Sweetening A Cider

Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:28 pm

A few months back I found some organic 100% Honeycrisp apple juice at the local grocery. I LOVE honeycrisp apples, so I bought enough juice to make 3 gallons of hard cider.

Fermented with White Labs English Cider yeast at room temp.

It's been in the carboy about 2 months. After tasting it, it's really thin and has almost none of the honeycrisp flavor. I was thinking of taking 1/4 gallon of the same juice and boiling it down to concentrate the sugar. Then sorbate the yeast and sweeten. Anyone have any experience with a method like this?

I don't want to use generic apple juice concentrate, because I really wanted to get the honeycrisp flavor...
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:21 pm

2 things...
How much of the honeycrisp flavor is tied to aroma that will get driven off in the boil?
Boiling will set your pectins, resulting in a haze in the finished product.
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:59 am

I just backsweeten with the straight juice to taste. I'm not really a cider drinker, but that's how I make them and they win the occasional medal and keep the wife happy.

Keep in mind that a half gallon of juice into a 5 gallon batch is 10%. I suspect that should be plenty to get the sweetness you desire.
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:25 pm

My concern is that adding straight juice will water it down too much. No? The juice itself only clocks in at about 1.045.
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Water it down in what sense? You'll cut the ABV by 10%, so it's 4.5% instead of 5%. It's not like there's a lot of body there to dilute.

Try it in a glass. 10 oz of fermented cider and 1 oz of fresh juice. Stir well, see if it tastes "watered down" to you. You'll want to do some of these small experiments to dial in the sweetness anyways.
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:35 pm

Brewing TV did a show on ciders that was very informative. They recommended freezing the fresh juice then turning it upside down and letting the concentrated sugar solution drip out. I never tried it, I used a can of apple juice concentrate instead. Along with some wine conditioner.
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:05 pm

Scottthepiper wrote:Brewing TV did a show on ciders that was very informative. They recommended freezing the fresh juice then turning it upside down and letting the concentrated sugar solution drip out. I never tried it, I used a can of apple juice concentrate instead. Along with some wine conditioner.


I just made a cherry cider this using this method and it worked great...the cider is delicious and I didn't need to add any sweetener, just the frozen concentrated juice was perfect
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Re: Sweetening A Cider

Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:24 am

Canned concentrate is my preferred method of sweetening too.
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