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Thread: First time Cyser

  1. Default First time Cyser

    Hi all,

    First time posting on a forum and first time brewing mead! Or brewing anything for that matter!

    I've decided to make a cyser following this recipe!

    5 gallons pure unfiltered apple juice/ cider w no sugar or preservatives added. UV treated.

    14 lbs of unpasteurized honey

    The yeast I bought is EC-1118

    Before I get started I had a few questions.

    1. Since nothing is pasteurized do I need to boil the apple juice and honey? I've read that boiling takes away all the nutrients? I was planning on heating up 2-3 gallons of Apple juice to around 100 F to mix in the honey. Then adding the remaining apple juice to the carboy.

    2. Can I pitch my yeast with Apple juice?

    3. What is the best temperature to start a Cyser and what temperature should I keep it while fermenting?My house varies from 68-70 F.

    4. I've seen recipes with added spices ie cinnamon, cardamon, ginger etc..
    Will my cyser be lacking something if I don't add any spices?

    Any input is appreciated!

    Thanks,

    G

  2. #2
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    Absolutely do not boil your honey. I would not boil the cider either.

    The temperature for your ferment is dependent on the yeast. Look up the ferment termperature range for EC-1118.

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    Also make sure you have some organic nutrient like Fermaid-O on hand to help keep those yeasty beasties well fed. Check out the TOSNA protocol at www.meadmaderight.com for the breakdown. It's simple and easy. And guarantees a good ferment. Good luck!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

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    The Cyser BOMM recipe I've made uses brown sugar and chopped dates during the primary fermentation. Uses hungarian oak cubes and a vanilla bean during secondary fermentation. Here is the recipe: https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/Cyser-bomm/

  5. Default

    Thanks for the great tips, I went to my local brewing store and bought yeast nutrients. I will begin brewing tonight!

  6. Default

    How was it? I think I will try without spices for my first batch and try this recipe next and compare both!

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume View Post
    How was it? I think I will try without spices for my first batch and try this recipe next and compare both!
    It's a very good recipe. I've made it a few times. I've tried carbonating it, adding pumpkin, tart cherries, and different spices. They're all good, but IMO the original recipe is the way to go. Haven't tried no spices at all though -- if I were to bet I'd say they're there for more than just flavor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume View Post
    How was it? I think I will try without spices for my first batch and try this recipe next and compare both!
    Excellent. Made the recipe with three different yeasts and they all turned out different tasting, but all good.

  9. Default

    I also have my first cyser and first brew I started on the 16th. So while I don't have a lot of experience I will share what I have found out while doing a lot of reading.

    1. Many places I have read say that boiling your juice will make it difficult to clear. Won't have any effect on the taste so if you don't mind cloudy you can do this. Alternatively you could clear with chemicals. I would say it isn't needed as it was UV pasteurized already.

    2. I pitched my yeast with the juice. Well, to be truthful, I put it into heated juice, stirred it around for a couple of minutes and pitched it in. This was wrong of me and probably why it took 4 days to see any bubble action. But today I'm getting 6 bubbles a minute so seems to have worked out. Basically I really just pitched it dry.

    3. You are perfect in temperature for your yeast. I wouldn't go more than 5 higher to be safe, but you won't have to worry if 10 colder either.

    4. Most recipes I've seen suggest adding any spices and such after you move to a secondary and would totally depend on what kind of flavour you are looking for in your cyser.

    Additional note: You will need a larger jug than 5 gallons and suggest you get a 6.5 gallon one. As it stands you have 5 gallons juice and over a gallon of honey. Make sure you shake the heck out of it to aerate and mix the honey and juice prior to pitching the yeast, otherwise the honey will all be at the bottom even if you add the juice first and the yeast will like the fact you have lots of oxygen in there at the start. I'd suggest you do a quart (3 lbs or so) of honey to 3/4 gallon of juice, shake it up and pour in until full as this would be a lot easier than shaking 5 gallons at once.

