Sweetening cider before bottling

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E-P
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Sweetening cider before bottling

Post: #276823 E-P
Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:52 pm

Hello folks,

below there is already one topic regarding my cider making, but now I need advice for something else.

So the fermentation is over but to be safe I am going to add campden tablets and potassium sorbate to ensure that there won't be messy surprises when it has been bottled. I have let the whole lot ferment completely in the same container with the yeast and left it there for a month or so. Now, I have a feeling that the cider will be very dry and I was wondering how I could sweeten it before bottling.

Lots of people seem to sweeten it with an apple concentrate or artificial sweeteners before putting it in keg. However, I couldn't find any examples where people had sweeten it before bottling.I can't back sweeten the cider in the fermentation container after killing the yeast before bottling as I would stir the yeast settled on the bottom, right? Can I just add a bit sugar in each bottle before topping up with the cider without any worries that it would start building too much pressure?

Also, how long I need to let the campden tablets and potassium sorbate to work before bottling? There seems to be all sorts of advice from few hours to weeks!

Thanks for the advice. Hopefully the cider will be taste and soon bottled. It has been rocky road, but next year it should be all a lot easier :cooldude:

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Maykal
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Re: Sweetening cider before bottling

Post: #276828 Maykal
Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:44 pm

Hi,

If you have another bucket, you could rack the cider off the lees into the new bucket and sweeten it there.

You can add sugar to the bottles but it's a lot easier in a second bucket because you know that you'll end up with a consistent product. It's also a lot easier to add one large quantity of sugar to a bucket than to add little bits to loads of bottles. Also, it's probably a good idea to dissolve the sugar in water first to make sure it mixes well.

Re campden tablets, I haven't used them but always thought they needed about 48 hours.

If you do have (or buy) a second bucket, you could rack the cider into it and mix in the campden tablets, leave it for however long it needs, then sweeten it, seal it, and put the airlock back in and give it a week there to check it doesn't start fermenting again, and if all looks good, go ahead and bottle it. A demijohn would be better for this though, if you can get your hands on the right sized one, as there'll be less exposure to air during that time.

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Re: Sweetening cider before bottling

Post: #276829 Stoney
Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:12 pm

If you think fermentation over than don't add potassium sorbate or campden tablets unnecessarily . You didn't say what you were fermenting in but if possible rack into a second container and leave the cider to clear under airlock, in a garage/shed it should only take a couple of weeks this weather. When this is done add one teaspoon of sweetener such as sweet n low to each bottle for a medium cider, add one teaspoon of sugar also to each bottle if you want fizz, cap the bottles and leave somewhere warm for a week and then transfer somewhere cool for a couple of weeks, and the drink at your leisure. If you use campden tablets or other stabilisers you will not get fizz as you will kill off the yeast.

E-P
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Re: Sweetening cider before bottling

Post: #276842 E-P
Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:04 pm

Right, so I opened my fermentation vessel and jugged in campden tablets and potassium sorbate. It seems like the yeast has already compacted so tightly on the bottom of the container that hardly anything moved when I moved and stirred the container. It is also very clear! However, why I wanted to add potassium sorbate and campden tablets was that it still produced a bubble/2-3 minutes after I took it in my room (it was before in cool dark cupboard under the stairs).

I sampled half a cup to taste and It certainly is strong :D It has at the moment (without additional sugar) a bit of a cheap wine flavour. It has pretty light apple flavour but in general it is very smooth. For me (who has never done this before) it seems quite nicely matured already with no dry/acid taste.

I think I'll just wait for couple of days for the tablets to work out, bottle it from there with a bit of sugar and see how it goes.


Thanks for all the help!

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MKG
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Re: Sweetening cider before bottling

Post: #276888 MKG
Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:03 am

Hi E-P :wave:

Sounds like you've done everything right. For future reference, Camden tablets (sodium metabisulphite) and potassium sorbate do two different things. The Camden tablets stun, rather than kill the yeast, whilst the sorbate prevents any further cell division of the yeast. The effects of the tablets wear off after about 48 hours but, by then, the non-reproducing yeast cells have died of old age and dropped to the bottom, leaving no new cells behind them. During those 48 hours, though, the enzymes already released by the yeast will carry on doing their work, so you'll still see a few tiny bubbles (the one you saw was more probably due to the cider warming up a bit). So you definitely need that 48 hours before thinking of bottling.

Enjoy your cider.

Mike
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