Author Topic: "Naturally Sweet" Cider  (Read 2122 times)

Offline WattsOnTap

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"Naturally Sweet" Cider
« on: March 09, 2017, 02:31:28 AM »
I've been trying to brew a batch of cider with decent residual sugars, >1.010 SG, an ABV in the 6-7% range, and without having to back-sweeten.  Nine batches in and no luck so far.  I thought I had it figured out on this last batch, but found out a little late the yeast I selected had a tolerance of 12%.  I usually let my yeast go at least a week, and have been ending up with FGs around 0.996 - 0.993.  My only success in keeping the SG above 1.000 was with an Ice Cider batch where I deliberately started with an OG of 1.112.

So far, I have used these yeasts: Mangrove Jack M02, WLP775 English Cider, Cider House, and SafCider.

Are there some yeasts out there with low alcohol tolerance I just haven't found yet, or am I chasing my tail until I come up with a good method of daily monitoring of SG and halting yeast activity when I hit my target?  Or should I just be resigned to back-sweetening?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 04:10:16 AM »
I've been meaning to try Windsor ale yeast, which has just horrible attenuation in beer.  But I have not yet used it in cider, so I can only guess how well it works in cider.

There are other ways to get a naturally sweet cider.  It involves extreme patience or laziness.  Here's how I do it:

Ferment low and slow, like at 50-55 F for 2 months.  Rack the cider about every 7 days for the first month.  Do this to remove most of the yeast and prevent things from getting out of hand.  When gravity hits about 1.015-1.020, then add gelatin to knock out 95% of the yeast, wait 24 hours, and rack again.  Typically this will occur after about the first 10-14 days.  From this point, keep the cider even colder, as close to 32 F as you can, although temperatures in the 40s or 50s are fine too.  Then just leave it alone for at least another month or two.  If you are successful in removing most of the yeast, you should end up with a cider that is naturally around 1.010 gravity, with just barely enough yeast left in it to safely backsweeten and carbonate if you desire but of course this is optional.  Keep the cider cold so fermentation doesn't take off again.

And that's about it.  It's worked for me several times over the years.  This year, I got a little too lazy and gravity fell to around 0.994 or something like that.  In this case I'll eventually backsweeten and bottle and hope for the best.

If you are in any hurry and just can't wait for months and months, then the above technique will not work at all and you could likely end up with bottle bombs.  On the other hand, if you just keg it then that is an advantage over bottling and you don't need to worry about explosions.  I do not have any kegging equipment, plus I'm very lazy I mean patient, so it's all good.

For what it's worth, Cote des Blancs is the best cider yeast.  US-05 is my second favorite.  Many other yeasts kind of suck.  But I would try Windsor sometime for the heck of it to see what it does.

Cheers.
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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 05:08:27 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 05:14:43 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.


I'm using it very next time. Glad you posted. So does it ferment all the way down to 1.000 ? I assume it does and just leaves a sweeter perception?
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Offline kramerog

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 05:20:14 PM »
Zymurgy had an article comparing various ale yeasts.  The cider made with Wyeast 1968 London ESB/ WLP002 was sweet.  There may be others.

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 05:25:55 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.


I'm using it very next time. Glad you posted. So does it ferment all the way down to 1.000 ? I assume it does and just leaves a sweeter perception?

Nope, it didn't.  Between 1.004-008.  This was straight organic apple juice from my own apples.  No sugar added.  OG 1.045ish.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 05:33:19 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.


I'm using it very next time. Glad you posted. So does it ferment all the way down to 1.000 ? I assume it does and just leaves a sweeter perception?

Nope, it didn't.  Between 1.004-008.  This was straight organic apple juice from my own apples.  No sugar added.  OG 1.045ish.


Wow, that's the FG range I normally backsweeten to anyway! Thanks, Denny.
Jon H.

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 06:55:27 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.

Good to know for my next cider.
I also plan to use it in my next American brown ale.
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Online denny

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 06:57:49 PM »
I accidentally stumbled across a way to do this...WY1450!  Ihad a bunch of apples pressed and no other yeast around.  I tossed in some 1450 and it made the best cider I've made in 20 years...apple flavor, not bone dry, a bit of residual sweetness.  I could hardly believe so I did it again to confirm.  Different batch of juice, same result.

Good to know for my next cider.
I also plan to use it in my next American brown ale.

Good choice...great for Am. brown.
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Offline WattsOnTap

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 02:54:43 PM »
Thanks, all.

Good to know that Denny is a fan of Denny's Favorite!   ;)

Will try the 1450 on the next full batch.  In the meantime, I've got 5 gallons of Apple Wine to blend with... something.

Offline WattsOnTap

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2017, 01:45:13 PM »
Fortune smiled on us this weekend and we came into possession of 15 gallons of juice fresh from the press.  It's single variety Northern Spy, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

5 gallons are going to get my normal cider treatment, and then pitched with 1450.
3 gallons are getting the normal treatment, and will probably be pitched with CDB, or possibly WLP775 or Mangrove Jack's M02.

The remaining 7 gallons have all been parted out to 1 gallon jugs for a variety of experiments, including letting one go au naturel.  All the experimental ones are going to be pitched with pitched with CDB (the mill folks gave us a handful of packets).

Will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Offline stpug

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2017, 06:41:25 PM »
Fortune smiled on us this weekend and we came into possession of 15 gallons of juice fresh from the press.  It's single variety Northern Spy, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

5 gallons are going to get my normal cider treatment, and then pitched with 1450.
3 gallons are getting the normal treatment, and will probably be pitched with CDB, or possibly WLP775 or Mangrove Jack's M02.

The remaining 7 gallons have all been parted out to 1 gallon jugs for a variety of experiments, including letting one go au naturel.  All the experimental ones are going to be pitched with pitched with CDB (the mill folks gave us a handful of packets).

Will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

I look forward to any follow-ups on this experimentation.  Finding a yeast strain that will naturally leave some residual sugars in a cider would be awesome.

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 07:50:00 PM »
Awakening this thread from the dead, since it will soon be apple harvest time in my neck of the woods. What was the outcome on your cider WOT?
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: "Naturally Sweet" Cider
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 01:14:06 AM »
Getting my apple juice this Friday and I will try the Wy1450 route.  Definitely looking forward to the residual sweetness - and I will keg it, so I am hoping for the best on this maiden voyage with cider!
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