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Advice for Newbie Cider maker

Dear fellow cider makers,

Would be grateful for some advice.

I pressed a load of apples, very mixed but about half eaters and half cookers. Produced 5 Gallons (UK) of delicious juice. Sweet, apply with some sharpness. Not insipid but not ascerbic either. Added 5 Campden tablets and left for 48 hours. OG was 1065. Added Young’s Cider yeast.

It began to ferment straight away, good foamy head and merrilly carried on for about 2 weeks and then stopped. I have dropped it into pressure barrel and it is resting.

My question is that as it has fermented out the sugar the cider is very dry and the acid/lemon sharpness is much more apparent now that the sweetness has gone. Is this just what homemade cider should taste like? Will it mellow with age? I have to say it is a bit tart for my pleasure, drinkable but tart.
Thoughts and suggestions welcome.

Many thanks

Yes, your experience so far is typical. The sugars in cider are all simple and very easily fermentable, so, depending on the yeast strain and your fermentation temps., it often finishes dry, dry, dry. The apple flavor will eventually come back somewhat- my last batch of straight cider took about 18 months.
So, if you want some sweetness, what do you do?

  1. Back sweeten with an unfermentable artificial sweetner.
  2. Kill the yeast with Camden plus Sorbate and backsweeten with regular sugars. Frozen apple juice concentrate works well here.
  3. Leave the yeast alone, backsweeten and prime, then pasteurize.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp. of sugar to each glass as you pour. Or mix with something sweet. I don’t know that I would do it, but I read somewhere about someone mixing their cider with Sprite.

It sounds to me like your cider would benefit significantly from malolactic fermentation. This is done by winemakers everywhere to change malic acid into lactic acid. Malic acid is the primary acid in apples and is extremely tart. Lactic acid is less tart and is the same acid present in yogurt, sour cream, etc. There are bacteria in cider and wine that can do this conversion for you, but it takes time.

If you want to try this, then you have a couple of options. If you just leave your cider to sit for a good 6 months or so, there will probably be enough bacteria already present in your cider to do this. But to guarantee good results, you can buy some bacteria and pitch it in there. There are several good strains on the market. See the following links for more information and a couple of commercial sources for the malolactic bacteria. ... m-the-pros ... c-cultures

Based on what I know about backsweetening today… I would recommend malolactic fermentation before anything else. The only drawback is time. You need to give it time. How much time is up to your own personal sense of taste. Beyond that, the suggestions above from JimRMaine are good ones to try if you can’t wait.


Thank you very much for this helpful advice. I am going to have a go at the malolactic conversion, sounds like its just speeding up nature.

Many thanks


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