First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

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monkeyboy
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First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by monkeyboy » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:57 pm

Hi all. After many years making beer, the unexpectedly heavy crop of apples in my garden persuaded me to try my hand at making cider. So we collected 23 litres of apple juice from the apples (no cider press so that took a lot of hard work with a little juicing machine), and off we went. I added tannin, pectolase and yeast and after 10 days at 18C it's gone from 1044 to 1000 exactly. I'm leaving it to make sure it's fully fermented out but I wouldn't expect it to go a lot lower.
A taste from the hydrometer sample shows it to be very dry, as expected. I'd also expected it would be a bit tart but it's not, it's just a bit bland. The apples were mostly eating apples from two different trees. We threw in a few bramleys, but obviously not enough. Is there anything I can do to make this a bit more interesting? I have some non-fermentable sweetener to throw in to try to make it taste a bit more like a normal commercial cider, but I'm wondering if I should also be adding malic acid to try to give it a bit more 'zing' before I move onto bottling. All advice gratefully received. It's not undrinkable, just not as good as I'd hoped it would be after all the hard work!
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Jim
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by Jim » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:08 pm

While it doesn't help with your current brew, this article written for JBK by Jean-Yves Jacob (who knows his stuff where cider is concerned) gives a good guide for how to mix up different types of apples to get the right balance. Might help for next year's crop.

https://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/cider_1.htm
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Robwalkeragain
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by Robwalkeragain » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:14 pm

Yeah it sounds like you're lacking acidity and/or tannin. Crab apples are high in tannin (if I remember right) which is why people add them to their cider - you could buy some powder, slurry it with boiling water and add to your glass. Acid can probably be added too, I've only brewed Turbo cider but the juice in that contains citric acid and comes out quite nice and balanced. Malic is sharp, lactic is smoother, and if you used wild yeast malic will encourage Malo lactic fermentation resulting in a farmhouse flavour.
May have a few facts wrong there, but sounds like a small additive will probably cure your issue.

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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by oldbloke » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Sounds like not enough tannin and not enough acid, for sure. Probably too late to add tannin now but you might be able to mix some acid in.

monkeyboy
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by monkeyboy » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:10 pm

Jim -- thanks for that. I'm not even sure what the apples are that we have! I'm guessing half are Coxs, but I'm not sure on the others. As you say, something to bear in mind for next year.

Rob/oldbloke -- I have some of the powdered tannin. I'll get some acid and then tinker around with half a pint and see if I can get something I like then scale it up. Thanks!
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by oldbloke » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:34 pm

Powdered tannin has a nasty tendency to clump. During fermentation, all the yeast action sorts that out. Might be trickier in a finished brew. Some very strong tea might work better

monkeyboy
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by monkeyboy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:26 am

Okey dokey - thanks for the tip!
Worst case is I'm drinking a lot of snakebite in the near future ;)
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by Rookie » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:28 pm

You could add some other fruit like pear or cherries.
I'm just here for the beer.

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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by WalesAles » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:29 pm

monkey,
I can see you are making Cider, but have you looked at this post to glean any more info?.....
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=66468

Oldbloke knows his stuff on Cider, so it might be worth a look.

Oldblokes` info got me a 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 3rd in competitions in the last four years :D =D>

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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by Jambo » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 pm

I would also suggest malic acid. I usually have the opposite problem of too many cookers!

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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by oldbloke » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:33 pm

WalesAles wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:29 pm
monkey,
I can see you are making Cider, but have you looked at this post to glean any more info?.....
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=66468
That's all turbocider though. monkey has Real Apples. It's very different.
I recommend an evening wandering round this though: www.cider.org.uk

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Crastney
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by Crastney » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:42 am

any mix of apples will make cider. it just depends on if you like the result or not. once made, the only thing you can do is add stuff like malic acid, or tanin (or a mug of strong tea), or add apple juice to the glass as you serve it, or if you can get another cider which is sufficiently wrong the other way, you can blend them to get your desired flavour.
I'd suggest you look at the cider.org pages, try to work out where you're cider is lacking, and then see if you can work out what apples are required to balance it out, and find a source of those for next year.
you could also make cider and black, or snake bite, etc, or even leave some to turn into cider vinegar...
plenty of options.

monkeyboy
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by monkeyboy » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:47 pm

Thanks for all the help and advice guys. I've got some malic acid and will be attempting to adjust it to taste tonight. Fingers crossed!
And yes, I think if we're lucky enough to get another year with a worthwhile crop, I'll be trying to grab some apples from the neighbours. One of the local parks has an orchard in it, but I've no idea what type are planted there!
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monkeyboy
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by monkeyboy » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:50 pm

In the end it seems all I needed was a bit of patience ;) Took a sample last night and it tastes 100% better than it did 10 days ago. SG is the same, but now it's sharp and tasty. Lovely pale colour. Into bottles tonight. Smashing!
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Re: First attempt at cider: a bit bland - any cure?

Post by oldbloke » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:40 pm

A bit of age works wonders!

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