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Culchie

Cider Refill Instructions

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The last time I made a batch of cider, there wasn't 3 bottles in the kit. It didn't come with the instructions this time. My question is, Are the measurements the same for sugar with the 3 bottles of extract as they were with the old kit ?? Seems to me they should update their directions if they update the process or ingredients. Thanks.

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The sugar is used to carbonate the cider.  What goes into the LBK during fermentation has no impact on how much sugar you use to carbonate, so there is no change.

 

I won't disagree with you that things aren't well updated on that.  PIcs show 2 bottles, places mention 3, others mention 2.  Like anything, when they change something they should not only be updating everything but also put in change dates (i.e. as of xx/xx/16 shipments, all cider kits contain 3 bottles instead of 2).

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Thanks. During the Brewing Process it says : Boil 4 cups of water. Stir in  "BOTH" bottles of cider concentrate and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. So I was wondering if the number of ounces of concentrate was the same, and do I still use 4 cups of water and do I still add 1 1/2 cups sugar, or more or less ?? I understand about the carbonation process.     

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Yes, still use 4 cups of water.

 

Yes, still use 1.5 cups of sugar.

 

The difference would be you're topping off with less water at the end due to 10oz more of cider concentrate, so it will taste a bit better.

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On 5/25/2016 at 10:24 AM, geoffman350 said:

The new instructions shown here: http://www.mrbeer.com/hard-cider-kit don't mention any sugar be added to the fermenter.  I only combined the 3 bottles of mix that my refill came with and added the appropriate amount of water.  Was it a mistake not to add sugar or am I ok?

 

No, you're fine. Sugar will dry the cider out so it will be a bit less sweet, but also a bit higher ABV.

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If you like it sweeter add lots of lactose.  I added about 8oz to mine & it seemed to be the perfect amount... for me.  It makes it bit more like a Reds Hard Apple Cider. 

***Mine was done using the pear recipe, although I doubt that there is much difference.

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On 5/25/2016 at 11:05 AM, MRB Josh R said:

 

No, you're fine. Sugar will dry the cider out so it will be a bit less sweet, but also a bit higher ABV.

Oh good, I was concerned. I figured it was too late to add it anyway. I tend to like a tart, less sweet cider. We'll see how this works out.

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I've heard that a good rule of thumb is to ferment Mr. Beer kits for 3 weeks in the LBK?  Should I ferment the cider for 3 weeks also?  I intend to condition the bottles for 4 weeks, then put the cider in the fridge for a week more before drinking.  Is this a good method with brewing cider?

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36 minutes ago, geoffman350 said:

I've heard that a good rule of thumb is to ferment Mr. Beer kits for 3 weeks in the LBK?  Should I ferment the cider for 3 weeks also?  I intend to condition the bottles for 4 weeks, then put the cider in the fridge for a week more before drinking.  Is this a good method with brewing cider?

 

3 weeks is a good time, regardless. In cider's case, it's mostly to clear it up a bit. Cold-crash it in the fridge 24-48 hours before bottling for best results.

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Last batch of cider I made, my wife complained that it wasn't very sweet. She prefers it to be a bit sweet. I had added a pouch of booster to it. I was disappointed for her that it was not sweet enough. The box with 3 bottles said that with three bottles it should be sweeter. This time I made it without the booster and just the 3 bottles of apple juice concentrate. 

 

I cold crashed it for about 3 days, and was amazed how clear it was going into the bottles out of the lbk. They are conditioning now. I recommend a minimum of two months conditioning time for Peak flavor. Even at 1 month it tastes more like an apple wine, then an apple cider. Just with that one additional month made all the difference in the world with the flavor.

 

I just hope this batch without the booster is going to be sweet enough for her.

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Booster isn't a sweetener. It, in fact, does the exact opposite of sweeten. Our ciders are more like dry English ciders than American ciders. It's almost impossible to make a sweet cider without a kegging system. You could try using lactose sugar as it's unfermentable, but it's a milk derivative and some people can't have it. It will also make your cider less crisp and more "creamy". I like to substitute a gallon of the water I use in my ciders for a gallon of pasteurized apple juice. This will give some residual sweetness, but not as much as an American sweet cider.

 

If you truly want to make a sweet cider, I recommend investing in a kegging system. That way you can stabilize the cider so it doesn't ferment any sugar you add. Then you artificially carbonate it. This is how all American ciders are made. There are no shortcuts, unfortunately.

