I bought 20 litres of President’s Choice Natural Apple Juice yesterday, with plans to make hard apple cider. Apparently making cider is as easy as falling down. All you do is put it in a bucket and add yeast. No yeast nutrients, sugar or anything else needed. You have to rack it a few times, and be patient with it (6 months or more). But basically that’s it.
I chose Lalvin K1-V1116 yeast. Not sure why, but the description the LHBS store had (good for white wines and fruit wines) was somewhat suggestive that it would be okay. Of course the guy there suggested EC-1118, which is Champagne yeast. That’s his old standby for anything that is not made from grapes, including mead and cider. I shrugged it off and said I didn’t like the flavour profile of Champagne, that it was too dry.
Here is what the Lalvin website has to say about the K1-V116 strain:
Selected by the Institut cooperatif du vin in Montpellier among numerous killer strains isolated and studied by Pierre Barre at INRA, the K1V-1116 strain was the first competitive factor yeast to go into commercial production and has become one of the most widely used active dried wine yeasts in the world.
Oenological properties and applications
The K1V-1116 strain is a rapid starter with a constant and complete fermentation between 10° and 35°C (50°F and 95°F), capable of surviving a number of difficult conditions, such as low nutrient musts and high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) or sugar. Wines fermented with the K1V-1116 have very low volatile acidity, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and foam production.
The K1V-1116 strain tends to express the freshness of white grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Seyval. The natural fresh fruit aromas are retained longer than with other standard yeast strains. Fruit wines and wines made from concentrates poor in nutrient balance benefit from the capacity of K1V-1116 to adapt to difficult fermentation conditions. Restarts stuck fermentations.
Highly recommended for dry whites, aged reds, and late harvest wines.