So after 3 days of carbonization, I decided to pop open a maple (4.2) cider and see how it turned out. The crisp pop and release of pressure when I opened it was awesome. I may have to start carbonating all my ciders. The maple cider still tasted great, but the maple flavor had been toned down a bit. I’ll have to over-sweeten it with maple if I want to keep that same flavor we originally had. I decided to move all of my remaining bottles of 4.2 to the fridge to be cold crashed.
Before moving on though, a warning about drinking actively fermenting cider. Don’t do it. Your stomach will not be happy. Its not particularly dangerous to ingest yeast – we eat and drink plenty of things with yeast. Theres yeast in the air. Normally, our stomach will break down yeast and sugar long before the yeast has a chance to get started. I found out first hand, that this isn’t the case for active yeast. The cider I drank was in the process of being fermented, so the hour or two that my stomach needed to digest the yeast didn’t help. My stomach was basically fermenting cider for a small bit, which means CO2 was being created, and I got a stomach ache. It wasn’t terrible. I felt like I needed to burp, and it went away after an hour or two as the yeast got digested. Its still not an experience I would recommend. The good news is that drinking a cold crashed cider should be fine. The yeast will be dormant and will be digested before it becomes active again.
Given the overly-apple flavor of 4.1, I decided to let it go for a 4th day before cold crashing it. Since then, I’ve popped open a few and the apple flavor is much subdued from what it was originally, and it tastes pretty good. Its sort of tastes like an unfiltered angry orchard. This is definitely the method I would use to recreate the flavor of most generic sweet ciders.
Overall I’m very happy with the backsweetening process. I could certainly have left my bottles out longer for more carbonation, but it would result in less sweet (and slightly more alcoholic) cider. Given how easy it is to sweeten individual bottles, I can easily sweeten just part of a batch – so I can have some sweet and some dry cider at all times for when people come over.