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Thread: Cyser

  1. #1
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    Default Cyser

    I just started a cyser because the first batch of mead I made appears like it won't mature before my wake! The new recipe called for Lavlin D-47 yeast but I instead used a Lavlin 71b-1122 a narbonnes because I read it is supposed to finish faster. Then I read that this yeast will convert malic acid to ethanol. Now I am worried that my gala apple cider will lose its sharp acid bite and apple character. A little late to do anything about it, just wondering how badly I have messed up. It is going to be a sweet one I think because the hydrometer said 1.150 and that was following the recipe except for the yeast. A clear case of failing to follow directions!
    Last edited by Vance G; 11-10-2011 at 10:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Well, malic is certainly a characteristic of cider/cyser but I wouldn't panic. See how it comes out. If it really lacks the acid backbone, or even just the malic character, you can always stabilize and blend later. It you want some insurance, you could anticipate it and make up a blending batch now: same must but use the Cotes (D-47) or a neutral fermenter. If you know you want a dessert-sweet finished cyser then make the blender to match, but alternately the blender could be designed to dry out a little more so you can ease back on the final blend's sweetness. Though most people enjoy some sweetness in a cyser, and the sweetness brings out the apple character IMO, I personally like something in the two to three percent (of potentiality) residual sweetness. It's your drink so make it the way you dig it!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Thanks sir. I appreciate the instruction but I don't know if I want that much more cyser. I will probably add more cider and I have a different batch in mind once the primary is empty. So much honey so little understanding from my wife!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cyser

    I made cyser with gala apples this year for the first time. Recipe: 7gal gala apple juice, .9gal honey (to SG 1.098), 2t PE, 4t dry tannin, 1t cinnamon, 1/2t cloves, 1/2t nutmeg, 1t fermaid K. The TA was .45 and pH 3.5. I used White Labs WLP720 yeast. It clarified very well and tastes very promising.
    My question is whether I should do a malolactic fermentation like with red wine?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cyser

    I only understood every third word! The gala apple juice has a wonderful smell. My sg was 1140 and I was wondering if it was going to have trouble getting started, but it is starting to get frothy on top. I just wonder if there is a shot I can serve a glass at Christmas.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cyser

    PE is pectic enzyme, TA is total acidity, Fermaid K is a nutrient to help the yeast.
    Your cyser should have high alcohol!
    Malolactic fermentation converts malic acid into lactic acid using a bacteria that you get at winemaking supply places. Lactic acid is smoother. It improves red wine but I suspect it wouldn't be needed with cyser.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Christmas will be pushing it.

    I start my meads at around 1130-1140, which is enough to leave a pleasant amount of residual sweetness with the D-47 or Montrachet yeast strains. At 70 degrees fermentation takes 3-4 weeks, at which point I rack it. Provided I added bentonite (1/2 T per 5 gallons, dissolved in boiling water 24 hrs before adding to the carboy) it will clarify in another two weeks or so. Once the yeast has settled out it usually tastes good. It tastes a lot better 6 months later, but at six weeks most of my meads are drinkable.

    Without bentonite (a type of clay), mead can take 3-4 months to clear. Cloudy mead doesn't necessarily taste bad but it's not visually appealing.

    Pectic Enzyme breaks down pectin in fruit, serving primarily an aesthetic purpose. Without pectic enzyme the mead may not clear completely, particularly if the juice was heated in the brewing process.

    I add Fermaid K and Diammonium Phosphate to my meads as yeast nutrients. Honey is not a complete nutrition source for yeast. In a juice-based mead (cyser or pyment) nutrient additions are not as important, as the juice provides many of the needed nutrients. I tend to add some anyway as it can't hurt.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    My sg was 1140 and I was wondering if it was going to have trouble getting started,
    In cases like this, I would always double the amount of yeast as a good starter.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cyser

    Sweetness is not really a factor of initial gravity readings. It is a factor of gravity reading upon completion of fermentation which relates to the yeast choice. My read of that yeast (14% tolerant) and your initial gravity suggests it will have a LOT of unfermentables remaining. I would not find this pleasing. It would rather be like drinking an alcoholic juice (my fruit juices tend to be around 6% potential alcohol, what I judge your finished product will be) Did the recipe say to make it that reading?

    When I make a mead or wine or beer, what I am really aiming for is a style or alcohol level in the finished product. This is based upon what I like to drink and/or what the people I share with like to drink. So if I press some apples of grapes and the must has a potential alcohol level of 6%, I have to add honey in proportion to what I want to finish with based upon style/preference/yeast. So if I was aiming for a cyser with some residual sweetness (wouldn't sweetness compete with acid?) I would add everything except the honey, then add incrementally until good starting target is reached. So, if my yeast was 14% tolerant, perhaps add honey to make a 15% potential alcohol level. Other than making a bunch of meads to learn sweetness levels desired, perhaps just mix up some honeyed water in solution to see what is enjoyed.

    The prolonged aging that my meads require limits the fruit characteristics in a finished mead. The workaround for this is to add more fruit suspended in the mead (in a hop bag) closer to bottling time. Either that or start with larger amount of fruit at the front end. Fruit aroma will be enhanced by later additions.

    The Lalvin site suggests this yeast METABOLIZES malic, is this the same as make it into alcohol? I do not think so, read the paste below. I also think you are not using a MLF yeast, just one that enhances it.