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Well, I had to throw my last batch of cider out. So now I'm starting over. I added 3 qts. of pasteurized apple juice, instead of all water to my extract. It's only been fermenting 4 days, and looks to be almost done working. Is it common to finish fermenting that quick in 68-78 F temperatures ??

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Culchie, your temp is too high.  I try to keep my ciders around 65° (max) throughout fermentation.  Also, ciders give the appearance of being finished when they actually aren't.  Let it ride for 3wks.  Good luck. :)

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I fermented the last batch in the 60s. Didn't seem to do the trick. The cider instructions says between 59 and 75. I'll try to keep it around 68 to 72. That's about all I can do in this hot weather. 

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13 hours ago, Culchie said:

I fermented the last batch in the 60s. Didn't seem to do the trick. The cider instructions says between 59 and 75. I'll try to keep it around 68 to 72. That's about all I can do in this hot weather. 

 

68-72 is perfectly fine for a cider. In every fermentation, the main activity is only within the 1st few days. After that, there will still be plenty of activity, it just won't be visible. Like Anthony said, let it ferment for a full 3 weeks.

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If you cold crash cider after fermentation, does it kill the yeast, so that carbonation doesn't happen during the conditioning period ?? 

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29 minutes ago, Culchie said:

If you cold crash cider after fermentation, does it kill the yeast, so that carbonation doesn't happen during the conditioning period ?? 

 

No. The yeast just goes to sleep. The carbonation happens BEFORE the conditioning period. When you bottle the beer and leave it at room temps after cold-crashing, the yeast wakes up and ferments the added sugar for carbonation. Once the carbonation is complete, the conditioning (aka aging) period begins.

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So, do I bottle cold, or take it out of the fridge and let it get to room temp before bottling ?

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Thanks Rick. I read your post about cold crashing and propping up. It seems there's alot of worry about the sediment getting in the bottles, and people wondering if there's any yeast left for the carbonation process. It made me wonder if by putting my brew in a secondary fermenter before cold crashing, if I screwed up in any way. Because putting my brew in a (sanitized) secondary fermenter, it pretty much takes care of any chance of the trub getting in my bottles. 

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Does this sound right to you guys ? I took the advice of MRB Josh R and used 3 Qts of pasteurized apple juice, and cut back on the water. I used a cup of sugar instead of the listed 1 1/2 cups. And of course the 3 bottles of extract. My O.G. was 1.071. Was probably taken between 75 and 80 F. My F.G. was 1.002 and was taken an hour out of the fridge. So probably around 45 to 50 F. The math I do comes out to an ABV of over 9% !! I wanna be half that. Oh well, I have one more kit to get it right, then my cider days are over.

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13 hours ago, Culchie said:

Does this sound right to you guys ? I took the advice of MRB Josh R and used 3 Qts of pasteurized apple juice, and cut back on the water. I used a cup of sugar instead of the listed 1 1/2 cups. And of course the 3 bottles of extract. My O.G. was 1.071. Was probably taken between 75 and 80 F. My F.G. was 1.002 and was taken an hour out of the fridge. So probably around 45 to 50 F. The math I do comes out to an ABV of over 9% !! I wanna be half that. Oh well, I have one more kit to get it right, then my cider days are over.

 

I never said to cut back on the water, I said to replace some of the water with apple juice so you will still have the same volume. And when you do that, there is no need to add any sugar.

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When I said cut back on water, I meant replaced with apple juice instead, keeping the same volume. But since it was pasteurized, I didn't think it would get turned into alcohol. That's why I thought I still needed to add some sugar.  

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Pasteurizing kills bacteria and wild mold/yeast. It doesn't affect the sugar at all.

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I opened one of my bottles (half full) after 2 1/2 weeks of carbonation, and the carbonation is good. I gave it a taste, and like usual, it tasted horrendous. I don't know if it will get much better. When I ordered the cider kits, I got 3 of them for a great deal. I have one left, and don't plan on getting any more after this. For the last batch I bought some lactose sugar. Does anyone have a recipe I could try for my "farewell" batch of cider, I'd be glad to try one. Thanks for your support everyone.

