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I brew kombucha and want to make cider. How could i make cider with very low alcohol level? i want it to be close to 1% if not lower. Is that possible?

  • If you do this, treat it like fresh juice. 1% alcohol is not enough to preserve the beverage. – Pepi Jun 20 '17 at 7:50
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Is the aim to make "cider" by fermenting apple juice with yeast- or is the aim to make a low alcohol sparkling apple based drink?

I ask because making low alcohol anything with yeast is always a bit "uncertain". Yeast rarely attenuates at 1% (or so) and so must be stopped by pasteurisation or by chemical suppression (think "sorbate") at the correct time/ABV. Pasteurising (not boiling!) renders the result somewhat flat. However such a low alcohol brew can be force carbonated to produce a sparkling drink although I wouldn't overly recommend it. Alternatively many people like flat "scrumpy" cider (but I am not one).

However fruit (especially sweet fruit) can also be fermented with lactobacillius or a similar SCOBY to Kombucha, namely "real ginger beer" plant. These will produce little alcohol (1% is typical for real ginger beer). Both produce carbon dioxide and lactic acid which is a little sour. But this can play well with a juice high in sugars - it gives the classic "sweet and sour" taste that is quite becoming in a soft drink. Unfortunately SCOBY and lacto produced drinks are not particularly stable and the flavours can change over time, as can the carbonation level. So be wary of storage problems - ginger beer is the classic "bottle bomb" but is usually safe enough in a PET bottle.

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No There's too much sugar in Apple juice.

I suppose you could dilute it to get to 1% but it would taste like water with a hint of apple. Having about a 4:1 ratio water to juice to hit 1% ABV.

Trying to stop a fermentation that would normally hit 5% or so would be very difficult. Keeping it from starting again would be an other big issue.

That being said. Possible yes, easy no. To have anything close to a cider.

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    You could keep track of the current gravity and pasteurise it once it reaches the desired level. But that might of course cause some off flavours... – Sander Jun 19 '17 at 11:14
  • @Sander indeed, it is possible. Either way to achieve just 1% abv, (limit sugar/stop fermentation) would result in watery or very sweet beverages. Unless the goal is for a sparkling Apple juice (sealed fermentation) then the whole exercise has little use. – Evil Zymurgist Jun 19 '17 at 13:22
  • ok i understand. Thank you all for your help. – Jeremy P. Jun 19 '17 at 13:43
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Typical cider would give you from 4% to 8% alcohol depending on the sugar content of the apples. So to obtain only 1 %, you need either to stop de fermentation at 1% or dilute the 5% cider with apple juice (pasteurized/no sugar added) to end up with a 1% cider.

To stop the fermentation, you can pasteurize and add potassium sorbate (it prevents fermentation from restarting).

If you start from apples (not juice) try to pick the apples with the least sugar content if that is possible.

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No matter how you look at it, alcohol is a function of the amount of fermented sugars. So if you want to brew a low alcohol beer, wine or cider, you have to make sure that the amount of sugars that ferments out is limited. This leaves you with two options: starting with a low amount of sugars, or stopping the fermentation before the alcohol strength exceeds your desired limit.

The first option requires a wort or must with a low sugar content. If you have no control over the amount of sugar that you start with (e.g. you're being handed a certain type of wort or must by your supplier) that only leaves you with the second option: stop your fermentation early by killing or removing your yeast. However, that will leave you with a very sweet beverage, and if you haven't gotten rid of all your yeast you will have a "wild" fermentation in the bottle which results in higher alcohol levels than desired and exploding bottles.

Which is where option 3 comes in: let your wort or must ferment out all the way into high levels of alcohol, and then remove the alcohol. The only way available to the home brewer to accomplish this is to boil it off. Unfortunately that will impact the flavor of your final beverage to some extent, but nothing in life is free.

And that's it, as far as I can see...

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Seems easy enough to just do a primary fermentation, and add a splash of whey or other probiotics and just brew a few days like you would Kvass. I do with chopped apples in water all the time and just pour a bit of my Fennel/Cucumber Kvass in it for probiotics, so I don't know why you couldn't do it with cider. I ferment just 3 days and it's majority of bubbling is over. I'd personally cut the cider in half so it not so heavy, but that's just me.

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