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What yeast to make Woodchuck (a hard cider)

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Chateau Joe

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I'm not sure how far their distribution is but Woodchuck is an amazing commercial hard cider. They are out of Vermont and have been making it long before the cider craze. At $9 a six pack it's fairly expensive. I think with my skills I can make a close duplicate.

So here is my question for those of you who make hard cider. My goal is to make a sweet hard cider with an alcohol content of about 7%. My plan is to add extra corn sugar to my cider and get the brix above my desired alcohol level and have the yeast run it's course till it's done at 7% and the remaining sugar will make it sweet.

What yeast do you recommend to stop at about 7%?
 

orto

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There is no yeast character in Woodchuck, so any neutral yeast. The way they make the mass produced sweet hard ciders is to make a neutral cider at the target alc %. then filter it add apple flavoring, back sweeten and force carb. They all use flavorings because real cider just doesn't taste like apples to most people.
 

gratus_fermentatio

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Nottingham ale yeast is my goto yeast for cider & graff, works great, goes to 9% reliably, floccs well; works great!
Regards, GF.
 

Redbird1

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I'm not familiar with Woodchuck. Is it carbonated or still? If still, you'll have a couple options, but I don't believe I've seen a yeast that quits on its own at 7%, so I don't think that would work. If carbonated, you'll run into some additional considerations.

For still cider you have a couple options. The one I've seen most frequently is to ferment to dry, add sorbate and kmeta to arrest the yeast, and then add apple flavoring (most recipes use frozen apple juice concentrate to add both flavor and sweetness). You could also filter out the yeast once it reaches your desired sweetness. Another option is to cold crash to remove the yeast once it gets to where you want it. To be safe, most people keep it cold from that point forward to prevent fermentation from kicking off again.

If it is carbonated and you want to bottle, the method I've seen recommended most frequently is pasteurization. You'd ferment to dry and add the frozen apple juice concentrate, but skip the sorbate and kmeta. When bottling, fill one or two plastic bottles. Once they get firm, pasteurize the remainder of the batch. Here is a link to a stovetop method. I've also read that people use the hottest setting on their dishwasher.

If you keg, it is simpler, and orto hits on it. Ferment to dry, add sorbate and kmeta (or filter), add the frozen apple juice concentrate, and force carb in the keg. That was my plan this fall, but I believe a fruit fly got into mine and it picked up an infection.

I used Nottingham on mine based on numerous recommendations in other threads.
 
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