Cider brewing takes patience and precision. The proper temperature for every phase of the brewing process is one of the key things you should take into cognizance.
If you have the goal of making sweet cider and getting optimal results at the end, you must understand the metric of fermentation.
The temperature for fermenting, the yeast type, and the entire time it takes to ferment are what you should pay keen attention to.
Those facts if not properly considered can ruin the outcome of cider in terms of alcohol content, aroma, color, and overall appearance.
Temperature to Brew Cider
Although other factors can affect the final taste and flavor of the cider, this is one of the most important ones that you should control. Other factors are the sugar gravity of juice, pH, nutrition, and sulfite addition, all these play a role to determine the brewing process.
Different strains can be used in brewing this beverage. There is Champaign, wine, and ale yeast.
Fermentation is optimal at just below room temperature or between 650f and 700f for most strains however some may differ. To keep more of the flavors during the brewing, some brewers prefer to go lower and ferment at 600F.
The Best Temperature For Brewing
The optimal for alcohol production might not be ideal for brewing. How fast or slow it would go is greatly dependent on the temperature.
The final aroma and flavor of the drink are also going to be affected by the temperature and speed of fermenting.
What Is The Ideal Temperature For Alcohol Production?
The majority of yeast strains grow best at about 300C which is not the best for an optimal well-balanced beverage. At such conditions, most compounds would evaporate.
The best conditions of most strains to produce alcohol is higher than what is required for great taste and aroma.
Except you don’t mind the taste and are only keen on producing massive alcohol content, you can increase your brewing conditions to 860F. This would give you a high alcohol content at a high speed and you can conclude the process twice as fast.
But if you are keen on the flavor and taste too fast fermentation isn’t what you should attempt at all. As this would affect the taste of mostly distilled cider drinks like apple jack.
What Temperature Is Too Hot For Fermenting Cider?
One reason why you don’t want your drink to ferment too hot is to retain the flavors. Too much heat can make flavors evaporate to a large extent or completely disappear.
This is because in hot conditions flavors evaporate or become milder. And when this happens your drink would not taste as good as it would have if you had fermented at a lower temperature.
Hot conditions tend to give you a less flavorful drink with an unpleasant aroma.
Fermentation is much more than yeast growth. Even if some like “Kveik” for example can take up to 400C, it is not the optimal condition to get the best results.
Some Champagne strains can also tolerate up to 350C but this drink goes beyond yeast growth. The wrong fermentation conditions can cause bacteria that would tint your flavors.
When it is too hot it can produce off-flavors because it would become overactive.
Bacteria also contribute to a smooth taste as a result of malolactic fermentation. The transformation of malic acid to lactic acid brings out a smooth taste.
Apart from yeast, these lactic acid bacteria are also involved in the fermentation process.
Hence the fermentation temperature should be able to favor both yeast and lactic acid bacteria. These lactic acid bacteria do better at a high temperature when compared with most yeast.
To convert malic acid to lactic acid it is, therefore, advisable to heat it up towards the end of yeast fermentation.
Are Cold Temperatures Good For Fermentation?
Some stains are more cold-tolerant than others. For example, yeast for bottom fermentation used in lagers tolerates cold much more than the yeast used in ales.
Lager would do well at even 500F and would not be as fast as an ale at room temperature.
Ciders would ferment at about 50c, but this might not give you an optimal flavor. To get the best results and flavor a temperature of about 150c is best.
If your juice is too cold it would also not come out well just like it won’t when it is too hot.
If it is too cold it would disrupt the fermentation process or perhaps crash it. And the taste and deliciousness of the drink would be affected.
The optimal condition for most yeast growth is 400F. Most yeast would not do well in terms of growth under temperatures below 50C (400F).
Of course, you would have to keenly monitor it if you ferment in an environment with fluctuating conditions.
The best conditions for secondary fermentation are 600F to 750F. Depending on how sharp or mild you want your flavor to be.
In terms of storage, if you intend to store for a long period, it would be best to store at 600F in a dark place like a basement.
If you carbonate with bottles through secondary Fermentation, the process of fermentation would come to an end on its own when the sugar finishes.
So for this method, the weather condition doesn’t matter as much.
Except for forced carbonation and in that case, colder conditions even at a freezing point are best.
This is because of the relation between temperatures and pressure which will affect how much CO2 will dissolve at the end.
For forced carbonation, a lower degree is best.
In general temperature of about 650F – 750F is best for brewing cider.
For a better aroma, you can brew at high degrees at the beginning and then store at a lower degree before continuing.
Most importantly keep an eye on the weather conditions throughout the process, especially if it is expected to fluctuate.
And have yourself a nice and well-brewed cider.