  10. #10
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    Don't boil anything. Boiling cider sets the pectins and it'll never clear, and yes it changes the taste of the juice. And do yourself a favor and get some pectic enzyme too.
    Dave from New Haven County

  11. #11

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    Yea, and definately don't pitch your yeast into your must. Either use Goferm and it's protocol or just plain tap water.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    If your carboy is too small, just use the jugs the apple juice came in (sanitized and with their own plugs/airlocks, of course) to hold any surplus. I do my primaries in a bucket but since I can't lift a full 5-gallon or larger carboy, those small jugs are invaluable.

    Also, Red Star Cote Des Blanc is my go-to yeast for cysers. It has a good alcohol tolerance (my last batch got up to around 17%, if my hydrometer wasn't lying) and it accentuates the fruit characteristics very well-- the mead tastes sweeter than it actually is (going by gravity alone). EC-1118 will do the job but I've heard lots of people say it tends to drive off most of the aromatics.
    Last edited by pwizard; 01-24-2016 at 12:44 AM.

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    I second the Cote des Blancs yeast for cysers. It's a match made in heaven. I'll share with you my easy cyser recipe and fermentation schedule, which has yet to fail, and produces some fine cyser in the 16.5% ABV range.

    Start with 4 gallons of unfiltered, lightly pasteurized (if that's all you can find, otherwise unpasteurized, fresh-pressed) juice. I am blessed to live within an hour of Apple Hill, in El Dorado County, California, where numerous apple orchards exist, so getting fresh pressed juice is a cinch.

    Pour them into a sanitized bucket, take a gravity reading, and then begin adding honey, using a sanitized paint stirrer attachment on a cordless drill, until you get to your desired OG. Mine is usually around 1.130. At the same time, mix in 5 tsp Fermaid-O.

    Hydrate one packet of Cote des Blancs yeast using Go-Ferm, and 104 degree water, for 30 minutes. During this time, the temp will come down. Temperate by adding small amounts of the must to the hydration container at a time, and when the temp is the same as the must, pitch. Then I drain the whole thing into a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, drop an oxygenation stone in, and pump pure O2 in for about 30 seconds.

    Fit an airlock, and wait. I try to keep the must temperature in the mid 60s throughout the ferment. When the lag phase is over, I stir in 2.5 tsp. Fermaid-O. When the SG gets to 1.075 (1/2 break), I degas and stir in another 2.5 tsp. Fermaid-O. Then I set it somewhere quiet and out of the way until I see the yeast drop out. At this point, I rack and begin testing for stability. When the SG stays the same for a couple of weeks in a row, I bottle (carbonated) using raw honey for the priming agent. I don't wait for full clarity because I like my ciders and cysers bottled like hefewiezens. You can pour them clear, or stir them up a little; however you like it.

    If I'm going to add spice, I add it in large pieces (chunks, not powder) in a steeping bag, during secondary, until I get the flavor character I want. One of my next batches will involve using fresh ginger, which I will shred and add to the primary; probably 2-3 ounces.

    Using this recipe/method I have yet to need to make any pH adjustments or acid additions.

    Hope this helps you develop your own method, and make awesome cyser!

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    Quote Originally Posted by brentG View Post
    Haven't tried no spices at all though -- if I were to bet I'd say they're there for more than just flavor.
    Seriously ...you'd bet on that!!! For what other reason would one add spice(s) other than for flavor,,,,or am I just missing something here Plain cyser is awesome, prefer it to most spices folks think of adding ....cinnamon can be OK, fresh grated ginger root is awesome....but so is plain jane cyser. Seriously, tell me what other reason someone might add spices other than for flavor (or heat, if we're talking hot peppers as "spice")?

  15. #15
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    There's some rampant speculation that spices and other additives add in some trace minerals that yeast really like. Just a rumor though, I don't think anyone has done any science on it. :-)

    @Mazer828 that is remarkably similar to how I've been making cysers for an eternity. Saved yours as some notes, though, since I am a stranger to nutrient addition, and degassing was just something I did after a meal heavy in beans. :-P

    I'll third the Cotes Blanc yeast, it's a good one. I like Red Star's Champagne Yeast too, it's a beast. I made a 20+% blueberry/blackberry mead recently. I didn't think it was every gonna stop!

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