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First time cider questions

I have finally started my first batch of cider. I’ve been brewing off and on for 15 years, and making mead for about 5 years. We have a large orchard nearby who presses their own cider. They don’t add any preservatives, only pasteurize.

I am making a 4 gallon batch. I included 2 lbs of dark brown sugar, 1 lb of lactose, 3 cinnamon sticks, and a dash of ground cloves.

I am using Red Star “Premier Cuvee (sp?)” in a 1300 ml starter. It’s bubbling away. Giving the Erlenmeyer a swirl every four hours or so.

My first questions are in regards to the yeast. I was looking for a wine yeast that left a residual sweetness (added the lactose to help with this). Was this a good choice? Second my whole house stays pretty warm. I temp checked all the closets and they all stay within a degree or two of 70 degrees F. Ideally I would like to find 60 degrees. The closest thing I could find is in my garage near the furnace. The floor temp is staying at 55 degrees (+/- 1 or 2 degrees). The question is, is 55 degrees too cool for this yeast? The starter is still bubbling away and should be ready tomorrow.

My other questions are about my ingredients. Is the 3 cinnamon sticks enough? I’m looking for a smooth apple pie flavor. Should I add any more sticks/ground to the secondary? I did cook the first 3 with the gallon that I used to dissolve the brown sugar and lactose. The second question is about the cloves. I added a few shakes of ground cloves into the pot. Should I add some whole cloves to secondary? I’ve been told that a little cloves can go a long way.

Thanks for any advice and critiques you may have. I am probably going to pitch tomorrow afternoon

Premier Cuvee will not leave residual sweetness. Most wine yeasts will ferment to dryness. Lactose is an nonfermentable sugar though, and adding it will leave you with some sweetness. Adding a 1lb of lactose, she’s going to be pretty sweet.

[quote]Is 55 degrees too cool for this yeast? The starter is still bubbling away and should be ready tomorrow.[/quote] I like to ferment my ciders in the lower end of the temp range for the yeast I am using. In the case of Premier Cuvee, temp range is listed as 45F-95F. 55F should be fine.

There are alot of variables when it comes to cinnamon. How fresh were they? How high of quality were they? How were they stored? How big were they?
If your sticks were fresh, stored well and high quality, to me 3 will be way too much. A little can go a long way with quality ingredients.

+1 to everything Baratone has said. My one comment is that I’d be worried about “a few shakes of ground cloves”. Cloves are extremely strong, especially when ground up. This is going to be a very spicy cider indeed, unless you cut back the spiced gallon or increase your total batch size with more gallons of cider. A little spice goes a loooong way.

The cloves put in were actually a minimal amount , so I don’t think that will be a bad thing.

I was using a recipe from a book for this batch. I actually omitted the lb of honey, and the lb of maple syrup it called for.

Thanks for the help folks.

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