So my brewing experience thus far has been a couple gallons of mead in gallon jugs with balloon “air locks”. I probably fermented each for about three weeks before trying to sloppily filter with cheese cloth and returning to the original jugs. That is how I have let them sit, and I don’t think they have aged well.
I’ve invested in a bit of equipment now and would like to approach a cider/cyser/apple wine more intelligently for a better result.
I’ve read some other posts on the forums and I guess the first thing that has me uncertain is that I’m not quite sure if which what I am planning would be.
From some various recipes I’ve mentally combined, this is what I was going to try:
30 pounds apples (mostly golden delicious, from estimates I’ve read I should be able to get a little over two gallons juice)
4 pounds wildflower honey
1 pound brown sugar
A couple cloves and some ground cinnamon
Water up to three gallons as necessary.
I plan on pasteurizing the juice and adding the honey while it cools to hopefully dissolve better. I’ll be using some left over Lalvin 71B-1122 packets I purchased for the mead. My target would be an end product that borders more sweet than dry.
Do I need additional nutrient? For the meads I made before the recipe called for raisins since honey was lacking. Do apples provide sufficient nutrient that this isn’t important?
I was initially just planning on racking when most of the activity slows down in the airlock, but I’m mostly seeing recommendations based on SG. Will those still be accurate if what I am preparing is more of a wine?
I haven’t purchased any acids, clarifiers, or any other additives. Will this make it more difficult to get a decent/reliable result?
Lastly, back-sweetening and carbonation wasn’t something that came up when preparing my kludge meads. Is the additional sweetener (I’d probably use honey again) added after racking, immediately before bottling, or when in the process? I’d like to preserve some carbonation if possible as well. Is there a point after which fermentation stops at which it is “too late” with the same type of yeast?
Anyway, sorry for what might be a lot of obvious rambling questions and thanks for any advice!