This is the list of Hard Cider yeasts used for hard cider and yeasts intend on trying. This list will be updated as the experiment continues.
Note that I understand that yeast selection is highly subjective, please do not take my words as the end all be all, just an idea of my personal experiences. If you want more details, check out the actual posts about the specific batches.
1. White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast (Batch #7)
- Used 6.5 gallons of Santa Cruz Organic Apple Juice.
- The batch brewed very quickly, about 7 days, yeast nutrients were used. Airlock activity was very rapid.
- Original Gravity (OG): 1.05, Final Gravity (FG): 1.00, ABV: 6.56%
- Had a very strong sour and sulfur taste initially but the sulfur taste faded with age, however since it is English style it remains sour, which some people prefer, but I am not one of them.
Conclusion: Not my favorite, probably would not recommend unless you are specifically looking for that sour English Style.
2. Nottingham Ale Yeast (Batch #1)
- Used 6 gallons of “Country Acres Apple Cider” from Whole Foods.
- Considered to be the most classic of all hard cider yeast by the hard cider brewing community. It was appropriate that Batch #1 used Nottingham Ale Yeast.
- OG: 1.055, FG 1.008, ABV: 6.17%
- Was treated with potassium sorbate and metabisulfite and back sweetened using apple concentrate to about 1.012ish.
Conclusion: The more this hard cider aged, the more it tasted “beer-ish” to me. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a good hard cider, but I was hoping for more of a Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider. I think that ultimately I wasn’t happy with the taste of the back sweetening concentrate and that it could have stood to have slightly more sugar in it. I also would try using pectin enzyme in the future to get better clarity. Need to experiment with different back sweeteners with this yeast strand. I also did not use yeast nutrients for this batch.
3. Bavarian Wheat Beer Yeast Activator – Wyeast 3056 (Batch #2, #3, #4, #5, #6)
- Used 5 – 1 gallons of Whole Food’s 365 Organic Apple Juice
- Was later racked into a 3 quarts secondary carboy.
- Batch #2: 100g – Light Brown Sugar Added
- Batch #3: 131g – Clover Honey Added
- Batch #4: 131g – Molasses Added
- Batch #5: Tannin Added
Batches #2, #3, #4, OG: 1.055, FG: Roughly 1.02 – 1.025, ABV: 3.94% – 4.59% [Expected Closer to 1.013, ABV: 5.51%].
- Batch #5: OG: 1.047, FG: 1.018, ABV: 3.81% [Expected Closer to 1.01, ABV: 4.86%]
- Batch #6: OG: 1.047, FG: 1.016, ABV: 4.07% [Expected Closer to 1.01, ABV: 4.86%]
- No yeast nutrients were added, nutrients are within the “smack pack.”
Conclusions: These batches have too much to information to go over, but here is a quick summary. The molasses, honey, and light brown sugar all have very distinct tastes, noting that honey tastes the worst until it has had time to age. Molasses is a very distinct flavoring and is arguably the second best. This batch did not go as intended because the FG should have been lower. I was expecting about 75% of the ferment able sugar to ferment (based on the yeast’s average performance), which should have put the hard cider closer to 1.013 for batches #2-#4 and batch #5 and #6 to be closer to 1.01. There are many factors that go into this equation, but it’s a subject I plan on researching more moving forward. I would absolutely recommend Wyeast 3056 for someone looking for a sweeter hard cider. I would also recommend boosting the OG to closer to 1.06 – 1.07, since about 75% *should* ferment off, leaving a sweet cider. An OG with 1.07 should finish as a 1.0175FG (semi-sweet) with 6.96% ABV. As for the added tanning batch (#5) it did exactly as you would expect, produce a more “wine like” hard cider.
Yeasts that I have but have yet to try:
Lalvin 71B-1122 Narbonne
Saflager S-23 (11.5 grams)
Lalvin ICV D-47 Wine Yeast
Lalvin K1V-1116 Montpellier
Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne
Wyeast 4783 Sweet White Wine Yeast
Wyeast 4242 Fruity White Wine Yeast