Topics Topics Help/Instructions Help Edit Profile Profile Member List Register  
Search Last 1 | 3 | 7 Days Search Search Tree View Tree View  

Visit The Brewery's sponsor!
Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through December 10, 2011 * High-end cider help < Previous Next >

  Thread Last Poster Posts Pages Last Post
  ClosedClosed: New threads not accepted on this page        

Author Message
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13301
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 03:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll confess that my very first attempt at fermentation occurred at the age of 13, when a friend and I "borrowed" a gallon jug of freshly pressed apple juice and stuck it away in the barn. I recall something about keeping it uncapped with a piece of window screen tied over the mouth to keep out the bugs. After about three weeks there was a noticeable scum (of course now I'd call it a kraeusen) on top. I don't remember the exact taste, but there was a bit of carbonation and a bite of alcohol. Eventually our secret came out and there were warnings about not doing such a thing again.

My next efforts at cidermaking came almost 35 years later and were a bit more refined, although the results were always bone dry. Eventually I discovered French cidre, such an elegant beverage that it makes anything I have made seem rough and crude. Since then I have despaired that I am incapable of working such a wonderful transformation on the ordinary apple.

Now this year a group of homebrewers in the area has arranged for a batch of late season unpasteurized apple juice from a local orchard. While these are not specifically cider apples, they do include some of the less common, more sour varieties said to be good for cidermaking.

The price is right and the availability is convenient, so I'm thinking I should try again. However, this time I want to at least try to approximate that refined sour/sweet character of French cidre.

I seem to recall an article in Zymurgy a long time ago about French cidermaking. It outlined a process of starving the yeast for nutrients so that it would not ferment the juice to absolute dryness; some residual sugar would remain. But I don't remember anything about the details.

Does anyone else recall any more about this than I do? Or perhaps someone else has access to the Zymurgy article. My back issues prior to 2006 are buried in a box deep in a storage shed at the moment.

Also, would anyone have a suggestion for a yeast strain appropriate for French cidre?
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2946
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 216.49.181.254
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 04:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't have any Zymurgies. But the process is covered in a very general way in "Cider, Hard and Sweet" by Watson and in somewhat more detail in "Cider" by Proulx and Nichols.

Online, look at http://http://www.cider.org.uk/keeving.html. There are links there to further info.

Where you might run into trouble is with the process before the pressing. All the sources say that the apples must be kept very cold before being milled and then must be stored as pulp for a while, also very cold, before pressing. I don't know if this is really necessary or not. But you're cider mill is unlikely to have the resources to store the pulp for any length of time.
 

Nephalist
Advanced Member
Username: Nephi

Post Number: 534
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 75.82.64.119
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 05:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nothing to offer except how I bought a bottle of cidre and regretted it. Purchased it in Dieppe, France and drank it when I arrived by ferry to Brighton, England. It was one more reason to bid adieu to France. Tasted like feet to me, my wife, and a friend who also despised it when she lived in France. To each his own, Bill. Curiously when I searched for cidre on the web I saw Stella offers one. I clicked and it brought up a warning about certain lots of their cidre at risk of being bottle bombs.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 2165
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.251.232.177
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

Sounds like a question for Dick Dunn and the folks on the Cider Digest:

http://talisman.com/cider/

I might have the back issue of zymurgy that you're talking about. Finding it would be the question...

How long ago are you talking about?

Also, Paul Correnty in The Art of Cidermaking says that a lager yeast will leave behind a little more residual sweetness than an ale yeast. He also recommends white wine yeasts.

I've had good luck with Wyeast's Sweet Mead yeast (4184) Wyeast says this strain will leave behind 2-3 percent residual sugar

(Message edited by pedwards on October 19, 2011)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13302
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 01:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul H., thanks for the link. In some ways it's even more detailed than the Zymurgy article. It also references a French document aimed at small-scale cidermakers. It was a challenge for me to read, but the level of the language was relatively simple (probably grade 6 or so), so I got the gist of it.

Unfortunately I'm not going to have control of what happens to the pulp prior to pressing, nor of the length of time afterward until I receive the juice, so I doubt the keeving process it describes will apply to me.

Nephi, I had the good fortune to attend a French cidre tasting in Chicago about 10 years ago. Most of them were absolutely exquisite; only one had some notes of overripe cheese or sneakers. Here is one example of an orchard producing good cidre, not the absolute best but somewhat widely available: http://www.calvados-dupont.com/

Paul E., I've had trouble with Wyeast 4184 in the past. I find it finicky and prone to stuck fermentation. Better in my experience is the White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine strain.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 2166
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.251.232.177
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 02:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmmm,

I've never had 4184 cause me problems in either cider or mead.

