Made with an old American apple, Newtown Pippin, this hard cider is aged in heavy toasted French oak. The oak adds a vanilla and caramel sweetness while providing some astringency. This works well with the acid from the Newtown Pippin apples. I made this sparkling at 3.25 volumes of CO2 as I was thinking of champagne substitute when I finished this. It’s a great hard cider to serve with seafood or as a replacement to any white wine. I really enjoyed the sweetness and aromas created by the heavy toast on the oak.
As always you can adapt this hard cider recipe to your preferred method. If you find it too dry, you can back sweeten with a touch of organic stevia or erythritol, which are both sweeteners that won’t ferment. While I don’t use it often, I have experimented with stevia because it’s organic. Remember, it is at least twice the sweetness of sugar. I just started trialing organic erythritol, and while its not as sweet as sugar, it doesn’t seem to have the aftertaste many note with stevia. I suggest embracing dry, but lean towards erythritol if you need sweetness. As is my normal, I don’t use sulfites or sorbates in my ciders. If you want to add, you can always add sulfites 24 hours before inoculating with yeast and before packaging if you are back sweetening with fermentable sugars. I just try to avoid additional preservatives. Hard ciders will naturally produce some sulfites as they ferment. Some yeast produce more than others.
I also filter my hard ciders but you can also simply age them longer, cold crash them, and/or use fining to help you clarify your hard ciders. The same is true for carbonation. If you want to bottle condition this cider to 3.25 volumes, you can add 36.5 grams of priming sugar per gallon (9.6 grams per liter). This should give you the additional volumes CO2 that you would need to reach 3.25. This assumes you didn’t degas the hard cider, which means you should have around 0.85 volumes of CO2 already suspended in it. If you are not using kegs, always remember to limit your oxygen exposure by limiting your headspace when aging. This cider should have an ABV in the 7.0-7.5% range. The carbonation will be well within the sparkling range so take care with your bottles. The heavy toast also adds some color. Most of all, enjoy.
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