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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through October 15, 2004 * Search left a few unanswered cider questions < Previous Next >

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Colby Enck
Junior Member
Username: Thecheese

Post Number: 77
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 10:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm going to try my hand at apple cider in a few weeks. I did a little research w/ the search function, but I have a couple unanswered questions.

Anyone used Wyeast 3184 (Sweet Mead) for a cider? I'm hoping for a sweeter finish w/out all the hassle of adding extra concentrate or preservatives. Is the mid- to upper-60*F range too low to ferment?

Understand the pH of the juice will be low. Does this inhibit the yeast? Does it influence the taste? What can be used to adjust this after the juice has fermented?

I've only ever had commercial ciders like Woodchuck and Woodpecker. Are these considered sweet or dry?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 774
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would not bother with the Wyeast 3184. Some people manage to achieve success with it, but in my experience it's finicky and easily prone to a stuck fermentation. I would recommend Red Star Cote des Blanc wine yeast. It will ferment more dry than you would like, but merely wait till fermentation has subsided and then add more juice (I use a can of frozen apple juice concentrate) gradually (I'd suggest once a week) until there is no more fermentation and the sweetness is at the desired level.

Wine yeast will tolerate more acidity (down to a pH of about 3.9) than beer yeast.
 

Paul Edwards
Intermediate Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 464
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wyaeast and White Labs both sell a cider yeast. Both make nice hard cider, although a little drier than you might want. But they leave a lot of apple flavor in the finished products.

I've used Wyeast 3184 with reasonable success, but I prefer the cider yeasts.
 

Colby Enck
Junior Member
Username: Thecheese

Post Number: 78
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Bill. You must get tired of typing that (read it multiple times in the archives).

For those who had success w/ 3184, any issues with the finished product?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 776
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had a very nice semi-dry cyser fermented with Wyeast 3184, but also several sweet meads that stuck around 1.050 and had to be resuscitated with "heroic measures." I've given up on this strain.
 

Paul Edwards
Intermediate Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 465
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

I'm curious what the OG of your meads that stuck were.

The two ciders I'ved used 3184 on started around 1.050 to 1.052, depending on the year. That was a couple of years ago. I'd have to look up FG's, but both finished reasonably well as I recall.

I've used the White Labs cider yeast the last couple of years
 

Brandon Dachel
Senior Member
Username: Brandon

Post Number: 1241
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> Anyone used Wyeast 3184 (Sweet Mead)
No. I used it for a mead. Once. Never again.

What you are trying to accomplish - carbonated, sweet apple cider is nearly impossible to do predictably. I can almost guarantee that the ciders you've listed are filtered and then flavored and may even have preservatives added to them.
...and the answer is none. None more black.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 777
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul, perhaps Wyeast 3184 has a problem with higher gravity fermentations. Both of my stuck sweet meads were relatively strong, one with an O.G. of 1.104, the other at 1.115. I pitched large starters, aerated the must well with pure O2 and used yeast nutrient.

I agree entirely with Brandon about sparkling sweet beverages. It requires preservatives and forced carbonation to accomplish this safely and reliably.
 

Patrick C.
Member
Username: Patrickc

Post Number: 177
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've gotten good 'semi-sweet' ciders with Danstar Windsor. I add two or three cans of frozen concentrate to the juice. This really helps increase the flavor as well. It comes out a little sweeter than some commercial ciders, but it is still fairly dry.
 

Colby Enck
Junior Member
Username: Thecheese

Post Number: 79
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 02:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, so the commercial examples would be called "sweet," then? I guess I'm not so concerned about duplicating them, just trying to get an idea what a finished sweet or dry cider would taste like. In the end, as long as it tastes good, that's all I care about.

I've already got the 3184, so I'll use it and see what I end up with. However, now Bill's got me intrigued about the cyser. Could you post that recipe? Maybe I'll give it a shot.

Or could a barley/apple brew be done? I love all the possibilities; what I need to do is settle on one and just do it :-) .
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 1664
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've read that some actual sweet wines are claimed to be made by using a high OG and a low to moderate alcohol tolerant yeast and simply let it ferment to the alcohol limit. That is possibly more reproducable than trying to end up with a predictable "stuck ferment" by underpitching and using no nutritions. But this would probably gives you a damn strong cider :-)

/Fredrik
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 2343
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I have a cider (first one) in a carboy that is exactly one year old. I have transferred it from carboy to carboy about 4 times, and now there is zero yeast activity. It would appear to be done, but it is hazy. I'm used to brewing beer and meads that turn clear (I think the term "brilliant" is often used), so I am wondering whether to bottle it now or wait longer.
 

PalerThanAle
Senior Member
Username: Palerthanale

Post Number: 1173
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

chumster - what is the SG?

PTA
You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 2345
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haven't measured it yet. OG was 1.055. I'll check it when I go home at lunch.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 3652
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use both WY3184 sweet mead and WY3766 cider yeast every year for my ciders. I've never had any trouble getting the 3184 to fully ferment a cider with an OG in the 1.050-1.054 range, which mine usually are since I don't add anything to them. In fact, I'd be happier if the 3184 stopped a little sooner! Both of those yeasts usually give me an FG of 1.004 or lower.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

PalerThanAle
Senior Member
Username: Palerthanale

Post Number: 1175
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The more I thought about it, I'm not sure that the SG will have much to do with why it is cloudy unless the temp it too low for it to finish effectively but warm enough that the yeast doesn't settle because it is still working (slooooowly). I'm guessing that the glass is dirty :-) If the SG is low enough, try crash cooling it.

PTA

(Message edited by palerthanale on October 08, 2004)
You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.
 

Paul Hayslett
Intermediate Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 496
Registered: 02-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, did you add any pectin enzyme? That may clear your haze.

