hist-brewing: Cider to taste

Wade Hutchison whutchis at bucknell.edu
Mon Dec 6 08:49:05 PST 1999

The ciders that I have made that came out the best were the ones that used
the natural (wild) yeasts on the apples, or used a beer/ale yeast instead
of a wine/Champaign yeast.  YMMV, of course, depending on where you live
and what kind of apple cider you can get.  I'm fairly lucky that I can
run out to a local farmer's market and get fresh cider with no preservatives
and no pasteurization on any given Wednesday for about 4 months of the year.
Just try to get the non-preservative stuff, and use a good healthy starter
of ale yeast, and it will have some residual sweetness.

At 08:31 AM 12/6/1999 , you wrote:
>I thought I would share this with everyone as it cost me a mint to learn.
>Some of you make cider and have probably experienced, as I have, the 
>person who turns their nose up at it, because it is dry.  Well, some of 
>the kits suggest adding a teaspoon of table sugar to the glass, at serving 
>time, to make it more palatable for these people.  This has two adverse 
>     1)  It makes the cider bubble over anything you put it in (sparkling 
> ciders).
>     2)  It makes the cider that much more un-palatable!
>Most of you probably know that table sugar in alcohol is the major 
>no-no!  It makes anything taste like cider and cider taste like super 
>cider.  ;)

I feel this is one of those strange rumors that float around the brewing
community with little basis in fact.  In years past, I've used table sugar
(sucrose) as a priming sugar, and as a gravity boost for various wines and
beers, and while there are problems with body and head retention (for beers)
I've never had the cidery off-taste that is often warned of.  Generally
that off-flavor is the result of an infection, which could come about if
sugar were added to fermenting wort without proper sanitation/sterilization.
(i.e. boiling the sugar in some water before priming, etc.)
Anyone else have counter-evidence that table sugar produces cidery flavors?

>Sooooo, I set out to find a good (natural) sweetener to add to cider that 
>would actually improve it's taste or at least not take away from it.  I 
>can tell you I tried EVERYTHING!  Fructose came in second, but made it far 
>too tart.  What came in first was Maple Sugar.

One of the other things you could try would be to add an unfermentable sugar to
the cider before fermenting.  Lactose or caramelized sugar should work, and
would produce a sweet cider without the need for at-serving-time additions.


>Ya'll have fun now,


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