making 2014
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2014, 10:21:47 PM »

+2. Not contrarian to me. All of your ciders sound awesome.

well, they're not.  Mostly yes, but just today I confirmed a problem.  You guys familiar with "mouse"...? 

my first mousy batch; not bad for well over 100 total.



I've dodged the mouse so far. OTOH I've made less than half that number of ciders. Sounds like your batting average is still pretty high though !
Jon H.