If your SG was around 1.055, I'd bottle and drink that sucker now. You are only talking 7% - 8% alcohol, not high enough for truly long-term storage. I've found that ~1.055 ciders hit their stride after about 6 months and are beginning to lose that fresh apple taste by one year or so.
The company of those who seek the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the company of those who think they've found it. -- Terry Pratchett
 

Brandon Dachel
Senior Member
Username: Brandon

Post Number: 1242
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 04:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> Or could a barley/apple brew be done?

Well, yes. You could make a barley/x brew where x is anything that's fermentable. I don't know how it would taste though. Apple juice is darn near completely fermentable.

I like cider but actually am not at all of fan of apple cyser. It's just an odd taste to me.
...and the answer is none. None more black.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 782
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 06:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Colby, my cyser recipe for 5 gallons was 4 gallons (35 lbs.) of raw pressed apple juice and half a gallon (6 lbs.) of light clover honey. I heated the apple juice to 170 F for 25 minutes to pasteurize it, and added the honey at the end. I chilled it and topped off the fermenter with enough water (not much) to bring the must to the right volume. I added two teaspoons of generic yeast nutrient, aerated it with pure O2 and piched the sediment from a half gallon starter of Wyeast 3184. The O.G. was 1.081. I fermented it at room termperature (about 70 F). After about a month the O.G. was 1.012 and I racked to secondary, where it stayed for another two months until it cleared, at which point I racked again. Two weeks later I bottled it without any yeast or priming sugar, as I wanted it still. The result after a few more months in the bottle was very nice, with a beautiful golden color and notes of both apples and honey.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 2348
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 09:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I checked my SG over lunch, and it is 1.002. I didn't use any pectic enzyme, so maybe that's why its cloudy.

I tasted the hydrometer sample. Tastes pretty good, very dry and tart, not much apple. Hemming and hawing again - should I bottle, or try Bill's apple juice concentrate trick? I'll have to ponder that over the weekend.
 

David Woods
Intermediate Member
Username: Beericon

Post Number: 414
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 01:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley,

I did the concentrate trick with my cider I made last year. Tasted much sweeter than my batch of cider that I had made the year before. I highly recommend it for a sweeter cider.

David
Onslo: "Get me a beer!"
Daisy: "We're out of beer."
Onslo: "I can't believe it! I'm completely surrounded by NO BEER!"
 

Doug W
Junior Member
Username: Pivorat

Post Number: 97
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Split the batch and do half and half...
 

Dave Johnston
Junior Member
Username: Bigtattoo

Post Number: 54
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 12:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As Paul suggested using pectic enzyme in the primary will drop the pectin haze problem. Rustic wine makers use the exhaustion method, adding more and more fruit, concentrate or sugars, until the yeast just can't do it anymore. This can lead to very high alcohol levels. Not necessarily a bad thing but if that's not what you're after then use wine conditioner before bottling. This is a wine sweetener that will not start a renewed fermentation or alter the taste of your wine. I recommend adding small amounts and tasting until you reach your desired level of residual sweetness. The results are very reproducable and this is the method used in commercial products.

BigT
 

Colby Enck
Junior Member
Username: Thecheese

Post Number: 80
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Bill. I think I may give something similar a whirl... I'll be getting 3 gallons of cider and I think I want to add honey/water to get a full 5 gallons into the fermenter.

I use plastic fermenters. Should I be worried about that? I've had beers go for months in plastic without problems, would AJ/honey be any worse off?
 

Colby Enck
Junior Member
Username: Thecheese

Post Number: 83
Registered: 06-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 10:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No worries with plastic fermenters?

Also, Bill, do you use apple juice to make the starter?

Any obvious problems with me using the following procedure (modified to my setup):

1.8L starter (apple juice?). Boil 1.5 gal water, remove from heat, stir in 5 lbs honey, back onto burner (very low boil), throw in the immersion chiller and a few tbsp of ale yeast (for nutrients). Boil all for 10 minutes, then chill. Move the honey/water to 6 gallon plastic fermenter, add 3 gallons apple cider, pitch starter, wait impatiently.

ProMash estimates an OG of 1.071. I wanted to make sure the gravity would not be too high since this yeast seems to be lazy.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 806
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 11:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't use plastic fermenters for long aging; they're more permeable than I would like. But I have no problem using them for primary.

Yes, I use apple juice for a starter for ciders when pitching liquid yeast, along with a little yeast nutrient. I also aerate the chilled must extremely well.

The one time I used Wyeast 3184 with an O.G. of 1.081 I seemed to be all right in terms of avoiding a stuck fermentation. I've had a lot of trouble with it for sweet meads with an O.G. above 1.100, however.

I don't think it's necessary to boil mead or cider. I like to pasteurize it so that I am sure only the culture yeast is active. Many people are less concerned than I about wild yeast and merely heat any honey enough so that it pours and mixes easily, using the apple juice without any heating at all. I'm told that French cider makers use only metabisulfite.
 

Paul Hayslett
Intermediate Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 499
Registered: 02-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've taken to sulfiting meads and ciders rather than pasteurizing them. I can't say that it makes a "better" product (no double-blind, controlled studies have been conducted) but people sure like the result a lot. And it couldn't be easier -- pour everything in a bucket, mix like mad to aerate, add metabi powder, pitch 2 days later. I can see why wine kits are so popular.
The company of those who seek the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the company of those who think they've found it. -- Terry Pratchett
 

Dave Johnston
Junior Member
Username: Bigtattoo

Post Number: 55
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 03:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I prefer Bill's pasteurizing method to the metabi, I'm sulfite sensitive and it gives me horrible migraines.
 

Tom Gardner
Intermediate Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 494
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 02:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The folks around here who make cider swear by low attenuating English Ales yeast like WLP 002 or Wyeast 1968.