Author Topic: Backsweetening Cider  (Read 1640 times)

Offline Kevin

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Backsweetening Cider
« on: August 07, 2017, 12:12:34 PM »
I've been making cider and I prime it and let it carbonate in the bottles. The cider is good but I would like it a little sweeter. If I add more sugar, it just over barbonates. Is there a way to back sweeten it where it doesnt affect the carbonation?

Offline Westley

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 12:20:45 PM »
I've been making cider and I prime it and let it carbonate in the bottles. The cider is good but I would like it a little sweeter. If I add more sugar, it just over barbonates. Is there a way to back sweeten it where it doesnt affect the carbonation?

If you're using a beer yeast, malto dextrine should work for you. Sweeten to taste using malto dextrine, then prime as per usual with priming sugar of your choice.

Offline Kevin

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 12:30:41 PM »
So do you add the Malto Dextrin at the botteling stage?

Offline erockrph

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 02:45:04 PM »
I've been making cider and I prime it and let it carbonate in the bottles. The cider is good but I would like it a little sweeter. If I add more sugar, it just over barbonates. Is there a way to back sweeten it where it doesnt affect the carbonation?

If you're using a beer yeast, malto dextrine should work for you. Sweeten to taste using malto dextrine, then prime as per usual with priming sugar of your choice.
I disagree here. Maltodextrin doesn't taste sweet, so while it may boost gravity and possibly body, it isn't a good choice to backsweeten.

If you're bottle-carbonating, then a non-nutritive sweetener like splenda or stevia is probably your best option. I haven't done this, so I can't comment on quantities. Some have also pasteurized their bottles after backsweetening with sugar or apple concentrate. Again, I haven't tried this, but there is info out there on it.

If you can keg your cider, then you should be fine for a few months if you keep it cold.
Eric B.

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

Offline zwiller

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 05:35:09 PM »
If your spouse drinks cider then here's the opportunity to pitch a keg setup...  Ferment, kill yeast, backsweeten, chill, force carb, enjoy.  That's how the pros do it.  I am not very experienced with cider but I suspect any method you use for bottle carb will not result in the effect your after if you are aiming at stuff like Woodchuck/Angry Orchard.  Fairly confident they ferment a higher ABV must and backsweeten/blend with juice to yield a fresh apple tasting product.   
Sam
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Offline stpug

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 07:04:27 PM »
With a dry, bottle-conditioned cider I would just keep some simple syrup on hand and drink the cider from a glass.  Add 1-2 Tbsp to your glass before you pour your cider so it mixes during the pour.  Adjust the amount of simple syrup as needed.

Simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
bring to a boil to dissolve and sanitize
chill and keep refrigerated

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 07:34:35 PM »
Xylitol works best.  It is expensive but non-fermentable and tastes almost exactly like real sugar.  Unfortunately it is also poisonous to dogs, cats, etc., so keep it far away from any pets.

Lactose or maltodextrin are unfermentable but not very sweet but can still add body and help take the edge off.

Other artificial sweeteners such as Splenda or stevia work okay but can have very chemically flavors.  If you consume a lot of diet beverages, maybe you won't notice.  But I would.

There are other ways to limit fermentation more naturally.  I've explained it in detail elsewhere on the interwebs.  Essentially... let your cider ferment for a week or so as cool as you can (50s Fahrenheit is ideal), then rack to secondary, then begin monitoring specific gravity every few days. Aim for 1.010-1.015. When gravity gets to that point, add gelatin to knock out most of the yeast, then a couple days later, rack again, and consider whether to add sorbate and sulfite to hurt the remaining yeast, then keep the cider cold for another month or so, trying to prevent it from refermenting. If it starts up again, add more gelatin, and sorbate and sulfite again if desired. Once the cider stabilizes fully, you can bottle or keg it. Then enjoy.  Sweeter cider, but depending on how much sorbate you use, it might never carbonate in bottles, only if kegged.
Dave

