I have some experience with beer, but I’ve got some confusion over how to make a good batch of cider. After reading some forums and websites there seems to be some conflicting ideas.
The end result is carbonated cider in bottles without forced carbonation. I’ve done this with beer lots but after reading about cold crashing and bottle bombs I’m getting worried.
At what SG do I bottle at, should I cold crash, and if so is it possible to carbonate after?
Some people say let it sit in the carboy till it runs it course, some say stop it at a point with cold crashing a couple times and removing the yeast(or use chemicals).
I’m sure someone has already wrote an amazing step by step for first time cider brewers I just can’t find one that I trust.
I know a lot depends on personal taste but I need something to get me in the ball park.
From my experience with beer, cold crashing wont get rid of all the yeast so you’ll still have some viable to add priming sugar and bottle condition as long as your not cold crashing for a month. After cold crashing it did take longer to carbonate though so be patient. Takes a while for the yeast to wake back up. Just make sure you don’t freeze it, that will for sure kill the yeast. Good luck.
I’m ok with waiting, I’m in no huge rush to drink the stuff…well you know I say that right now
Any ideas on what SG gives a middle of the road taste?
Carbonation in cider is hard to get right. The best way I know is to let the fermentation go for as long as it wants – often this will take 4 to 8 weeks, then prime as you would normally for beer. It is important to ensure the fermentation is totally finished when you do this, otherwise you can end up with overcarbonated cider, and potentially bottle bombs. On the other hand, if you wait too long, then the yeast could settle out and you can end up with flat uncarbonated cider. But in my experience, ~6 weeks is about right to ensure the yeast is done doing its job but still viable for carbonation.
I don’t mess around with cold crashing anything. If you want to clarify anything, whether cider or beer or mead or anything else, gelatin always seems to do the trick. Dissolve a tablespoon of unflavored (I use Knox brand) gelatin in a little hot (but not boiling) water, then stir this into the brew. About 24-48 hours later, the brew is usually clear as crystal. This process does settle out most of your yeast, but there is still yeast in the brew, enough to carbonate it. It might just take longer to carbonate is all – maybe instead of only waiting a couple weeks, you might need to wait for 3 to 5 weeks for full carbonation. Not a real big deal.
Hope this helps.
Thanks, I hadn’t heard of gelatin before, I’m going to look into that now.
What about having the cider get to sour by leaving it to ferment right down? Beer it’s not a problem but I’ve heard that cider can get pretty tart. I like dry cider, but only to a point.
So is there a recommended FG to bottle at?
I have a batch that has been in fermenter for about 2 months now,
I have some bourbon-soaked oak chips in there doing their thing, and the current gravity is about 1.006. I read that cider will finish out between .995 and 1.000.
I will be priming as I normally do for beer, but how much ‘extra’ sugar should be there to get a decent carbonation?
If you prime the same as you do for beer, and there is still yeast left in there to eat the priming sugar, then you will get good carbonation without need for any extra sugar. Just be aware that the cider will be quite dry. If you want it sweet, then things get a lot more complicated, and you are likely to have either gushers, or a flat or barely fizzy cider, as it is hard to predict how to get it exactly right without a lot of experience. I’m still trying to figure out how to get my carbonation right, and I’ve done many batches. Most of which have been gushers or very highly carbonated when I tried to sweeten them.
Thanks for the reply.
I apologize for the odd phrasing, my question was more along the lines of should I bottle now, with a few points apparantly left to attenuate, or give it some more time for fermentation to completely finish (acknowleging I won’t know exactly how low it will go)
Don’t bottle yet unless you like bombs – kaboom. Patience is key.
I agree on the patience. That is what I think I have learned most in home brewing…especially when it came to the cider I did. I had it in the primary and secondary for about 6 months total. I did carb it in bottles. The FG was .998 about. It was to dry for most, but I loved it and well as drier wine drinkers.
I was a little upset that I can’t find my notes from it since I want to do it again.