3

This is my first post here but I've read a few posts for reference on my first few brews. I have now made 5 gallons of cider using 5 different yeasts. Two of them I really liked and plan to experiment a bit more with them next year using honey instead of brown sugar on some batches before primary fermentation.

So my question is, how is making a cyser different from just a regular cider? What steps are involved? What ratio of honey to cider should I use as a baseline? (Like I had read somewhere it's about 3/4 water and 1/4 honey for a mead)

Also, continuing along this line of thought, if I used a cherry blossom honey (just an example), how well does the flavor of the honey come through? I'm thinking of using a Ghost chili infused honey on one gallon, a mango infused on a second gallon, and an Orange blossom honey for a third.

2

The ratio of juice to honey completely depends upon a series of factors:

1) What is the alcohol tolerance of your yeast?

2) What percent of alcohol by volume do you intend to reach?

3) How much of the honey quality do you want compared to the fruit quality?

In terms of any fermentation, the differences are not that great compared to the similarities. I would not change that much compared to the successful fermentation you have already done. If you have your own system that works then stick with it, the only difference is the starting material.

If you are trying to get close to the maximum alcohol tolerance of the yeast you may need to add the honey in small batches during fermentation in order to prevent a stuck fermentation created by adding it all at once.

In terms of actual numbers, this is the art of fermentation and you need as the artist to decide. If you want it very floral with only a hint of fruit, use a lot of the watered-down honey. If you want a heavy fruit character and a high ABV percentage using strongly tolerant yeast (I love Lalvin EC-1118 for this), get the SG up there by just adding straight honey to the juice to close to 1.090-1.100 and then keep feeding it honey to get it back up to around 1.005 once it drops below 1.000 until you hit the amount that would max out your particular yeast.

To boil or not before fermenting, now that could start a war. Real honey is definitely not a "sterile" substance, but the likelihood of germinating the Clostridium botulinum spores typically found in honey during your fermentation is relatively low. I am definitely not a militant anti-boiler, but I tried boiling once and didn't like the mead I wound up with.

How well does the flavor come through? It's really hard to answer that over the internet without exact specifics. Honey is not by its nature uniform in flavor. With regards to infusing flavors, the ghost chili infusion then ferment would probably not be as potent as just fermenting with some chili in the bucket. Capsaicin is more soluble in alcohol than water.

  • I realized after posting that I should have put % alcohol. My current brews I added 1 cup of brown sugar at the start, and all were between 8 and 9%. For now I'd like to keep it around that percentage to keep things consistent and narrow down the sweetness next year. This year's brews were to help find my desired taste from the yeast. I really liked the Cider House Select, and the Lalvin D47 yeasts so I will be splitting what I make between the two. – GibDTD Dec 28 '17 at 13:15
  • As per meadmakr.com/just-how-much-honey-is-in-mead each pound of honey per gallon is approximately 35 gravity points or 5% potential alcohol, so you are starting at about 1.065-1.070. Let's say 1.070, and for example your must is starting at 1.050, that means you need (1.070-1.050) = 20 points SG / 35 = ~9 ounces of honey per gallon. – RudyB Dec 28 '17 at 19:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.