Analysis Request – Cider
Making ciders of high and consistent quality benefits greatly from understanding the chemistry behind the cider making process. This can be achieved by monitoring analytical parameters throughout the cider making process – from processing of the fruit and juice, fermentation, into maturation, and prior to bottling. Every step focuses on a different chemical parameter essential in producing a consumer-friendly product.
Important chemical parameters such as alcohol, pH, volatile acidity, sugar and organic acids, and sulphur dioxide should be monitored throughout the cider making process. If the cider is intended to be clear, measuring of the turbidity is recommended.
pH and the organic acids have a direct impact on the organoleptic profile of the cider and influence the microbial stability of the finished product. Sugar levels can either be measured as invert sugar or as the individual fermentable sugars’ glucose and fructose. Higher sugar levels result in a product that may be less microbiologically stable, along with lower alcohol levels. Alcohol is an important labelling requirement.
Knowing sugar levels throughout the fermentation process provides you with an understanding of where your cider is within this process. Frequent checks of the volatile acidity aids in the prevention of unwanted microbiological spoilage. Pre- and post-bottling checks are, however, only required when bottling is going to take place.
Certain analytical parameters only come into play post-fermentation, unlike pH. pH should be measured from juice to post bottling. Stability parameters such as organic acids and sugar should be measured throughout the fermentation process and prior to bottling. Pre- and post-bottling checks include alcohol, sulphur and turbidity.
Everyone involved from the receival of fruit to post-bottling of the ciders should develop an understanding of what analytical parameters should be tested and how they can optimise these results.