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Soooo... I'm totally a newbie here and this is my first batch of cider. I have a fermentation bucket with an airlock. I used Lalvin dried wine yeast. I made my cider about a month ago using apples. Simmered them on the stove (after juicing them) and then put it all together. I also added sugar to the mix per one recipe to raise the alcohol content.

I did NOT get a hydrometer until week 2 so I had no base measurement there. At week 2 it was ... ummm... 1.031. Week 3 was 1.01. Week 4 (this past weekend) it was a little less than that.

At week 3 it tasted like decent tasting red wine - slightly sweet. Week 4 it tastes like plain red wine - sharp in my taste but I don't really like wine.

So - am I screwed? Or, can I just let it continue to sit and will it eventually start tasting like cider?

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3 Answers 3

Dry apple cider usually takes several months to a year in the bottle to smooth out. I would not concern myself much with how it tasted at 4 weeks. If you want a sweeter cider that is ready to drink in 4-5 weeks, take a look at my answer in this question:

Sweet sparkling cider without pasteurizing, sulphites or lactose

Make a "graff" which is a malted cider. Get 2lb of dry light malt extract, boil it with an ounce of hops for 30 minutes max in about a gal of water. Pour 3-4 gal of generic apple juice (preservative free ideally) into a carboy, pour the hot wort on top. When it's cooled down a bit, pour in a packet of ale yeast like US-05.

Bottle it after 3-4 weeks on primary, no need for secondary. After aging in the bottles for about 3-4 weeks, you'll have a delicious cider that has a "sweet" taste (the ale yeast won't ferment out all the sugars from the malt extract - mine stopped at 1.010)

I made a batch in January and by St. Patrick's Day it was totally ready and people drank the crap outa it. Good stuff. You don't get a "beer" taste from it at all, it really just makes the cider sweet, not so boozy, and ready to drink MUUUCH quicker than straight appelwine.

Bottle your existing cider and hide it in a closet while you make the "Graff" from above. Forget about it for at least 8 months, then start sampling it. You'll be glad you did.

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It's tasting like wine because there are almost no sugars left in the cider. With no sugar, you really notice the acidity in cider which makes it taste more like wine. (I would say it's more like white wine than, red, but that's subjective).

You could try sweetening the it to see if that makes it taste more like cider, and less like wine. Buy a can of apple juice concentrate and let it thaw. Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container. Put an ounce or so in the bottom of your glass before pouring the cider from the bottle. You can tune the amount of concentrate to your taste.

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I think cider tastes more like red wine because of the tannins in it. But I guess it does depend on the apples you were using. –  schwiz Jan 21 at 6:26
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I don't think that it will change from wine taste to cider taste.

I have done the same thing using Lalvin EC1118 yeast which turned out to taste like wine.

What is happening is the yeast had eaten all of the sugars in the cider giving it a higher alcohol content and the wine taste.

If you used a different yeast then some of the sugars would have been left giving it a sweeter cider flavor.

I am sure someone like Denny will give you a better explanation of this.

What you can do is :-

Either drink it like wine. Mix it with something like lemonade. Or back sweeten it with some flavors of your choice.

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