Matter of fact I have a mead made with some buckwheat honey ready to be bottled (it was 4 lbs of buckwheat honey and 11 lbs of a wildflower honey from a local beekeeper)

I've used the White Labs cider yeast (WLP775), but it's been a long time ago.

My LHBS carries WLP775 during cider season, but doesn't carry White Labs beer or wine yeasts on a regular basis. I may have used WLP720 many moons ago.

The orchard will be bringing this year's cider to the LHBS on Oct 29th. I'm getting enough for both a 5 gal batch of cider, and 5 gal of ABC. Honey and apple butter are already on hand.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 121
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 04:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

Please post the results of what you find out regarding how to ‘starve’ the yeast before it ferments all of the sugars. I would very much like to achieve something like this with my ciders.

Last fall I fermented a cider which had a must of heirloom apples (Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Monroe, Northern Spy, Red Spy and Golden Russet). I used Wyeast Cider yeast (4766) to ferment this cider (I have used 4766 on past ciders as well). The resulting cider is very tasty with a very noticeable apple flavor/aroma. Unfortunately it is bone dry. Every cider that I have made (a half dozen batches or so over the years) has come out bone dry. I too would like to have a bit of residual sweetness in my ciders.

I have a preference to create a sparkling cider. If you ‘starve’ the yeast towards the end of primary fermentation I am guessing that this means you will be unable to have bottle conditioned sparkling cider?

I have never tasted a commercial cider that was still. All of the ciders I have tasted including Normandy Ciders (just a few) have been sparkling.

Cheers!

Jack
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13303
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jack, the details of the process, known as "keeving," are spelled out in Paul H's link above. The big problems are that it requires cold temperatures and a level of cooperation from the juice provider that I suspect is very rare indeed. Probably you would need to have your own press and buy the right apples at the right time of year (very late in the season but before it freezes). But the description of the cider it produces is exactly what I have seen and tasted with good French cidre.

It is also possible to stop fermentation with sorbate, but this is not absolutely reliable by any means and it is unpredictable as well. The still somewhat sweet cider would have to be force carbonated if you want it to be sparkling, and there remains a chance of fermentation spontaneously beginning again and the resulting bottle grenades.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7624
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 05:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, if it's any help to you, there's an index of the last 17 years of Zymurgy at http://www.homebrewersassociation.org./pages/zymurgy/archives .
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2798
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 06:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Rather than trying to manipulate the yeast with unpredictable results, why not just let the cider ferment to whatever dryness it will naturally achieve and then back-sweeten it with additional juice? This has the added benefit of providing some fresh apple flavor that has not been modified by the fermentation process.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 122
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 09:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham,

If you ‘back sweeten’ wouldn’t you have to ‘kill’ the yeast first? Otherwise, wouldn’t the yeast ferment the juice you added?

Jack
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2799
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.96.196
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 09:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you're making a sparkling cider, then you would want the yeast to ferment the juice - essentially it functions as priming sugar, but with the added benefit of imparting some of the aforementioned flavors. Personal experience has led me to conclude that this technique imparts brightness while still imparting a low level of residual sweetness, particularly if some time has passed since primary and care is taken not to carry over yeast into the bottles. You can control the degree of fermentation, and thus the degree of sweetness, to some extent by simply refrigerating the bottles after a few days have passed (how many days is up to you).

If you want a still cider, then yes, you would need to dose the cider with a fermentation inhibitor such as potassium sorbate.

(Message edited by t2driver on October 19, 2011)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13304
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 10:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham's right that you have a better chance of fermentation not restarting if you let it finish first before adding the sorbate.

The problem as I see it is that the alcohol tolerance of even sweet mead/cider yeast is at least 8-9 percent. Most of the French cidre bouché is about 5 percent ABV. The O.G. of the late-season juice they use is around 1.055-1.060, which means that it finishes in the range of 1.012-1.017. I'm trying to think if any combination of additional juice to back-sweeten a higher alcohol product, and water to reduce the alcohol, would preserve that body.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 2167
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.251.232.177
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 11:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wonder if French cider is produced with pure yeast cultures or with the naturally-occurring yeast found on the apples. That might be part of the explanation for the residual sweetness

I once made a 5 gallon batch of cider that way, I just put the fresh juice into a sanitized carboy, added an airlock and set the carboy in a corner.