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On 10/4/2016 at 9:45 PM, Culchie said:

I opened one of my bottles (half full) after 2 1/2 weeks of carbonation, and the carbonation is good. I gave it a taste, and like usual, it tasted horrendous. I don't know if it will get much better. When I ordered the cider kits, I got 3 of them for a great deal. I have one left, and don't plan on getting any more after this. For the last batch I bought some lactose sugar. Does anyone have a recipe I could try for my "farewell" batch of cider, I'd be glad to try one. Thanks for your support everyone.

Culchie, let the ciders condition longer.  I don't even taste them until they've conditioned for at least 8wks.  I've gone 3wks, before I knew better, and they were horrendous.  As I mentioned to you in an earlier post, lactose is the key!  Without it Mr. Beer ciders taste watered down and bland.  I use one full pound per recipe.  The cider is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.  As far as a recipe...  well that depends on what you like.  Look for my post in the "What are you drinking" thread from earlier this morning.  I did not brew a straight up cider this time b/c I prefer flavor.  Don't be afraid to flavor/sweeten the hell out of it if it!  Trust me, it can take it!!

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Thanks AnthonyC. I'm going to use the lactose next time. I like flavor too. I just figure the more I try to do, the more chance of me screwing it up. I seem to have better luck with Stout, and I like it much better. So I think I will stick to that in the future.

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On 10/4/2016 at 9:45 PM, Culchie said:

I opened one of my bottles (half full) after 2 1/2 weeks of carbonation, and the carbonation is good. I gave it a taste, and like usual, it tasted horrendous. I don't know if it will get much better. When I ordered the cider kits, I got 3 of them for a great deal. I have one left, and don't plan on getting any more after this. For the last batch I bought some lactose sugar. Does anyone have a recipe I could try for my "farewell" batch of cider, I'd be glad to try one. Thanks for your support everyone.

With stout, the kit provides everything you need to make a good stout.  With the cider, I find that you need to make some big changes to achieve your desired taste.  Therefore, I totally see where you're coming from.  Good luck! :)

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14 hours ago, Culchie said:

Should I condition in the fridge or out ?

 

Out.

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Well, I let my cider condition since the middle of Sept. Still tastes like something you would put in your vehicle to run it. I'm beginning to think the Mr.Beer instructions are wrong. Why else would it taste like nothing but alcohol ?? I'm wondering if I should add sugar to it at all, except for priming. 

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18 hours ago, Culchie said:

Well, I let my cider condition since the middle of Sept. Still tastes like something you would put in your vehicle to run it. I'm beginning to think the Mr.Beer instructions are wrong. Why else would it taste like nothing but alcohol ?? I'm wondering if I should add sugar to it at all, except for priming. 

 

I'm pretty sure they aren't wrong because I've made many batches. We even serve it at the Tucson Beer Fest every year and everyone loves it. I'm sorry it's not working out for you. :( Maybe try using a different yeast and different apple juice?

 

Otherwise, the best way to make great cider would be using a kegging system so you can properly backsweeten with fresh juice. This is how the commercial stuff is made. But it can only be done by killing the yeast. And if you do that, you would have to carbonate it artificially with Co2.

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Ok, I'm about to brew my last batch of Mr. Beer Hard Apple Cider. I will list what I have in my arsenal and what I'm shooting for, and let me know how you would do it.

 

I'm shooting for a SWEET cider at around 5% ABV. What and how much of each would you use to try to achieve this ? Thanks.

 

1 - Mr. Beer Hard Apple Cider Kit ( 20oz Apple extract )

6 Qts. Apple Juice

1 lb. Lactose

Corn Sugar 

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On 1/1/2017 at 7:04 PM, Culchie said:

Ok, I'm about to brew my last batch of Mr. Beer Hard Apple Cider. I will list what I have in my arsenal and what I'm shooting for, and let me know how you would do it.

 

I'm shooting for a SWEET cider at around 5% ABV. What and how much of each would you use to try to achieve this ? Thanks.

 

1 - Mr. Beer Hard Apple Cider Kit ( 20oz Apple extract )

6 Qts. Apple Juice

1 lb. Lactose

Corn Sugar 

 

DON'T use corn sugar. It will make the cider dry, not sweet.

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5 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

DON'T use corn sugar. It will make the cider dry, not sweet.

