TC#1 – Turbo Cider #1

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For some time now, I’ve wanted to try a batch of “Turbo Cider”. It’s popular with a lot of the posters on Beoir and JBK. TC, as it’s known on the forums, is a quick (and some say dirty) of producing a dry cider. Definitions vary, but it almost always consists of cartons of fruit juice fermented with a wine or cider yeast. Some people claim that it’s supposed to be fermented and drunk quickly and that’s it’s supposed to taste a bit nasty!

Some TC makers add raisins or cold tea to increase body in the cider and add some tannins. It goes like this: apple juice contains highly fermentable sugars which are fermented out almost completely by yeast, leaving a very dry beverage. Something similar to a very dry white wine. Commercial cider makers get around this by stopping the fermentation at some point either by filtering, pasteurisation or adding sorbates to kill off fermentation. This is how commercial ciders contain plenty of body and residual sweetness.

As a home brewer, you have the option of using campden tablets and potassium sorbate to produce a medium-dry cider. If you don’t want to add chemicals to stop fermentation, you can use an artificial sweetener to balance the dryness. Many home brewers “back-sweeten” their cider by adding more apple juice at serving time in order to sweeten the cider “to taste”.

This is the “recipe” I went for:

  • 5 litres Lidl Cloudy apple juice
  • 150g sun maid raisins
  • 2 tea bags
  • Youngs cider yeast

I boiled the raisins and tea bags for 5 minutes in about 250ml water. I then added this to a 5l fermenter and poured on 4.5l of apple juice. Planning on fermenting for 2 or 3 weeks then racking to a demijohn for secondary. Planning on leaving this for a couple of months. Nothing really “turbo” about it, but hopefully it will taste good.

02/07/2012 – Racked the turbo cider to secondary fermentation vessel, a 5l demi-john. Had plenty of headspace so I topped up from a fresh carton of apple juice. Great stream of bubbles a day later.

06/10/2012 – I think I left this a bit too long. Does wine/cider yeast autolyse like beer yeast? Anyway, i bottled into 8 PET bottles using plain table sugar. I planned on using 1 tsp of sugar per bottle but my measurements were a bit inconsistent because the sugar kept getting stuck in the funnel. Also used 1/2 tsp Splenda to leave some sweetness.

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