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Home Brew Apple Cider Help

I am new to this and have been trying to read as much as I can but am currently stumped. I have done everything and now it is hanging out in the 2nd fermentation. It has stopped and I just tasted it and it is kinda harsh. I have read that this is normal but I would like to sweeten it. I was under the impression I could sweeten it with sugar at this point and then stop the yeast with potassium sorbate and then it wouldn’t ferment anymore. I am ok with a flat cider if it is a little sweeter. My question is how much sugar should I add to 5 gallons? Ballpark? Any thoughts or help on this? I also added a little apple flavor (non-fermentable flavor) so it has a little apple taste but I want it a tad bit sweeter. Thanks for your help!

I would download Qbrew or use the calculator at to see how much sugar will raise the SG a certain number of points based on the volume you have. Add that and taste it in a day or so. Then add more if needed.

If you do have 5 gallons, sugar adds 1.046/gallon/lb. So in 5 gallons, 1lb would raise your SG 9 points.

The question then is, where are you, and where do you want to go. If you are at 1.005, and want to go to 1.020. That is 15 points. 15/9= 1.6lbs

Thanks for getting back to me. Right now I am at like 1.005 (i bought a cheap one so its hard to see exactly). I started at 1.048 after I added a cup of brown sugar ( i didn’t want to overdue it my first time). I am not trying to make it a higher ABV but more sweet. Is there I way I can add say a pound of sugar and then put potassium sorbate in to kill the fermentation and just get the sweetness? Or how much sugar can or should I add as a starting point?

Looking at this thread over in the “cider” forum :wink: , El Capitan uses a couple cans of frozen apple juice to sweeten his cider.


He’s here in the brewing forum also, so he may chime in latter as to what kind of boost a can gives. Or you can purchase a can, add it to 1/2 gallon of water and check the SG.

As far as how much to add? That’s just going to be a trial and personal taste. Depending on the alcohol content, sweetness is really subjective. I have a mead that is about 17%. The SG is ~1.030. The alcohol balances the residual sugar very well.

I also have a 13% that has a SG of ~1.000. Very good also.

I’ve drank (choked down) a commercial mead that was 13% and had a SG of 1.060. It’s was like syrup. Not good at all.

Being you started at 1.045 and ended at 1.005, I might bring it up to 1.015 and see how it tastes.

Nighthawk referenced the thread with all my vast knowledge of cider… which admittedly is not that much. But it may help you out.

I have never taken a gravity reading on AJ concentrate, but you certainly could do that. I look at cidermaking as something that is not as precise as beer-brewing. Mostly because each pressing of juice will be unique. I guess I look at cider as kind of a wild card, and hope for the best without doing much tinkering. So far I’ve been pleased.

Anyway, that other thread will give you some options for sweetening. :cheers:

1.015-1.020 is a good range for a sweet cider.

Now the true cider expert is in on the thread!

1.020 is on the upper sweet end for me, so I would start around 1.012 and go up from there. But, I know many people who prefer it in the 1.018-1.020 range. Only you will know when it is sweet enough.

El Capitan, I was thinking of back sweetening with AJ concentrate like you do. Is there any particular brand that works particularly well or ingredients that you avoid?

I don’t know that there’s a big difference. I’ve used Old Orchard (I think) for dosing the whole batch. If I’m sweetening in the glass with concentrate, I like to buy the aluminum cans of concentrated juice that are sold room-temp in the juice aisle. They’re just easier to pour. I personally try to avoid preservatives like potassium sorbate.

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