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 06:52:21 PM »
If your spouse drinks cider then here's the opportunity to pitch a keg setup...  Ferment, kill yeast, backsweeten, chill, force carb, enjoy.  That's how the pros do it.  I am not very experienced with cider but I suspect any method you use for bottle carb will not result in the effect your after if you are aiming at stuff like Woodchuck/Angry Orchard.  Fairly confident they ferment a higher ABV must and backsweeten/blend with juice to yield a fresh apple tasting product.
That's how I do it. I chaptalize with 1/2 to 1 can of frozen concentrate per gallon of juice, then add back 10-20% of the volume in fresh juice at packaging. (I'm still tweaking the recipe, and it also varies depending on how the pressed juice tastes each year.) It makes a great draft-style cider. I don't bother with sulfite/sorbate, since I crash-cool, rack off the yeast, and then store the kegs cold. I do notice the sweetness fading after a couple of months, but it's still plenty drinkable all winter (if it lasts that long).
Eric B.

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Offline zwiller

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 07:52:00 PM »
Chaptalize?!  I had to look that up.  LOL  Wine/Cider lingo is weird: Must/lees/chaptilize  ;D 

How long to get one on draft?  I am long overdue to try again.  I just had Strongbow a few weeks ago that inspired me to try again after quite a few fails (from the days before we learned of backsweetening and force carb).  Sounds like store bought concentrate is the way to go and not the real stuff made in the fall.  Probably needs a touch of acid too. 
Sam
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Offline PutnamBrewer

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 08:26:59 PM »
I'm going to make Cider for 2nd year in a row. I have a local spot that I made it with last year and I threw it on a yeast cake of US-05.  I keg everything so last year I back sweetened with a bottle of Apple Pucker (hail mary attempt to sweeten).  I've been reading about stevia but I don't want it to taste like a diet soda.  I may try the frozen concentrate and see what that does to this years batch. Couple years ago I did the boxed Cider kit and I wish I could find that lil packet of sweetener and apple flavoring.

Offline Horseflesh

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2017, 01:54:51 AM »
Whether you're interested in lactose, stevia, xylitol, or whatever I would absolutely do some taste tests before committing to adulterating a whole batch. The first advice I got was to use lactose and I am glad I was meticulous in trying to figure out the right amount to add, because I did not care for the end result at all. I ended up using frozen concentrate instead, since I am storing it in a chilled keg.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2017, 02:45:07 PM »
Chaptalize?!  I had to look that up.  LOL  Wine/Cider lingo is weird: Must/lees/chaptilize  ;D 

How long to get one on draft?  I am long overdue to try again.  I just had Strongbow a few weeks ago that inspired me to try again after quite a few fails (from the days before we learned of backsweetening and force carb).  Sounds like store bought concentrate is the way to go and not the real stuff made in the fall.  Probably needs a touch of acid too.

With pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient at pitching, and gelatin at kegging, I've had relatively clear cider on tap in 3 weeks, and it will get to gin-clear after another week or two in the keg. This year I'm going to try a pressurized ferment and see if I can shorten this up even further.

I only use the concentrate to boost the OG, so I can plan to dilute/backsweeten with fresh juice later. I'm sure you can get servicable results with concentrate or store-bought juice, but because the juice plays such a major role the quality of the starting/backsweetening juice makes a huge difference. Depending on the harvest, either acid blend or malic acid can help liven up a flabby cider. Two years ago I needed quite a bit of acid, but last year I didn't need any.
Eric B.

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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 12:01:57 AM »
For backsweetening for ciders I use global wine conditioner. I got this from the cider episode of brewingtv (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tDP1ubIci8) and it works great!
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Offline zsmith87

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 01:08:49 PM »
I've been making cider for the last two years using Lalvin EC1118, which dries it way way out. I ferment about 5.5 gallons, cold crash, put 4.5 gallons into a keg, and then add a half gallon of cider back in. This balances out the dryness of the cider with a little bit more apple flavor. Isn't this possible just with bottling? The natural sugar from the non fermented cider could prime the bottles.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Backsweetening Cider
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 01:45:05 PM »
I've been making cider for the last two years using Lalvin EC1118, which dries it way way out. I ferment about 5.5 gallons, cold crash, put 4.5 gallons into a keg, and then add a half gallon of cider back in. This balances out the dryness of the cider with a little bit more apple flavor. Isn't this possible just with bottling? The natural sugar from the non fermented cider could prime the bottles.

and then they are left with a 3V or higher carbonated dry cider.