Author Topic: cider:water ratio for a cyser?  (Read 2628 times)

Offline HistDrew

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cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« on: October 10, 2015, 02:50:25 PM »
Hi--

I'm looking to make a mead but to substitute cider for some of the water. So, a cyser. I'd like to get a decent balance of flavor--not a full-on cider, not a full-on mead. Essentially I'd like a nice undercurrent of apple flavor to the mead. I've done a bit of recipe searching, and see the couple of recipes on this site, but haven't found anything that seems to fit what I'm looking for. They either seem "too cider-y" or aren't exactly relevant.

So, I suppose the question is, if I'm going to make a 6-gallon batch, with 3 gallons of cider and 3 gallons of water, what seems like a reasonable amount of honey? I was thinking around 10 lbs. Too much fermentable sugar? Too apple-y? Any guidance or recipe recommendations would be much appreciated.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 11:28:31 PM »
I've never used *any* water in a cyser, fwiw. Excess apple flavor just isn't a problem I've ever encountered.

Also, don't forget honey volume. Your 6 gallon suggestion would have almost 7gal w/ the honey. It depends, but more often than not I use 4g juice to 1 g honey, or about 12 lb
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 11:37:57 PM by udubdawg »

Offline pete b

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2015, 12:15:47 PM »
I always use all cider in a cyser. It doesn't taste like cider. The honey and residual sweetness give it a lot of mouth feel and the apple isn't overwhelming.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2015, 12:28:17 PM »
Thanks! to both of you. Very helpful. And thanks for the reminder about the volume of honey. I'll likely go with 3 gals cider, 2 water [today is brew day, I can't get any more of that cider], and then the honey. Much appreciated!

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2015, 12:49:29 PM »
This question is interesting to me, as I plan on making a cyser for the first time, in the next couple of days.  Everyone adds water to make mead, right?  So my thinking on cyser is that it really depends on what you want:

1) Do you want a "traditional" cyser where I'm sure no water would have been added, which will turn out quite high in alcohol as the honey obviously will boost the ~6% ABV that the apple juice already gives you?  If so, then just add as much honey as you want, up to perhaps the limit of alcohol that you want.

Or

2) Do you want an easy quaffer of a reasonable 7-8% ABV?  If so, then you will certainly need to dilute with water or it will be way stronger than that.

Personally I've decided that I want no higher than 7.5% (Option #2), but that I want to add more honey than would be required to give me 7.5%, and therefore, I'll definitely need to dilute.  I haven't done all of the math yet on this, but I'll calculate it all out assuming that final gravity will be around 1.000 and go from there to get my 7.5% -- so I guess I'll need an OG of about 1.057, no more than that.  But I also want to add at least 3 lb honey with 3 gallons apple juice.  So I still need to calculate how much water it will take to bring gravity back down to 1.057 or so.  It might be a lot of water, and I'm okay with that -- there will certainly be no shortage of flavor!  I don't need rocket fuel, and I don't need to win any contests.  This cyser is for ME to drink (and my friends), so I'm going to make it to suit MY own tastes!  I don't care about "the rules" on this one.  For me I need to have anything but rocket fuel!  Something I can actually have one or two whole bottles of if I want to and not pass out on the floor.

As part of my "cider" volume, I actually plan on adding some mulberry juice.  Just a little bit.  It will still be primarily a cyser.  Mmm.... this is going to be really good.
Dave

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Offline pete b

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2015, 01:53:02 PM »
This question is interesting to me, as I plan on making a cyser for the first time, in the next couple of days.  Everyone adds water to make mead, right?  So my thinking on cyser is that it really depends on what you want:

1) Do you want a "traditional" cyser where I'm sure no water would have been added, which will turn out quite high in alcohol as the honey obviously will boost the ~6% ABV that the apple juice already gives you?  If so, then just add as much honey as you want, up to perhaps the limit of alcohol that you want.

Or

2) Do you want an easy quaffer of a reasonable 7-8% ABV?  If so, then you will certainly need to dilute with water or it will be way stronger than that.

Personally I've decided that I want no higher than 7.5% (Option #2), but that I want to add more honey than would be required to give me 7.5%, and therefore, I'll definitely need to dilute.  I haven't done all of the math yet on this, but I'll calculate it all out assuming that final gravity will be around 1.000 and go from there to get my 7.5% -- so I guess I'll need an OG of about 1.057, no more than that.  But I also want to add at least 3 lb honey with 3 gallons apple juice.  So I still need to calculate how much water it will take to bring gravity back down to 1.057 or so.  It might be a lot of water, and I'm okay with that -- there will certainly be no shortage of flavor!  I don't need rocket fuel, and I don't need to win any contests.  This cyser is for ME to drink (and my friends), so I'm going to make it to suit MY own tastes!  I don't care about "the rules" on this one.  For me I need to have anything but rocket fuel!  Something I can actually have one or two whole bottles of if I want to and not pass out on the floor.

