Posts Tagged 'cider'

CIDER#5 – English Ale Yeast Cider



29/11/2014 – Kegged and bottled. Transferred into 10 bottles using bottling wand and primed with 1 carb drop per bottle. Kegged the remainder and transferred keg to the shed for conditioning over the winter and spring months. At this point, I will open up the keg to see if the cider needs sweetening or other adjustments. Took FG reading of 1.000.

CIDER#6 – Young’s Yeast Cider


29/11/2014 – Kegged and bottled. Transferred into 7 bottles using bottling wand and primed with 1 carb drop per bottle. Kegged the remainder and transferred keg to the shed for conditioning over the winter and spring months. At this point, I will open up the keg to see if the cider needs sweetening or other adjustments.

17/05/2015 – I only got a few bottles out of this particular batch with the cider yeast. The rest of it is still in the corny keg. It’s pretty good, lightly carbonated, but not terribly acidic, as I was expecting. However, there is still a slightly sulphurous aroma off it, which is surprising after such a long conditioning period. Maybe the kegged version will be better as it might be possible to off-gas the sulphur.


I’ve bought 50 litres of freshly-pressed, unpasturised, unfiltered apple juice as part of a National Homebrew Club group buy. The juice is a blend of real cider varieties, comprising of Dabinett and Michelin. There is also a small proportion of Karmijn de Sonnaville and Bramley in the juice to balance the acidity.

All of my previous cider-making endeavours have been turbo cider efforts. Very drinkable for my taste, but I’d say the more sophisticated cider afficionadoes would find the flavour coarse and palate-strippingly dry.

As this is a premium juice, I want to treat it with maximum respect and produce some excellent cider. I also want to experiment with the juice using different yeast strains and different treatments. I’m planning on fermenting one 25 litre batch with an English ale yeast, WLP002. These liquid yeast strains are over €7, so no expense is being spared on this particular batch. I’m hoping the ale yeast will leave a bit more sweetness and body than a cider yeast, as well as contributing some unique flavours. I will probably force-carbonate 18 litres of this and prime and bottle condition the remainder.

Another 20 litres of juice will be fermented with Young’s Cider yeast which will result in a much drier cider. I plan on back-sweetening and pasteurising a large portion of this batch. I’ve never used this technique before, so lots of new skills to learn here. For the final 5 litres, I plan on adding approximately 1kg of honey in order to make a cyser. I will probably use a wine strain for this.

24/48 hours before juice is due to be delivered, I will be making a yeast starter for the WLP002 using some of Lidl’s finest AJ. (Lidl, where would my liver be without you?) Then when the juice arrives, I will dose with crushed Campden tablets at a rate of 1 tablet per gallon, in order to suppress the wild yeasts that occur naturally in the apples. After 24 hours, I will then pitch the various yeasts along with some nutrient and pectolase at a rate of 1 tsp per gallon.

04/11/2014 – Made some small starters for my two yeast strains using 1.5 litres of Lidl apple juice. 750ml went into each flask, aerated and pitched the two yeast strains, WLP002 and Young’s cider yeast.

05/11/2014 – Starters are quietly chugging away this morning. Juice arrived around 8pm! Some of the drums on the truck had already started to bulge slightly and so had to be vented. So, a big hiss when I opened my 2 drums of juice. I dosed each drum with 10 crushed campden tablets. Gave a stir with a sanitised racking cane and cleaned the spouts with a sponge and some StarSan. Sanitised the lids for good measure and put the drums back outside in the cold to slow any further fermentation.

06/11/2014 – 24 hours after dosing with campden tablets, it’s time to pitch the yeast starters. I sanitised everything with StarSan apart from my pot which I mixed my cyser in. For that I boiled water in the pot for a few minutes and then left it to stand for 15 mins. I also popped in the stick blender attachment to sanitise in the steam.

The juice was really and showing visible signs of fermentation. I racked about 4 litres of the juice a sanitised demi-john and left that aside for making cyser. I then racked the rest of the drum into a fermenter, taking care to splash the juice in order to introduce plenty of oxygen, and added 1 sachet (25g) of yeast nutrient. I had planned on adding tannin and citric acid, but I figured I really don’t know what I’m doing with this stuff, so I’ll wait until the cider is fermented to see if it needs adjustment. I decided not to add pectolase, as I’ve learned that it can strip flavour out of the cider. The extended aging will help it clarify anyway. Pitched the Young’s cider yeast starter (along with the fermented apple juice) into the fermenter.

I then racked the other drum of juice to another fermenter. Stirred in the yeast nutrient and pitched the contents of the WLP002 starter. This yeast start is much darker than the Young’s starter.

Then it was time to make the cyser. I poured the 4 litres of juice from the demi-john into my sanitised pot. I then added the honey (which I hadn’t warmed, like I did the last time), 1/2 tsp wine tannin, 1 tsp citric acid and approximately 15g yeast nutrient. I then whizzed the mixture thoroghly with the stick blender before adding the must back to the demi-john. I think the volume is a little too high for the demi-john, so hopefully the fermenting cyser won’t escape. It might have been a bad idea not to warm the jars of honey as there was still a little bit of honey stuck in the jars, and some more stuck to the bottom of the pot. Very small amounts though, so I didn’t bother to retrieve them. Pitched the Lalvin 71B yeast slurry from my Wildflower Mead.

The cider is fermenting in a colder room, whereas the cyser is sitting in my kitchen. Great smell of apples in the kitchen all evening. I’m planning on leaving the cider 4 weeks in the fermenter. I’ll keg the two different batches and bottle-condition the rest. The cyser will probably be in the demi-john for 4-6 weeks and then I’ll rack to a secondary. It will have a pretty high ABV so I can top up with a little water in the secondary in order to eliminate the head space.

