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I am looking to make some homebrew cider. I intend to use store-bought apple juice, and mix with an appropriate amount of yeast. I am wondering what kind of yeast you would recommend?

In the past, I have been told that Champagne yeast is the best, but I have also heard that statement derided, so I really don't know.

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Try to plit a batch. Half with champagne yeast and another half with ale yeast and see if there is any meaningful difference. I would expect champagne yeast to finish drier, but not sure on that. –  Paolo Apr 25 '13 at 13:59
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5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm an inexperienced ciderist and I've been researching this very question for around two months.

Many renowned cideries use champagne yeast. The thing to remember here is that champagne yeast is very aggressive and should ferment your must to total dryness (little/no sugar remaining, specific gravity below 1.000) So you may need to back-sweeten to achieve the flavor you prefer.

Check this page out, this guy has tested dozens of combinations of sweeteners & yeasts: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/results-juice-yeast-sugar-experiments-83060/

I am about to do 7 one-gal batches with TreeTop brand unpasteurized cider, with their gravity pumped to 1.065 with white/granulated sugar, and a half-ounce of yeast energizer per gallon added. This is happening in the next 4 days, so keep in touch with me and I'll share my results with the following yeasts:

  • Danstar: Nottingham (Type: dry, Purpose: English Ale)
  • Safale: S04 (Type: dry, Purpose: English Ale)
  • Wyeast: 4776 (Type:liquid, Purpose: Cider)
  • Red Star: Pasteur Champagne (Type: dry, Purpose: Champagne)
  • Red Star: Côte des Blancs (Type: dry, Purpose: White Wine)
  • Red Star: Bourgovin RC212 (Type: dry, Purpose: Red Wine)
  • Danstar: Belle Saison (Type: dry, Purpose: Farmhouse Ale/Saison)

The first five on the list I have read multiple positive reviews & successful recipies, the last two are for giggles.

If you wish to read a good book on cider, I recommend: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cider-Making-Using-Enjoying-Edition/dp/1580175201/

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How did these turn out? –  Cpfohl Apr 10 at 13:03
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I've used champagne yeast, but I find it dries the cider out too much. To reach an acceptable level of residual sweetness you have to back sweeten. That means either disabling the yeast (potassium sorbate, pasteurization, or cold crashing) and then carbonating and sweetening. Or you could add sweetener to each glass you pour. Either way, it's a PITA.

I've used WYeast 1056 with good results. A juice that start around 1.060 finishes (for me) at around 1.005. To my mind this is the right level of sweetness, assuming the juice is not overly acidic.

I've got 5 gallons of frozen unpasteurized juice that I'm going to turn into cider for the warmer weather. I might try Wyeast 1968, which is a highly flocculent and low attenuation strain. I expect it to finish somewhat sweeter than the 1056.

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I make semi sweet sparkling cider often. After trying a few different types, I find that Danstar Nottingham is the very best. I make mine with table sugar and treetop pasteurized apple juice from Costco. Ferment it out to ~1.010 in primary, bottle (prime with table sugar as you would a pale ale) and then cold crash or pasteurize within about 10 days (when it is carbonated).

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I've been lucky and not yet had bad results from the wild yeasts on the apples I press, however when I've pressed a larger volume of juice (3 gallons+) and want to minimise the risk of losing it to vinegar yeasts I recommend the Bayanus strain that Young's sell or failing that I usually go for a champagne yeast as I like a dry, crisp taste.

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I have used two different types of yeast for the same brew you are talking about. I have used a cider yeast from the brand BlackRock. This was a nice brew with sweetness to the cider and around 8% ABV.

The BlackRock cider yeast was a nice summer brew that you could have out in the sun and was very refreshing.

The other yeast have used is Champaign yeast. That was a very dry crisp drink with an ABV of around 13%.

The Champaign yeast is more of a wine tasting cider. It depends on how you want to drink it but I agree that some back sweetening may be a good idea.

I currently have another one brewing at the moment that is using a beer yeast. I will let you know how that tastes when it is done.

My recommendations depend on what you want. Something to drink at the beach would be using a cider yeast but at night with dinner would be the Champaign yeast

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