yeasts for hard cider

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yeasts for hard cider

I have been brewing beer for many years but I am just trying my hand at making hard apple cider. I understand that champagne yeast is usually the preferred type for this but that it will typically produce a drier cider. I am after a sweeter result, similar to the commercial ciders such as Woodchuck. I also want to bottle condition the cider to achieve a carbonated beverage. Someone mentioned that ale yeast will produce a sweeter cider than a wine or champagne yeast will. So I have a couple of questions regarding getting a sweeter result in my carbonated cider batch.

Is it true that ale yeast is better for a sweeter end product in cider? If so, do you recommend any one in particular?

If after fully fermenting I feel that the cider is not sweet enough, is there a way to "back sweeten" the batch prior to bottling if I intend to prime and bottle condition for a carbonated cider? (I don't want to use artificial sweeteners because they all leave an unpleasant aftertaste to me and I don't use CO2 methods at this point in my experience.)

Thanks so much for any advice and information!

Yes, using other yeasts can

Yes, using other yeasts can help a bit with making it not so dry. Natural cider will still be pretty dry, though, as the sugars are very fermentable.

To get the commercial style sweetened cider, you do need to back sweeten. Keep in mind that sugar + yeast in an enclosed bottle is dangerous. To stop the refermentation you have a couple of options. You either need to stop or kill the yeast.

You can keep it refrigerated to stop the yeast, but again, be warned if you give a bottle away and it ends up at room temperature. It could explode.

Most commercial ciders use sulfites and sorbates to stop any leftover yeast from re-fermenting. You can also use heat to kill the yeast by bath pasteurizing your bottles.

Yeasts options for hard cider

Thanks so much for your reply!

It's good to know that there are some options with this regarding the types of yeast to use. Do you happen to have any specific recommendations for the type of yeast that will achieve the sweetest end product regardless of back sweetening?

And on the note of back sweetening, yes I am all too aware of the risk of making bottle bombs (and giving one or two as a gift! Can you spell embarrassed?!) I do want a carbonated rather than a still cider but bottle bombs are why I won't simply add more sugar prior to bottling. I know that will only give the residual yeast more food to eat and will only produce more carbonation (boom) and won't actually sweeten the end product.

Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but my understanding is that back sweetening must occur before bottling, but if I use sulfates and/or sorbates that will kill the yeast so it won't carbonate. If I use regular sugars, it will over carbonate and not actually sweeten, and I hate the taste of artificial sweeteners, so that trick is out.

So this is my dilemma for which I am hoping to get some advice. I think my main obstacle in producing a sweeter AND carbonated cider is that I bottle condition my brews.

Here are my final 2 questions:
Assuming that I can't achieve the degree of sweetness desired simply be using a different yeast, is my only option to back sweeten, add sulfates/sorbates and use CO2 injection?
If I start using CO2, can I still bottle or do I need to begin Kegging? (I like sharing my brews and bottles are obviously the most convenient way....)

I really appreciate your help and advice!!!
Laura

Sweet Carbonated cider

This is something I've actually mulled over in the past because my girlfriend is not fond of any dry wines/beers/ciders...she basically only likes sweet drinks, while I enjoy them all...anyway, even though I've been doing this for a long time, I still consider myself a rookie. So if any of you mad scientists knows a different way to do this than what I about to say, I'd love to hear it because this is a regular obstacle for me.
Since you're a beer maker, I'm sure you've heard of black & tan. And not like yuenglings that's bottled in 1 bottle, but a traditional Black and Tan was 2 beers mixed together.
I do the same thing if I want a sweet carbonated cider...you make half the batch fully carbonated and the other half gets conditioned sweet, then you have to give it out as pairs and explain the mix, I just use the Black and Tan story over and over.
Keep in mind, I enjoy the dry taste, and even though my girl likes sweet...the over sweetened conditioned batch is too sweet for her liking to drink without mixing, so you may not want to split the batch perfectly in half for the 2 finishes and it took me about 4 times to really get the level of sweetness we were looking for because as I'm sure you already know the carbonation itself actually adds to that dry finish, so even though I tasted it before bottling, it wasn't quite spot on once it bottle fermented.

Hope I helped

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