TC#6 – Spiced Applewine

Had a good 500ml of cider left over after bottling the teabag cider so added 250g corn sugar, 1 level tsp wine tannin, 400ml Suma organic concentrated apple juice, approx 2.5 litres Lidl apple juice and 750ml bottled water. And 2 cloves! Shook to aerate and left the yeast to do its thing. I wasn’t going to take a gravity reading, but thought better of it. A surprisingly low 1.062. But then, the wine yeast will ferment out all of the sugar so it will still end up with a pretty high ABV.

21/07/2014 – I can’t believe this thing is still bubbling! Still flying. I was thinking of racking to secondary and adding some oak chips.

27/07/2014 – Still going! Slowed down a lot, but still the odd bubble going through the airlock.

10/08/2014 – Bottled into 750ml swingtop bottles with two carb drops each, apart from a single bottle which has only one carb drop. I ran out! got 5 bottles from the batch. It’s so clear, looks fantastic. You can taste the alcohol, but it’s still pretty dry and sharp. I doubt I will be opening the first bottle of this within the next 6 months. I had it bottled before I remembered that I was going to oak this batch! Ah well, next time.

23/08/2014 – Unrelated to this particular brew, but I was reading recently that the Lalvin 71B yeast is a good strain for absorbing malic acid. Probably a good strain for doing future turbo ciders. Will crack a bottle of this open at Xmas time and warm it with some spices and maybe a little brandy.. Wassail!

24/12/2014 – Cracked open the first bottle of this in order to do some mulled cider. Had a taste beforehand and it’s pretty potent stuff. I’m not sure if I’d be keen on drinking this straight up. The mulled version was really excellent though. I did a bottle of applewine with fresh root ginger, sliced apple, clove, star anise and a splash of brandy. Brought up to temperature then knocked the heat off and left to infuse for 10 minutes. Then brought back up to temperature before serving. Really delicious but nearly knocked me off my feet. 🙂

TC#5 – Very Berry Turbo Cider


Added 1 tsp of pectolase and 4 tsp Splenda to demi-john before adding 3 litres of cold apple juice. Shook vigorously to aerate and dissolve the sweetener. Added 400g of frozen and thawed mixed berries. Just pushed them through a funnel using a racking cane. Added yeast slurry from my Simple Turbo Cider and topped up with more apple juice. Colour is great but the fruit pulp floating in it looks a bit scary!

05/07/2014 – Given the demi-john the odd little shake over the last couple of days and the colour is great. A really intense red colour. All the colour seems to have leaked out of some of the berries (the blackcurrants?) and into the cider. Will have to rack this away from the fruit pulp and sediment and give it a couple of weeks clearing time. Not much sign of it clearing at the moment, so I’m wondering if the pectolase is doing its job.

20/07/2014 – Bottled with carb drops. Got 5 x 750ml and 1 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Bit sharp and acidic as all the others have been, but a great berry flavour.

02/11/2014 – I opened a bottle of this at a meet recently, and wasn’t particularly pleased with it. Not only did it gush a little (probably due to the bottle warming up), but the flavour was very sharp and acidic. Though this may have been because my palate had adjusted to the flavour of beers with lots of residual sweetness. However, having opened a 75cl bottle of this today, straight from the fridge, and served in champagne flutes, it’s actually very pleasant. Even my chief taster declared it to be excellent. Presentation is everything! But there’s a great aroma of the berries, fantastic deep red colour, and the berries carry through to the flavour. I do think it could benefit from a little further artificial sweetener, as it is quite acidic. Very refreshing for a summers day, I must put on another batch in the springtime.

26/11/2014 – This is going down extremely well. I’m definitely going to do another batch of this next year, but will do a bigger batch this time. It would be a good idea to do 11 litres of apple juice in a plastic FV with two or three packets of fruit in a large muslin bag, then rack into two demijohns for some aging and settling. It also needs some more sweetening with more Splenda to take the edge off that acidity. It’s also beautifully clear, so the pectolase did its job well. Would also like to get more carbonation in there to take it more champagne-like. I suspect the fruit skins contribute a bit of tannin which makes it more wine-like.

24/02/2015 – Just a note for when I get around to making this again: prime with 5g per litre and sweeten with 1.5g per litre of Splenda.

TC#4 – Teabag Turbo Cider


4 tbsp of honey, dissolved in 300ml of hot apple juice. Topped up to 4.5 litres in the Demi John and pitched half a sachet of Young’s cider yeast.

29/10/2014 – Amazing what a little age does to the old turbo ciders. The acidic bite in this has dropped out a lot. Still sharp and dry taste there, but very pleasant to drink. Wish I had more of it to be honest. I could see myself doing a full-size batch of this next year to have on keg in time for the summer. Though I might revert to my original turbo cider which included raisins as well as steeped tea bags.

TC#3 – Plain Turbo Cider


4.5 litres of clear Lidl apple juice simply sloshed into the Demi-John and aerated. Pitched about half a sachet of Young’s cider yeast. No fuss.

28/06/2014 – Bottled with 1 carb drop per 500ml bottle. Got 7 bottles from the batch. Sample tastes really sour.

TC#2 – Turbo Cider


09/06/2013 – This is my second attempt at a turbo cider made from Lidl apple juice. Used Lalvin EC-118 Champagne yeast.

10/08/2013 – Alas, I had to chuck this. It was pretty stupid (and lazy) of me to leave this so long in the fermenter, sitting on not only all that yeast, but the raisins aswell. And especially during one of the hottest summers in recent years. It wasted pretty yeast-bitten and I didn’t want to waste time bottling or tie up and of my bottles aging this for an extended period. Lesson learned.

TC#1 – Turbo Cider #1


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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