 

Hey Josh. I always heard that if you use corn sugar, you won't get any off flavors. I haven't had any luck with cane sugar anyway. And the cane sugar didn't make it sweet either. I didn't think it mattered about what sugar you used in fermenting, it all turns to alcohol anyway. I thought that is the whole reason I had to try and backsweeten. Can you please explain ? Thanks.

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There's no need to add sugar at all. The apple juice/concentrate has all of the sugar you need to ferment. Sugar will only ferment out creating alcohol, which gives the perception of dryness and reduces sweetness. There's no reason to do this unless you want a dry cider. You cannot back sweeten with fermentable sugars without a kegging system or you will risk exploding bottles.

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19 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

There's no need to add sugar at all. The apple juice/concentrate has all of the sugar you need to ferment. Sugar will only ferment out creating alcohol, which gives the perception of dryness and reduces sweetness. There's no reason to do this unless you want a dry cider. You cannot back sweeten with fermentable sugars without a kegging system or you will risk exploding bottles.

But the instructions say to add 1 1/2 cups sugar when you mix in the concentrate...... now your saying add no sugar? I'm confused.....

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The sugar is optional. Cider is made from apples, not sugar cane or corn. If you want a lower ABV cider with more flavor and some sweetness, leave out the sugar. But if you want a dry cider (how our kit was originally designed), add the sugar. There is really no wrong way to do it. It all depends on what you're making.

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10 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

The sugar is optional. Cider is made from apples, not sugar cane or corn. If you want a lower ABV cider with more flavor and some sweetness, leave out the sugar. But if you want a dry cider (how our kit was originally designed), add the sugar. There is really no wrong way to do it. It all depends on what you're making.

Awesome! Thanks for the clarification. 

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Oh how I only wish I would have know NOT to go by the instructions to get the results I wanted. Why couldn't they have explained that (option) in the instructions ? I had thought about using the 6 quarts of apple juice, instead of the sugar in this batch. And using some lactose as suggested by some for added sweetness. I also heard that after fermentation, you could use Potassium Sorbate to kill the yeast and add apple concentrate or something to backsweeten and add flavor without further fermentation in the bottles. I guess if you do that, you won't get any carbonation. I'm not sure what to believe anymore. haha 

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You will get results if you go by the instructions, but they will be for the recipe the cider was intended as (a light-bodied dry cider). If we were to put the different options on all of our recipes, each page would be a novel, unfortunately, because there are so many different ways to brew. I didn't write the original cider recipe, but I can offer ways you can improve it to your liking. None of our instructions are set in stone and none of our recipes will appeal to everyone in their stock form. And this is what the forums are for. :)

 

Adding sorbate to kill the yeast and backsweeten is the only way to sweeten a cider (lactose works, but not as well), but you will need a kegging system to carbonate it. If you REALLY want to make great American-style sweet cider, your only option is to invest in a kegging system. In my 20+ years of brewing, I've never found a way around that. If you do find a way, PLEASE let me know! lol :)

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Just checked on my cider after 3 weeks in the LBK and I swear it could take the chrome off a trailer hitch. Very disappointing and hope that conditioning with carb drops might help. I wish that they would have been more clear with this kit being less sweet...but live and learn I guess  

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2 minutes ago, Homebrewer202 said:

Just checked on my cider after 3 weeks in the LBK and I swear it could take the chrome off a trailer hitch. Very disappointing and hope that conditioning with carb drops might help. I wish that they would have been more clear with this kit being less sweet...but live and learn I guess  

Unfortunately the carb drops won't do a doggone thing except carbonate your beer.  The trick to ciders is lactose, and tons of it.  Were you looking for something in the lines of Angry Orchard or Red's?

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Just now, Homebrewer202 said:

yeah kind of

 

Ah gotcha.  It's not even gonna be close.  I made my 1st Mr. B. Hard Pear Cider (potatoes-patatos...  they taste the same) and followed the directions to a t.  It was not to my liking.  Next 5 (yup 5!) I flavored and added a lot of lactose and presto...  more like what you're longing for.  Yours is going to be very dry.  

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Thanks I would appreciate that, I will just cut this with half a glass of store bought cider with this stuff I hate to waste anything 

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I tried the kit 4 times. On my last (and final) attempt, I used lactose, stopped the fermentation, and back sweetened with apple juice. And it could take off the whole hitch. Not wasting time or money on those kits again.

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