    Yes you can serve it at xmas. you might not like it yet.

    I've read a bit on ciders and perrys and made a few. Acid in the end product is enhanced by using about 5% crabapples in the cider. Perhaps do the same in a mead?




    Malolactic Bacteria - Malolactic Fermentation:
    In addition to wine yeast, there is another organism that we can use to round-out and add complexity to our wines: malolactic bacteria. Malolactic bacteria consume malic acid (naturally present in the grape) and convert it to lactic acid. Lactic acid is roughly half as strong as malic acid, so when it reduces/replaces the malic acid in the wine the pH goes up (and the TA goes down). The result is that the wine becomes less tart, softer and fuller than it was before the malolactic fermentation.
    Last edited by nursebee; 11-13-2011 at 04:14 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cyser

    It is really rocking and rolling this morning, so I guess I am out of control for a while and the high SG didn't stall the start. After the mead is finished fermenting, will isinglass clarify it? I see that product also has a sulfite in it. Does that stop the fermentation? Nursebee, I was just following a recipe that sounded like it might be good. I am sorry to hear it will be that sweet, but time will tell I guess. I am keeping a good brewlog and hopefully will get it right sooner rather than later. I am anticipating the first night when -30 or lower is forecast as I am going to sacrifice some mead to see if it makes good honey jack.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cyser

    My cyser, using the above recipe, was crystal clear in 6 weeks with no clarifiers added. I added the yeast on 9/28. Its drinkable now but will hopefully improve over the next year. You might wait to add any clarifiers until you see how fast it settles out. I like mine a little dryer, and don't want to risk that extra sugar popping the corks later, so I don't know if your higher SG will affect how fast it settles.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cyser

    While 1.140 might be a bit on the high side, I've used Lalvin D-47 (also listed as 14% alcohol tolerance) with SGs between 1.130 and 1.135. In both cases it fermented down to around 1.010 - a very pleasant level of residual sweetness.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cyser

    nursebee ,,,,,,, I like the way you explain things ,, I will be following your post's ,, I make wine/mead but I kind of fly by the seat of my pants ,, do what I feel/think/feel like trying if you know what I mean ..

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cyser

    I tested my cyser and found it to be down to 1.030 and still working. I am going to rack it off the dates and raisin gunk on top and figured I would need something to top off the five gallon carboy it goes in. I had bought an extra gallon of the gala apple cider that proudly said 100% apple juice for the purpose. Now the idiot who is poor on details finds that when actually reading the small contents on the back finds that it has sorbates at the bottom of the list! That seems to me to be very different from 100% juice! Well, it has and is working with the added sorbates. Will I kill the golden goose by using more sorbated cider to top off the secondary? I am thinking due to my too high gravity I should just top off with water. I am dumb as a post but I work cheap!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cyser

    While sorbates are not ideal, they also are likely not a killer. Many vintners following a country-wine recipe are surprised to find that sorbates don't stop active fermentation, but prevent renewed fermentation from beginning. To a lesser degree the same is true with sulfites. What volume do you think you'll need to make up with top-up cider?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cyser

    I only have a 5 gallon batch and was going to rack into a five gallon carboy. There is a layer of dates and raisins at the top so I may need a half gallon or more even if I am not careful to leave the lees behind. Now as high as my SG was to start with 1.150, Maybe I should just add water which I have standing by as well as the cider. That much water would probably reinvigorate the fermentation. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, please tell me. With the SG now down to 1.030 using lavlin 71b, maybe that is about as high an ABV as needed to be stopping the fermentation. I guess I could see what the SG of the cider is but will not pretend I could do the math to see how that would work out adding it! If I add the water it will keep working I guess down to a dryer cyser. Then I could kill it and add cider maybe and bulk age it. THis was supposed to be a quick batch so I had something to give the legion of folks I have told I am making mead who want a taste! Good thing I have lots more honey to blow thru getting this right! Someday maybe my attention to detail skills will be perfected. But, since they aren't at 61, I doubt it! Thanks for your help.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Good thing I have lots more honey to blow thru getting this right!
    There's one answer right there: dilute honey to current must SG and top with that.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cyser

    That is a good plan I suppose. It will dilute the sorbates but keep the yeasties in the environment they are used to. I suppose this will bump up the finished ABV which I really didn't want, but sounds like the thing to do. Thankyou sir. Now I have boiled water sitting which I am under the impression should have little 02 in it. Should I heat the honey and water again to combine? I suppose that is the only way I will avoid aerating the H out of it??

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cyser

    Well as long as there's an active fermentation going on, they should scrub out what little O2 would be introduced (but don't go out of your way to aerate). Dissolve the honey into the water however you like, but don't heat the main must. Usually just using hot tap water would be plenty to dissolve the amount of honey we're talking, but heating in a microwave and then adding honey works fine too.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cyser

    I racked my cyser and has rookie problems doing it. The first couple gallons siphoned off were clear as a bell and a srprisingly red color. From the grapes and dates? The SG is down to 1.025 which makes a higher ABV than i wanted and it is still really sweet for my taste. The wife likes it though. It doesn't taste all that bad! It might accidentally fool the uninitiated at our Christmas party. The lesson I learned on both batches I have made is that dumping pounds of honey the recipe calls for has had me starting out with too high an OG. I will henceforth work up to the target gravity because it is way easier to put sweet in than take it out.

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