As part of my "cider" volume, I actually plan on adding some mulberry juice.  Just a little bit.  It will still be primarily a cyser.  Mmm.... this is going to be really good.
I totally agree with Dave's point that one should brew for their own tastes.For me that's the point of homebrewing. I just bottled a cyser and what I like most about it is its apple charecter. Itwouldn't have that as much if I had diluted with water. I just drink it like wine, its probably 12%, hardly rocket fuel, just a touch of alcohol warmth and lots of appley appleness, a great drink on a New England fall afternoon or evening.
Today I'm bringing a ton of apples (not a literal ton, but hundreds of pounds) to a pressing party and hopefully getting 10+ gallons of fresh cider plus I have two gallons already. I'll make cyser for sipping, and cider and apple ale, based on Dave's recipe/advice from another thread, for quaffing.
It seems the cider/cyser line is being blurred which is good, I would hate to live in a world where cider/cyser rules were not being blurred.
So make what you want!
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2015, 01:54:32 PM »
This is for an event next July 4th. I'll also be serving a mead made with with key lime juice at the same time, as well as a Belgian Quad. Both are already in the keg and aging [hopefully] nicely. With this recipe I'm looking to make something that will be interesting to me and to some friends--more of a mead with some apple cider in it than a full-on cyser.

This is my first time working with cider, and one issue has been figuring out the OG ahead of brewday. Apparently that's not really possible, because of the different sugar levels in apples, pressing methods, etc. Based on what I'm reading here, I'm basically going to put some cider in the pot, check the gravity, add water, check the gravity, add 10lbs of honey, and check the gravity again. Then I'll keep adding H2O and cider and check the gravity as I go. As you seem to be trying to do, I'm shooting for something that's not overly alcoholic, though I'm willing to go a bit higher.

10lbs of honey in 6 gallons of H2O is roughly 1.070, and 15lbs is around 1.105. The cider will nudge that up, of course, so I'll have to find some happy balance--maybe around 1.090 or so. We'll see.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2015, 01:59:53 PM »
OP, have you got plenty of space in this fermenter for 6gallons plus degassing? Also, you're looking at around 12.5% and dry.

Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 02:06:20 PM »
OP, have you got plenty of space in this fermenter for 6gallons plus degassing? Also, you're looking at around 12.5% and dry.

Yeah, it shouldn't be a problem. I have a 6.5 gallon carboy. Good shoulders, good neck. I'll likely keep it a tad under 6 gallons. I've used this particular one for around 100 batches or so.

Dry is good. I prefer my meads that way. I usually use a mix of two yeasts--mead and champagne mixed in a starter--to get the character I like. This time I'm using a champagne and a white wine.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 02:36:28 PM »
After posting here this morning, I got to thinking about a specific recipe for my "morat"/cyser -- I just learned the term "morat" is used for mulberry mead, and that's sort of what I'm going for, except that I want about half my base fermentables from cider and not all honey.  The 1 liter of mulberry should be sufficient for that flavor but if not I have a second liter that I could add in secondary.  So here's what I've kind of figured out, for anyone interested -- this is for 3 gallons of "morat/cyser", planned OG of 1.057-ish and ABV 7.5%-ish:

2.5 lb local basswood and apple blossom honeys (about a 50/50 mix)
1.6 gallons local unpasteurized cider (most likely McIntosh, Cortland, Wealthy, and other local culinaries)
1 liter commercial mulberry juice
0.9 gallon municipal tap water (heated to eliminate chlorine)
1 pack Cote des Blancs yeast

I'm a heat pasteurization guy, as I trust nothing to chance or to sulfites, so I will heat treat the must to about 160 F for 15 minutes, then cool and pitch.  I'm also a bit of a purist, so there will be no chemical additions of any kind, except for possible gelatin (see later) and possible traces of sorbate in the commercial mulberry juice.  Ferment at around 55 F for a month or two, racking once per week to slow the fermentation even more and hopefully stall it out around 1.010.  If proceeding too quickly (as is often the case!), I will hit with gelatin and chill further (probably in my garage in winter!) to knock out the yeast even further.  Want this to finish above 1.000, and 1.005-1.010 would be best.  Eventually after several months, bring up in temperature for a little bit and ensure fermentation is pretty much dead, then prime and bottle.  If I absolutely have to, I'll add sorbate.  Yummy mulberry apple honey wine-cooler!!!!!

