When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider: Find the Perfect Balance for Your Taste

When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider – Cider is a delicious, refreshing drink that can be enjoyed all year round. Whether you like it sweet or dry, there are ciders out there to suit everyone’s taste.

But what if you want to make your own cider? If you’re adding sugar to your cider, it’s important to know when to add it.

Non-fermentable sugars will give your cider a sweeter taste, but too much sugar can make your cider cloying and unbalanced. Here’s a guide to help.

When to Add Non-Fermentable Sugar to Cider?

When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider
When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider

Adding non-fermentable sugar to the cider is a way to sweeten the cider without affecting the alcohol content.

This is because the sugar is not fermentable, so it does not contribute to the alcohol content.

The best time to add non-fermentable sugar to the cider is after the fermentation stage when you have added the yeast to the cider. You can also add it before bottling if you prefer.

Sugar added during fermentation will not affect the alcohol content. For example, if you add 2 ounces of brown sugar to 1 gallon of cider, your final product will have 2.0% alcohol by volume.

The reason you add sugar during fermentation is to balance the yeast so that the alcohol level remains within your desired range.

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The Different Types of Non Fermentable Sugars Available

When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider
When to Add Non-Fermentable Sugar to Cider

In-home cider making, a variety of natural and artificial sweeteners can be used.

Each has advantages and disadvantages, but it ultimately boils down to personal taste or availability.

  • Xylitol
  • Splenda
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Erythritol
  • Stevia
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Sugar alcohols such as erythritol and xylitol are generated from natural sources.

They have a sweetness that is comparable to pure sugar and can be measured cup for cup like sugar.

Splenda is manufactured from sucralose, and while it is not a fermentable sweetener, it has damaged the flavor of my ciders in my experience.

Lactose and maltodextrin are two more non-fermentable natural sweeteners that have been utilized in the past in brewing and winemaking.

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They’re not as sweet as sugar, and they’re more about mouthfeel than sweetness.

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Which Non-Fermentable Sugar is the Best?

Erythritol or Xylitol is the perfect non-fermentable sweetener for back sweetening hard cider. They are virtually as sweet as sugar and can be used as a sugar substitute gram for gram.

The flavor of these sweeteners, however, is where they really shine. Like some of the others, erythritol and xylitol don’t have any noticeable flavors or leave a bad aftertaste.

The clear winners are erythritol and xylitol, which produce a sweetness close to sugar but do not contribute to their own tastes like many of the others.

The Benefits of Using Non Fermentable Sugars in Cider

The following are benefits of using non-fermentable sugars in cider:

  • Non-fermentable sugars add body and sweetness to cider.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can help balance the acidity in cider.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can add aromatics and flavor to cider.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can help stabilize cider.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can extend the shelf life of cider.

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The Drawbacks of Using Non Fermentable Sugars in Cider

The following are drawbacks of using non-fermentable sugars in cider:

  • Non-fermentable sugars can add sweetness to cider without adding alcohol content.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can contribute to cider spoilage.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can inhibit the fermentation process.
  • Non-fermentable sugars can make cider taste syrupy or cloying.

What is the Ideal Ratio of Non-Fermentable Sugar in Cider?

To make a one-gallon batch of 1.000SG hard cider with the target sweetness of 1.010, add around 60g of sugar to the hard cider.

You may get a similar effect by replacing the sugar with Erythritol, Xylitol, or a combination of the two.

Because the proper quantity of sweetness is a matter of personal opinion, I recommend pouring a few samples and sweetening them with varying quantities of sugar.

You won’t risk over-sweetening the entire batch this way.

Final Thoughts: When to Add Non Fermentable Sugar to Cider

Find the perfect balance of sweetness for your cider by adding non-fermentable sugar. Too much sugar can make your cider cloying and unbalanced, so erythritol or xylitol is the perfect non-fermentable sweetener.

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