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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to get back into brewing and since I do not have a lot of excess honey this year for mead,but free, fresh pressed cider is available,so I thought I would try a cider with honey as the primer.
Anyone have a recipe? Specifically, how much honey to use for carbonation? All the recipes I am finding are for cane sugar. I know the amount is critical to avoid bottle bombs.
Thanks, J
 

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You want to use 6.5 to 8.5 g/L honey for bottling. Cider is usually on the higher end, so I'd recommend 8.5 g/L (~3 volumes of CO2). You'll need to convert that to imperial, as I have no idea what it translates to.

If you have champagne or Belgian-style beer bottles you can carbonate much high; as high as 6 volumes of CO2 (15 g/L). This makes for some super-bubbly stuff that can be a real treat. However ***DO NOT*** do this with regular glass or plastic beer bottles as they cannot support the pressure, and will explode. Bottle bombs are no joke.

B
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you SuiGeneris. I do have both champagne and Belgian bottles for this sparkling Cider (wine technically). Most recipes I have are calling for 50g cane sugar for "super-bubbly", champagne- like amount of bubbles.
I will work on the conversion and commence the experiment as soon as my yeast arrives. Thanks again. Haven't seen you post in a while. I miss your reasoned, science-based responses in the "regular" forums. J
 

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The easiest way is to get a keg system and carbonate that way. I use my home brew kegs for cider too. Ferment the cider to your tasting, dry or sweet. Let it age for a month and then cold crash at 30 degrees for a week to clear it up and allow yeast to settle it out. Transfer to a keg and carbonate to whatever level you want with your co2 tank.
From there you can serve it from the keg or get a counter pressure bottle filler and fill up champagne bottles.
Give away for Christmas gifts but don't forget to stash some away for you too!
 

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Also, most kegs are not rated for continuous exposure to pressures needed to get a cider to 6+ volumes of CO2 (45PSI or higher), so its probably unsafe to try and get the super-bubbly stuff in a keg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I have been unable to come up with a conversion formula so I am thinking about just taking readings of my primer of apple juice and sugar and apple juice and honey and go from there once I know the equivalents. Anyone see a problem doing this? J
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I discovered a beer brewer who uses honey for conditioning and he uses 15-20% more than regular priming sugar. I did a test batch at 15 and 20% . If that works well, I will ramp it up some for champagne like carbonation. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Update: I made two 1 gallon batches. One with store bought cider and one with hand pressed wild apple and cultivated drops from an orchard. I added 32g pr gallon for conditioning.
The carbonation for the store bought cider was a perfect medium. Opened with a good "thupp" and did not overflow. 5.2% alcohol
The wild apple cider is a different story. Opening was like shaking a bottle of Champaign and lost half a bottle. The next bottle I took my time with releasing CO2. Lots of bubbles. Just about Champaign style. 7% alcohol.
The odd thing is the hydrometer showed complete fermentation with 0 residual sugar so I don't know why it produced so much more carbonation. I must have misread it or put too much honey in.
Both ciders are clear, but not perfectly clear. I could have done better racking, but being carbonated, I am going to get some haze opening the bottle no matter what.
Now for the subjective results. Both are very good dry sparkling ciders with a good mouth feel. The store bought cider is a light amber and the wild is a pretty, medium red. You can actually smell the honey faintly. My wife can taste it, but I cannot. But the taste of the mostly wild apples wins hands down. It is fuller, more of an apple flavor and smell. I will do a blind tasting soon to see if it is really superior, or if the color and appeal of pressing local, wild apples has influenced me.
This has been a great new distraction for me and encourage others looking for another outlet. I decided to go ahead and try my hand at a mead. That's the great thing about these 1gal batches. You don't need a lot to experiment with different recipes and methods. That said, I have a 5 gallon carboy of apple wine maturing in my cellar. Made with local cider, but boosted with sugar to get to 12-13%, so it's a wine. That will be a dry, champagne style sparkling apple wine.
Thoughts and suggestions welcomed.
 

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I just about fell out of my chair when I read one of the sentences you wrote.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yikes. I re-read it with a dirty mind and edited it. Thanks JW. Get your mind out of the gutter! J
 
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