Suggestion for Cider yeast

Hi Alers,

I haven’t brewed in a while (~6+ years) so I’m looking for some yeast suggestions for a relatively high sugar content after fermentation for cider. I used to brew quite a lot of cider with various yeast, honey/sugar addition as well as using wild fermentation and cryo-concentration, so I’m more looking at opinionated replies on what’s new than beginner tips!


PS: I’m also still equipped for controlled temp fermentation, go ahead with left field suggestions.

My preferred tactic (and a pretty simple one) has always been to back sweeten in the keg with a 1-1.5L of fresh apple juice and then keep it refrigerated. The other kegs just sit around at room temperature until it’s their turn in the fridge, at which point I add juice. This amount of juice just cuts the tartness, but doesn’t make it sweet to taste. If I wanted it much sweeter I’d use frozen apple juice concentrate.

You didn’t mention if you’d be bottling or kegging, so this might not be a very practical reply. I haven’t seen any simple ways to make a back-sweetened cider that doesn’t risk bottle bombs. I guess it depends on how sweet you want it. I’ve heard of people pasteurizing their bottles after back sweetening to taste but haven’t tried it.

Have you had any luck using lactose, stevia or artificial sweeteners? How about bread yeast since it has a lower alcohol tolerance? Not sure what kind of flavour profile it’ll give. Curious to know what others have tried to make sweet ciders.

Thanks, I think these are all pretty valid options. I’m planning to bottle it, uncarbonized. Could be tempted to sterilize it with sulfides. I’m not a big fan of pasteurizing apple juice, I think it really robs a part of the flavor. I might consider thermisation tho.

I’ve heard that sulfites delay the bacterial/wild yeast activity, but doesn’t guarantee that brett or other wild bugs take advantage of the sugar gold mine that you’ve left behind. I’ve never flash pasteurized any of my ciders or beers, so I have no idea what to expect there. You might be right. I’d be tempted to try it on a bottle or two, just to see what happens.

Your objective is a still or bubbly cider? Either way, I’d be inclined to ferment to completion with a cider or belgian yeast at a controlled temperature to have a predictable and enjoyable flavoured cider, then back sweeten with your sugar of choice. If you went with non-fermentable sugars, then you wouldn’t need to pasteurize.

No really long-term storage flat cider.

I have some that is 11 years old, from a cryo-concentrated batch I did, but I had a wild fermentation bringing that to almost a vinegar ph. Took years before oxidation/aging made it drinkable.

Trying to avoid this scenario.

I could also just keg it and be happy with my life.

Depending on how much you make, the extra keg on the side balances the odds you’re playing with your bottles. But that’s my perspective. I’m not a big risk taker. I’ve been making 60-100L of cider every fall for the better part of 10 years, splitting it into short term and long term batches. Cisers for aging (a year or two, or until I run out) and fruit or “plain” ciders for day to day drinking usually starting in January (3 months after fermentation) but mostly for the following summer (7 months+ after fermentation).

No, i don’t drink all this myself, there are a couple of birthday parties (pre-covid) that consume the better part of a keg each and some friends seem to appreciate the option over beer.

Cider newbie here. If you don’t pasteurize the apple juice, won’t it necessarily have wild things in it and ferment bone dry regardless of the yeast you pitch?

Metabisulfite are often used to neutralize the microbes(bacteria and yeast) in the apple must. This can affect pitched yeast and it is recommended to pitch yeast 24hr after metabisulfite use.

Some cider makers use the wild microbes to ferment in order to have the malolactic fermentation (MLF) which can give character to the cider and lower the acidity as malic acid tastes much much more acidic than the lactic acid its converted into.


Wild bugs won’t necessarily make it bone dry. There is a process called keeving where low nitrate levels and low temperatures cause very slow fermentation and leave many fermentables making it sweeter and richer in aroma. The lower temp and low nitrates hinder the microbes ability to reproduce and cause them to stagger off. I like a dry cider so I haven’t considered it for myself.

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