Cider Question: Do I need to use Campden (sulfite)?

Sulfite addition to cider

The simple answer is “no”. Campden, potassium metabisulfite, sulfite, sulphite, or whatever name or compound you use, it is not needed. This is especially true if you are unsure why you are adding it. As a general rule, if you don’t understand why you are adding something to your cider, don’t add it. This is … Continue reading Cider Question: Do I need to use Campden (sulfite)?

Cider Question: When should I rack my cider?

RackongnCider

Racking your hard cider simply means to siphon off the cider leaving the bottom layer of sediment behind. To answer the question of when you should rack your cider, I first need to review the definition of sediment and lees. Apple juice contains a variety of organisms and compounds. Many of these precipitate or drop … Continue reading Cider Question: When should I rack my cider?

Malolactic Fermentation and Citric Acid

Understanding the impact of Malolactic Fermentation to Citric Acid

Malolactic Fermentation or what is often referred to simply as MLF, is the process where lactic acid bacteria converts malic acid to lactic acid. For cider makers, MLF can be a very important process because apples are high in malic acid. As a result, MLF can reduce the acidity found in hard cider made from … Continue reading Malolactic Fermentation and Citric Acid

Cider Question: How can I encourage Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)?

How to encourage MLF

Malolactic fermentation (MLF) is a process that usually occurs after primary or alcoholic fermentation completes. Fundamentally, it’s the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid. Malic acid is more acidic compared to lactic acid so MLF reduces the acidity of your cider. Other reactions that impact aroma also occur. Diacetyl creation is one of the … Continue reading Cider Question: How can I encourage Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)?

Aroma Faults: Diacetyl

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Cider Aroma Faults: Butter Sometimes too much of a compound is the cause of a fault. Other times, the definition of whether its a fault depends on the beverage. Diacetyl (C4H6O2) is an example of such a compound. In most beers, it’s considered a fault but, in most California chardonnays, it’s desired. Butter is the … Continue reading Aroma Faults: Diacetyl

Cider Words: Maturation

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Maturation: The time needed to make a cider ready to drink. Maturation is defined as the time it takes cider or wine to become ready to drink. I like to broaden that definition to mean the time a cider is stored without preservatives after primary fermentation finishes. I also often call this aging. You can … Continue reading Cider Words: Maturation

Bacteria and Hard Cider – It’s not all bad.

Bacteria & Hard Cider

When someone says bacteria, we generally have a negative reaction. Bacteria is a bad thing, right? We want to kill it to keep us from getting sick. However, not all bacteria is bad and especially when you are fermenting hard cider. Lactic Acid Bacteria, commonly called LAB, is the under-appreciated and often abused element in … Continue reading Bacteria and Hard Cider – It’s not all bad.

The Impact of Malolactic Fermentation on Specific Gravity

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The impact of MLF on Specific Gravity Malolactic Fermentation, also known as MLF, is the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria, known as LAB. It was mistakenly called fermentation because of the decarboxylation that occurs in the process. While we tend to think specific gravity measures the sugar in your … Continue reading The Impact of Malolactic Fermentation on Specific Gravity

The 3-Phases of Natural Fermentation

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The phases of a wild/natural cider fermentation Apple juice fermented using its native microflora (yeast and bacteria) or what is sometimes called a wild fermentation, normally goes through three natural phases(1). Note that the length of each phase is impacted by temperature. The chart reflects a fermentation at temperatures of 14-22C (60-72F). The first phase … Continue reading The 3-Phases of Natural Fermentation

Hard Cider Tip #29: Aging on Lees (Sur Lies)

Aging on Lees

Aging on lees, also called ‘sur lies’, is a traditional practice for many wines and hard ciders. In Burgundy, France, there is a saying that translates something like ‘lees for wine is like a mother for a child’. The concept being that just like a mother nurtures their child, so to do lees nurture a … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #29: Aging on Lees (Sur Lies)