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Hard cider question by a noob

Love this site! Last Saturday I started my attempt at hard cider. A hippie friend of mine told me how she made cider last year the “natural” way. It wasn’t till I had already pretty much finished her way that I decided to actually go online and research. So this may go bad, but here is what I did: I used a nice old fashioned grinder and press and filled about 8 gallons into a 10 gallon rubbermade brute container. I was told to then use cheesecloth or sumthn to then cover it up and wait. Let it naturally ferment. Well I decided to divide it up into three batches. I (likely misunderstood) was under the impression that I would add sugar to these to help with the fermentation andcarbonation. I added only 3 cupsf white sugar to about 6 gallons in vat 1
Likely not enough. I have no idea what i am doing I am finding. The second vat which is about 1gallon, I added 1only cup of brown sugar. The gallon I used 2 cups of honey? Should I have added the sugar when I did?
It has been a week tomorrow and I have cleared the foamy white that was coming up. Tasted all three and there is definitely alcohol brewing there! And they all have different flavors. Now,how bad did I f upwill I need to add more sugar to back sweeten? When do I know its done? I will learn alot from this.

Typing on touchpad sucks. Sorry for all the errors. Week 1tomorrow with this blasted Droid has been more trying then the cider brewing! Lol

21 views, no replies. I could use some advice.

Wild yeast is unpredictable and can lead to variances. Your best bet with cider is to hit it with camden 24hrs in advance to take care of the wild yeast and criiters before pitching your own yeast.
The sugar and honey that you added will ferment out. How dry you want your cider will determine if you need to backsweeten or not.
If you are planning on carbonating, you will need to backsweeten with a nonfermentable or stabilize, backsweeten, and keg it.

What are some options for non fermenting backsweeteners? I am in a vie

Lactose, artifical sweeteners, pure Stevia.

Many thanks for your help. Tomorrow i am going to get some non fermenting sweeteners. Yesterday i test bottled from batch 1. Drank it tonight. Not much for carbonation and a strong alcohol taste. My cider has been fermenting for a week and i am not sure when to bottle it up. It is still foaming up when i check every morning. Man i have a lot to learn. Sure is fun though! Batch 2 (brown sugar) and 3(honey) taste great. I bottled one each to test tomorrow. How long should they stay bottled? If i want more carbonation what do i do? Again, i sure appreciate your help.

You need a little patience! Give the cider at least three weeks in the fermenter before messing with it, then test the gravity, wait a couple days, test it again and if the readings match, you can go ahead a bottle it. A day to carbonate is at least 13 days too few, too - give the bottles a couple of weeks, then put one in the fridge for at least 24 hours (to let the CO2 fully absorb) before opening.

+1. Do not rush this. Let the cider keep on foaming/fermenting for as long as it wants before bottling any more. This will probably take a good 3 weeks, plus or minus. Then use backsweetener (e.g., lactose) and priming sugar (e.g., cane sugar) and allow the bottles a couple weeks to carbonate. Then you should be in good shape. Definitely be patient.

+2 Don’t rush your cider.

Im such a noob! Thanks guys

A follow-up question: how much lactose is recommended for backsweetening 5 gal which will ALSO be primed for carbonation? Is there a method to determining this amount? Thanks.

0.5 to 0.75 lb for 5 gallons is a typical good amount. Depends on how sweet you want it. You could go up to a full pound, but only if you want it very sweet.

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