Author Topic: Sweetening cider for SWMBO  (Read 788 times)

Offline mattybrass

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Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« on: December 17, 2014, 05:51:12 PM »
Hey,

I have a cider that ive been aging since last november in my basement. Its time to keg it up. Im mainly making it for my girlfriend who really likes cider, on the sweeter side. She likes the sweetness of Angry Orchard. I attempted to take a FG reading and my hydrometer read 1.025. I degassed the cider first and let it come to room temp. Does this reading seem correct? I plan on using apple juice concentrate to sweeten it, how much do you think ill need to add?

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 06:08:59 PM »
yes 1.025 is reasonable for a sweet cider.  I sweeten to about 1.004 for myself and 1.008 or 9 for most competition.  With my very high acid levels most people find them just slightly off-dry.

I recommend you take some samples and sit down with her and sweeten to taste before considering sweetening (and perhaps overdoing it) the whole keg.  Impression of sweetness will of course change with carbonation, acidity, tannin, serving temperature, so tasting at serving temp/carb is best, but you can still get a good idea.

I'd have some acid and perhaps a little tannin ready to play with while you're adjusting sweetness.  carbonator cap and a plastic bottle will come in handy too for a fairly quick test. 

good luck--
--Michael

Offline erockrph

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 06:11:02 PM »
Hey,

I have a cider that ive been aging since last november in my basement. Its time to keg it up. Im mainly making it for my girlfriend who really likes cider, on the sweeter side. She likes the sweetness of Angry Orchard. I attempted to take a FG reading and my hydrometer read 1.025. I degassed the cider first and let it come to room temp. Does this reading seem correct? I plan on using apple juice concentrate to sweeten it, how much do you think ill need to add?
That doesn't seem right to me. I like a similar style cider, much like Woodchuck, Angry Orchard, etc. I usually end up in the 1.012-1.015 range.

The best way to figure this out is to taste-test a few samples. If you're making this for your girlfriend, then bring her in on it. Pour a few samples and dose them with varying amounts of concentrate. Take the one she likes best and scale that amount up to the whole batch. It may also help bring her into the hobby.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 06:13:29 PM »
Have you tasted it? If it's really 1.025 that will be pretty sweet as is, but I'd be shocked if your cider stopped there on its own. Most yeasts will bring cider down to 1.000 or even below. Are you sure the hydrometer wasn't sitting on the bottom of your flask?
 
If it were at 1.000, 2 or 4 cans would range from semi-dry to semi-sweet.  I'd just sweeten to taste.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 06:15:03 PM by Jimmy K »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 06:16:46 PM »

I recommend you take some samples and sit down with her and sweeten to taste before considering sweetening (and perhaps overdoing it) the whole keg.  Impression of sweetness will of course change with carbonation, acidity, tannin, serving temperature, so tasting at serving temp/carb is best, but you can still get a good idea.

I'd have some acid and perhaps a little tannin ready to play with while you're adjusting sweetness.  carbonator cap and a plastic bottle will come in handy too for a fairly quick test. 

good luck--
--Michael

^^^^^^.  Get your sample the way you want it and scale up. Takes out the guesswork.
Jon H.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 06:24:57 PM »
Here's how I do it.
 
There are 80 cups in 5 gallons. There are 96 1/2 teaspoons in a cup. This means adding a 1/2 tsp of (sweetener, concentrate, spice, whatever) to 1 cup of cider is about the same (-ish) as adding 1 cup to 5 gallons.
 
So take a cup of cider and add concentrate in 1/2 tsp increments. When you get what you like, add 1 cup of concentrate to the 5gallon for each 1/2 tsp you added to the sample.
 
OK, the math is a little fuzzy here. It works if you just want to ballpark sweetness. If you want more accuracy, add 1/2 tsp increments to 6.5oz of samples of cider.
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Offline mattybrass

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 06:31:46 PM »
Thanks, ill try the 1/2 tsp option!

also when i said the FG of the cider is 1.025 i meant the Angry Orchard i was testing. My cider is definitely 1.000 or below, its been sitting for a while, probably 9-10 months since i last took a gravity reading or sampled it.

Ill do both once i bring it upstairs.


Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 06:38:31 PM »
Thanks, ill try the 1/2 tsp option!

also when i said the FG of the cider is 1.025 i meant the Angry Orchard i was testing. My cider is definitely 1.000 or below, its been sitting for a while, probably 9-10 months since i last took a gravity reading or sampled it.

Ill do both once i bring it upstairs.
aha. makes sense now. couldn't figure out why you would backsweeten 1.025.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Sweetening cider for SWMBO
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 06:43:15 PM »
That definitely sounds right for angry orchard. You might want to add malic acid as well to balance sweetness. Concentrate will also have acidity, so you might not need it.
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