In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Which is the best yeast for sweet hard cider” with an in-depth analysis of which is the best cider yeast. Moreover, we will also discuss what makes these yeasts the best sweet hard cider yeast.
Which is the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
Safale S-04 by Fermentis is the best yeast for sweet hard cider for beginners. Safale S-04 is a great balance of price, availability, ease of use and produces a final product that is very consistent and high quality.
For more advanced cider makers, Red Star’s Cote des Blancs is a great sweet hard cider yeast selection. It gives a very high-quality outcome, but you should only use it when utilizing a technique that doesn’t include fermenting the cider all the way to dry.
Other best sweet hard cider yeasts
Some of the other best sweet hard cider yeasts are given below:
- Safale S-04.
- Nottingham Ale.
- Lalvin 71B-1122.
- Mangrove Jack M02.
- Best Hard Cider Yeast – Advanced. Côte des Blancs.
What makes Safale S-04 the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
It is the top recommendation for sweet hard cider yeast for beginners. It is a strain of yeast that many cider makers use and like, making it my top recommendation. It’s an English ale yeast known for its fast fermentation time and high level of flocculent (it drops into the sediment when it’s done fermenting, leaving a clearer cider).
S-04 also yields very compact sediment, making it easier to leave the sediment behind when removing the sweet hard cider.
The temperature range is 64-72 F, ideally sticking in the lower end of the range (even slightly under). S-04 also doesn’t finish as dry as the wine yeasts, which leaves more of the residual apple sugar (and flavor) in the sweet hard cider. Additionally, because it can handle alcohol contents as high as 18%, it’s a common selection for apple wines as well.
What makes Nottingham Ale the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
Nottingham ale is a versatile yeast, used in a wide range of beers. It’s a good sweet hard cider yeast because it is neutral, allowing the flavor of the apples to come through. Like most yeasts used for cider, it has a high attenuation (converts most sugars to alcohol). It is also highly flocculent (drops into sediment when fermenting).
This English-style ale yeast has a good tolerance for low temperatures (down to 57 f), with an optimal range between 57F and 70F (keeping it under 65 F will produce much better results). It also comes in a vacuumed package which makes it apparent if the package has been punctured. The 11-gram package is good for about 12 gallons of cider!
What makes Lalvin 71B-1122 the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
Lalvin 71B-1122 (71B) is a white wine yeast known for producing a smooth final product and enhancing fruit flavors. 71B has a very wide fermentation range from 59 to 86 degrees. Alcohol tolerance of 14% makes this a popular choice for those making apple wines or cysers (apple wine with sugar coming from honey).
It does consume 20 – 40% of the malic acid in the cider, which is a negative thing if you are using apple juice already low in acids (as most commercially available juices are).
What makes Mangrove Jack M02 the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
Mangrove Jack M02 is a cider-specific yeast that has grown in popularity in the cider-making community. This yeast comes with yeast nutrients already mixed into the packet.
With a listed fermentation range of 64 – 75 degrees, it’s easy to ferment at room temperature. The M02 is fairly fast to ferment the sweet hard cider, and most will drop out of the cider when fermentation is complete (highly flocculant).
The resulting sweet hard cider has great apple flavor and a very nice aroma and ester (aroma or flavor that is reminiscent of flowers or fruits)
You can read how to make hard cider sweet here.
What makes Côte des Blancs the best yeast for sweet hard cider?
Red Star’s Cote des Blancs is loved by some cider makers and hated by others. While some claim it is an over-aggressive wine yeast that ruins all the flavor, others swear by it to be the best yeast out there.
If left to ferment completely dry, Cote des Blancs will take a cider beyond dry (some report as dry as .990). This is why many who sing its praises use techniques to stop the fermentation before it gets that far (either with chemicals or cold crashing). It’s also very important to keep the fermentation at a low temperature, to preserve as much flavor as possible.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Which is the best yeast for sweet hard cider” with an in-depth analysis of which is the best cider yeast. Moreover, we discussed what makes these yeasts the best sweet hard cider yeast.