After the very successful backsweetening of batch 4, I’m going to try another method of obtaining a sweet cider. That is, I’m going to push the ABV higher than the yeast can survive. I’ll be using Nottingham Ale yeast, as it has a lower max ABV than EC-1118s.
So the OG of my starter tends to be around 1.050. That produces a cider that is ~5.5% ABV. The max ABV of Nottingham Ale yeast was hard to find, but seems to be around 14% (which is high for a beer/ale yeast). In order to maintain some sweetness, I’m going to aim for enough sugar to make 18% ABV if it was all fermented.
From this site and other sources, it sounds like each pound of sugar adds 0.046 to the gravity. In order to get 18%, I need an OG of 1.133 that ferments until dry. Except my cider will ideally ferment until 1.040-1.050 or so to reach ~14% alcohol and have some residual sweetness. To reach an OG of 1.133 however, I need to add 3 pounds of sugar. Oh boy.
I’m definitely going to have to heat up my cider as I mix in sugar to create a super-saturated solution. Its going to be quite interesting, as thats A LOT of sugar for a single gallon.
My main concern is actually going to be headspace. I’m guessing the yeast will go CRAZY over this amount of sugar. I probably should be using a blow-off tube, but I think I’ll increase the headspace a bit and simply keep an eye on it.
This batch will probably better be described as an apple wine rather than a cider. I’m excited to see how it turns out though. Especially when comparing the sweetness to that of batch 4.