I'll confess I'm not a snobbish mead guy at all, I just know what I like and I make it to suit my own tastes!  And I believe this will do the trick VERY nicely.  I can't wait!  Should be heavenly, and not so dang strong so I can drink it like Kool-Aid -- I know -- blasphemy!  It's gonna be great though.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 02:41:06 PM by dmtaylor »
Dave

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Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2015, 02:54:17 PM »
1 liter commercial mulberry juice


Interesting. I have a mulberry tree in my yard, and it produces gallons and gallons of mulberries. I may try this.

It's weird, but I've been homebrewing since around 1990 [saw an ad in back of a magazine and made some horrible stuff, but then got Papazian's book a year later] and making mead since around the same time. This year is the first time I've made anything but straight dry sparkling mead. It's like a whole, brave new world. lol

Offline erockrph

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2015, 02:59:10 PM »
After posting here this morning, I got to thinking about a specific recipe for my "morat"/cyser -- I just learned the term "morat" is used for mulberry mead, and that's sort of what I'm going for, except that I want about half my base fermentables from cider and not all honey.  The 1 liter of mulberry should be sufficient for that flavor but if not I have a second liter that I could add in secondary.  So here's what I've kind of figured out, for anyone interested -- this is for 3 gallons of "morat/cyser", planned OG of 1.057-ish and ABV 7.5%-ish:

2.5 lb local basswood and apple blossom honeys (about a 50/50 mix)
1.6 gallons local unpasteurized cider (most likely McIntosh, Cortland, Wealthy, and other local culinaries)
1 liter commercial mulberry juice
0.9 gallon municipal tap water (heated to eliminate chlorine)
1 pack Cote des Blancs yeast

I'm a heat pasteurization guy, as I trust nothing to chance or to sulfites, so I will heat treat the must to about 160 F for 15 minutes, then cool and pitch.  I'm also a bit of a purist, so there will be no chemical additions of any kind, except for possible gelatin (see later) and possible traces of sorbate in the commercial mulberry juice.  Ferment at around 55 F for a month or two, racking once per week to slow the fermentation even more and hopefully stall it out around 1.010.  If proceeding too quickly (as is often the case!), I will hit with gelatin and chill further (probably in my garage in winter!) to knock out the yeast even further.  Want this to finish above 1.000, and 1.005-1.010 would be best.  Eventually after several months, bring up in temperature for a little bit and ensure fermentation is pretty much dead, then prime and bottle.  If I absolutely have to, I'll add sorbate.  Yummy mulberry apple honey wine-cooler!!!!!

I'll confess I'm not a snobbish mead guy at all, I just know what I like and I make it to suit my own tastes!  And I believe this will do the trick VERY nicely.  I can't wait!  Should be heavenly, and not so dang strong so I can drink it like Kool-Aid -- I know -- blasphemy!  It's gonna be great though.
Dave, I'm dipping my toes into the "wine cooler" style meads as well. I'll be interested to hear how yours turn out. For mine I'm going to go the "keg and keep cold" route to try to avoid sorbate/sulfiting. I'm also planning on using juice to backsweeten when feasible to maximize the fruit flavor.
Eric B.

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

Offline pete b

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2015, 12:43:16 PM »
I am interested in making some lower gravity meads for when we have company that are light drinkers. Now we sometimes make mead spritzers. As far as my personal tastes go I really like my melomels big on the fruit and wine strength. I am personally not into a quaffable melomel because I actually find anything fruity inherently unquaffable. Anyway, today's the day, I took today off and its a gorgeous New England autumn day. Yesterday we pressed.
 

Now I am heating to 160 to kill wildings:

That's 15 gallons. I set aside 1 gallon for a wild fermentation and I should be able to do 10 gallons of cyser and 2 3-gal batches of cider one with ale yeast and one with wine yeast.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2015, 01:31:35 PM »
The brew went extraordinarily well. The ratio ended up being:

3 gallons of cider
2 gallons of water
13lbs honey
came to OG 1.104

Heated to 170, added 5 tsp Fermax, let sit at 170 for about 15 minutes. Cooled, pitched Champagne and Chardonnay yeast from starter. 15 hours later only bubbling at a rate of about 1 burp every 1-2 seconds. Hmmmm. If it isn't roaring by this afternoon I'll dump a packet of dry champagne yeast and hope it takes off.

Offline HistDrew

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Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2015, 01:33:27 PM »
That's 15 gallons. I set aside 1 gallon for a wild fermentation and I should be able to do 10 gallons of cyser and 2 3-gal batches of cider one with ale yeast and one with wine yeast.

I'm happy to come by and help you sample.  ;D