Took a awhile to get going, but it was one of the best ciders I'd ever made, IIRC.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13306
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, thanks for the link to the Zymurgy index and search function. It would be easier if I could see a table of contents for each issue, but perhaps I'm mistaken about where the article appeared.

If I could find the article, I would recall if French cider producers have their own yeast or rely on the wild yeast for fermentation. I do think there's a difference in the wild strains from region to region. I suspect it takes some time for those who rely on wild strains to find and create an environment that nurtures and encourages the qualities they are seeking. In my opinion, for the casual home cidermaker it's a real crap shoot to hope that you will be fortunate enough to find such a strain the first time out. As I see it, you have a lot better chance of achieving the desired results with a known strain.

Moreover, my experience is that many wild yeasts ferment extremely dry rather than leaving residual sweetness.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 123
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

I appreciate that you are still on your quest to make a French Cider. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you succeed in this quest and maybe I could leverage what you learn.

My personal quest is to make a bottle conditioned sparkling cider that is not bone dry. My goal is to be able to make a bottle conditioned cider that is off-dry.

I appreciate Graham’s suggestions but I am uncertain whether I could achieve my goal of an off-dry bottle conditioned sparkling cider using his suggested ‘technique’. I highly suspect that for me the juice used as priming sugar will likely be very much consumed by the yeast during the bottle conditioning (carbonating) process and I doubt that I would really notice the difference in dryness. If I was ‘lucky’ I suspect that my ciders would be very dry vs. bone dry.

Please post whatever you learn.

Cheers!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13308
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jack, I don't think the keeving process is feasible unless you have your own press or a very close relationship with a commercial cider orchard. So what I'm likely to do is try a 3 gallon batch using sweet mead yeast (I hope I can find White Labs WLP720 here in Canada) and settle for something on the dry side but not bone dry. I suspect it's the best I can do under the circumstances.
 

Jack Horzempa
Member
Username: Jack_horzempa

Post Number: 124
Registered: 02-2007
Posted From: 68.82.57.55
Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 08:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

I was hoping to try the Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast (4184) last year for my cider. Unfortunately I did not receive my apple juice until December and by then things are no longer warm in my brewing/cider area. Wyeast 4184 has a recommended low temperature of 65°F. I ended up using the cider yeast (4766) since that can ferment down to 60°F.

Good luck with your cider. I hope that it doesn’t come out too dry.

Cheers!

Jack
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 2169
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.225.143.186
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 01:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One of the key ingredients need for keeving is a compound called pectin methyl esterase (PME).

Apparently it is difficult for amateur cider makers in the US to get in small quantities.

However, there was a post in today's Cider Digest (#1666) about someone who has bought PME in bulk and who is willing to sell small amounts to people who want to experiment

Rather than post the person's email addy here, look it up in the Cider Digest archives at

www.talisman.com/cider#Archives

As Bill pointed out, you'd likely need to be pressing your own apples or work closely with someone who does your pressing.

I don't think PME would do any good once the juice has been pressed.

Google "keeving" to see more about the process. There's a good .pdf from Andrew Lea that explains it clearly, along with several other sites with good info
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13318
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 07:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It seems the current issue of the Cider Digest is not yet available outside of the e-mail list. Once there is a next edition, the edition Paul mentions will be available here: http://www.talisman.com/cider/curyr/index.html
 

JeffS
Junior Member
Username: Steinie

Post Number: 85
Registered: 07-2010
Posted From: 68.80.234.33
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 07:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry for jumping in on this late, been a while since I was on the board or brewed. Recently moved, which cut into brewing, but I am finally back up and running.

I'd like to hear how yours turned out and if you got the desired sweetness you were looking for.

When making my cider I use WY4766 as mentioned earlier, and add some brown sugar an/or yellow raisins to get to OG I want to make sure I get to the right %alc at the end.

Once my cider gets to 3-5 brix, I add sorbate as also mentioned, chill to lager temps, let it clear, then filter, force carb and bottle. I know the sorbate can be unpredictible, but, for me, the process has worked well.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 13368
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 07:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I still don't have the juice yet. The person coordinating the group buy says the orchard told him it's best to wait until after there is a good freeze. So far we have only had light morning frosts.

When I get it I'm going to try fermenting three gallons with WHite Labs WLP720, which I now have.