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Recipe Help

So I am thinking about making cider and wanted some inputs and suggestions from you guys. Here is what I have collected so far:

5 gallons apple juice
4 lbs brown sugar
30 Cinnamon sticks
Yeast Nutrient
Yeast Energizer
Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast

I think 30 cinnamon sticks would be a little much but that is just the amount that was in the package. I was thinking about adding the cinnamon sticks and some crushed apples or some kind of apple sorts in the secondary fermentation. Just wondering what has worked for everyone else for these two things.

That is somewhat similar to the NE style cider I brewed last year, but I only made a 4 gallon batch so you should scale what I used to be equivalent:

65 lbs apples, pressed to yield about 4 gallons juice
1.1 lbs dark sugar syrup (similar to Belgian candy syrup)
4 g pectic enzyme
6 ml 10% sulfite solution (used to knock out any wild yeast present on the apples - not needed if you use pasteurized juice)
6 g yeast nutrient
6 g yeast energizer
1 pkg Nottingham yeast

After fermentation was done, bulk aged adding 3/4 oz medium toast French oak cubes and 2 cinnamon sticks.

Flavor notes: a bit rough around the edges, but overall decent. Oak didn’t come through very well, next time use 1 oz light toast cubes. Too much cinnamon, next time use only 1 stick.

The best ciders I’ve made were straight juice. No added sugars or spices or nutrients necessary. Regular plain old juice will get you around 6.5% alcohol, plus or minus a little bit. If you really need more alcohol, then go ahead and add a pound or two of sugar. But no need to overdo it.

Be aware that if your juice contains preservatives (e.g., sulfite) then it might not ferment as well as the fresh unpasteurized stuff from an orchard. Orchard juice is always better than store-bought.

Personally I get the best results when I heat the juice to ~165 F for 15 minutes, then cool and pitch the yeast. Otherwise you could have wild yeast in there and the results are more variable – usually still very tasty but not necessarily what you’d expect from your chosen yeast strain.

My personal favorite yeast is Cote des Blancs. I have not tried the 71B-1122 but I bet it will make a fine cider.

Also be aware that my advice will contradict many other peoples’ advice. They will say you need nutrients, and should not heat the cider, blah blah. My advice is based on my own experience. I have made many ciders and the advice above is the best way I know how to make excellent cider.

One more thing: No matter what yeast or juice you use, you will need to be very patient with fermentation. It typically will take a good ~5 weeks to finish fermenting. If you don’t wait that long, you are very likely to get bottle bombs. So be careful.

Thanks for the reply guys. Just a quick question as this is my first cider but how much room will I have to leave for the initial fermentation? Would this be ok in a 5 gallon carboy with a regular airlock or would I need to rig up a blowoff tube? Thanks again!

You will not need a blowoff. Cider should not get a head or krauesen on it at all. It just gets cloudy and fizzes during the fermentation.

I normally add 2 busted up cinnamon sticks to my 5 gal batches. I boil it in a bit of water. I have added it before fermentation and after and cannot really tell the difference.

That makes sense, the cinnamon is pretty powerful stuff. I added after simply out of habit; more delicate spices can loose a lot by being blown away with the CO2 from the yeast activity.

So I made this last night and I was wondering how long it should take before I start seeing the yeast doing its thing?

Depends on how much yeast you pitched, what temperature the juice is at and if there was any kind of preservatives present. If everything was optimal for the yeast, less than a day.

BTW, how many cinnamon sticks did you decide on?

I think I am just going to do two cinnamon sticks in a secondary, if I can get this to start fermenting in the primary here… I used great value apple juice from wal-mart which its only ingredients are filtered water, apple juice concentrate, and ascorbic acid(vitamin C). So I don’t think that is the problem. I added yeast nutrient and energizer according to the dosage that was on the bottles they came in. The temperature of the carboy is 68-70 degrees according to the thermometer on the side. Not sure why it hasn’t started yet. I did store the dry yeast in the fridge until brew day then took it out like an hour before I pitched it… so I am kind of puzzled.

It just needs a few more hours. You should see fermentation begin within 36 hours of pitching it in. As I said before, it won’t have a head on it, so you’ll just need to look for fizzing action.

Looks like it has finally started!

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