For my cyser, I ferment that sucker for 9 months or so, then carefully rack, let set another 3 months, then dose and bottle. Eventually the cyser may sparkle, but it’s usually so high in alcohol that the yeast is dead. One can of concentrate per 5 gallons is adequate. Great aroma, real up-front apple flavor, and the depth is just amazing.
This seems like a good place to ask this question:
We had a bumper crop of apples so we’re trying to make cider from the backyard’s yield (about a 3-gallon batch). First time making cider; we make beer several times a year. The recipe said to use Campden tablets (1/gallon), which I think are there to inhibit wild yeast growth, let it rest for a day, and then add the yeast. We did that (the recipe also included yeast energizer), using Champagne yeast - the local store was out of ale yeast.
Right now it’s in a bucket with an airlock which we normally use for primary fermentation. Tomorrow will be the fifth day since putting in the yeast (after two days, we stirred it but haven’t opened it). So far it has not been very active compared to what we see with beer. There is gas in there, just not a whole lot. Possibly we didn’t have very sugary apples. One tree was at the end of ripeness, the other (which the mix is biased a bit towards) was just ripe.
We were considering transferring it to the carboy tomorrow so maybe we could get a better look at what’s going on. Should we try something else? Add more sugar? Wait longer in the bucket, or forget the whole batch?
Some possibilities for the stuckness (ahem):
Insufficient vigour of yeast, or too low a count in relation to batch size.
Temperature prohibitive of yeast viability.
Were I you, re-pitching seems the thing to do. Yeast propagation is best done in a malt solution.
Although unlikely a cause, cider from a single type of apple may lack sugar/acid balance, something that absolutely affects taste. IMO, that is why many old orchards have a crabapple or two, for the acidity.
Keep looking. I’ve had the hardest time trying to find unpasturized or sorbated cider early in the season, but once they start pressing, it’s easier to find. You might also ask around, they can probably get you some “right off the press” or tell you where to get it.
Most places are going to pasturize for mass market, as it keeps the shelf life longer, and leads to less complaints of fermenting cider in folks refrigerators.
It’s really not that bad with splenda. I find splenda to be fairly clean in it’s sweetness, other artificial sweeteners do have off tastes. Though we often just stir in either sugar or splenda when we pour it into the glass.
Got 'ya. Powder dry, and I agree. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some definition that badly!
Well, just to update, I racked the “sourdough” fermented juice and, much to my surprise and happiness, it’s tasting pretty damned good and quite like a lambic. If I have any complaints at this point, it’s that it’s not sour enough and I kind of wish I had mixed in some malt into the ferment. So I racked it into two one gallon batches today: one with a gallon of straight fermenting juice, and another with about one part each of juice and some homebrewed amber ale. We’ll see where it goes from here.
I had success with mine as well, so far. When we checked it out there was almost no sugar left, so we added honey (which I cultivated for a little while in a jar to make sure that we didn’t need to add new yeast). I think when we bottle in a few weeks we’ll be sure to add fresh juice.
Also, we are using two varieties. They maybe aren’t the best together - the Chehalis is fine, but the other one is Liberty, a great eating apple but probably not ideal for cider.