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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > 1st attempt at Hard Apple Cider
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:31 AM   #1
24to1
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Default 1st attempt at Hard Apple Cider

Hey all,

I pressed about 6 gallons of cider on Saturday. Put around 5 in a carboy and added 5 Campden Tablets (crushed). Its been sitting since Sat night.

Tonight I added about a pint of raw honey(dissolved in some water)and a package of WYEast 4766 Cider Yeast (after the "smack" had taken effect ).

Hydrometer says it ought to be about 5% when done.

1st question....Whaddaya think?

2nd.....How long to leave it in primary?

3rd.....Any tricks? and how long in secondary?

I plan on doing the dissolved sugar trick prior to bottling and pasteurizing once decent carbonation is achieved.

I plan on taking about a gallon out between 1st and second ferment and tryng something with it. I was thinking about adding more honey and re-fermenting to up the Alcohol content. Is this doable or worth it? Recommendations?

I am having a blast and looking forward to the end product

Any advice/recommendations/criticism welcome

Ron

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Old 09-16-2008, 03:04 AM   #2
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What was the SG or specific gravity reading on your hydometer. 5% seems a bit low, though you only added about 1 1/3 lbs of honey, juice alone often already gets in the 5-6% range. Though 5% isn't unbelievable.

1st question: I like

2: Many recommend waiting until your cider has reached an SG of 1.02, then racking into secondary. Another good rule of thumb Yooper has told me, is to rack everytime after secondary that you have 1/4" of lees or more.

3: You can either leave in secondary to finish, clear and age, or you can keep racking it to try to remove as much sediment as possible. However, with each racking, you lose a little wine, and you risk contamination and oxidation if you're not careful.

Good luck and this is a seriously addicting hobby.

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Old 10-07-2008, 03:24 PM   #3
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Default Taste Test....

OK...So I racked it from the primary to the secondary last friday evening. I tasted it (what was left) and it was VERY dry. That led me to the following questions:

1. Is it going to become "dryer" over time or what can I expect flavor-wise?
2. When should I bottle? I do plan on priming to carbonate?

I will admit I am more than a little worried as the taste was sure not what I expected. I was kind of hoping for a "Woodchuck" taste but it is definitely WAY dryer than Woodchuck.

Any suggestions to mellow it out? or am I worried for no reason?

Thanks

Ron

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Old 10-07-2008, 03:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24to1 View Post
OK...So I racked it from the primary to the secondary last friday evening. I tasted it (what was left) and it was VERY dry. That led me to the following questions:

1. Is it going to become "dryer" over time or what can I expect flavor-wise?
2. When should I bottle? I do plan on priming to carbonate?

I will admit I am more than a little worried as the taste was sure not what I expected. I was kind of hoping for a "Woodchuck" taste but it is definitely WAY dryer than Woodchuck.

Any suggestions to mellow it out? or am I worried for no reason?

Thanks

Ron
No, it won't get drier- dry is dry. Once the sugar is fermented out, it can't do any more.

Woodchuck is very, very sweet. If you want a sweeter cider, there are a couple things you can do. One is to stabilize the cider, and sweeten to taste. That will taste the way you'd like, but you won't be able to bottle carbonate it. (Stabilizing means the yeast won't ferment the added sugar, so you also can't use the yeast to carbonate).

If you want to carbonate, but still want some sweetness, you could add some artificial sugars (like Splenda) or an unfermentable sugar (like lactose), and prime and bottle. You'd have a carbonated, sweetened cider.

Hard cider made the way you describe is a dry cider. Many people like it that way, but others like some sweetening.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick reply Yooper....

What taste change can I expect from the aging process whether in the fermenter or the bottle?

I've been reading quite a bit and the whole how-do-I-sweeten-the-cider-but-not-explode-the-bottle question seems pretty prevalent. It just seems like the answer a lot of us noobs want is not achievable. Sweet, carbonated, bottled cider, without adding artificial sugar (i.e. Splenda).

I think I just need to modify my expectations. Dry is ok and if its too dry I can just mix it with some sprite or something when I drink it. ITS ALL GOOD

It is what it is and I will continue to make it. I have 5 apple trees on my property and can think of no better (or fun) thing to do with the apples.

I am pretty excited to find this new hobby. BTW I have my second batch of beer fermenting as we speak as well. First batch was, well, my first batch... Good, but not great...second batch will be hopefully better. This brewing is a riot!!!!!!

Thanks

Ron

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Old 10-07-2008, 04:36 PM   #6
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Sounds like you have a hang of everything pretty quickly. The sprite mix is pretty common, especially if you up the abv a bit, then when you cut it, it makes a good cocktail.

Jealous of your apple trees. This hobby is addicting and you will only discover how much so the more you do it I had 5 batches started in the first month I got into it.

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:41 PM   #7
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Regarding the bottle-bomb notion, I have read on certain sites and books that using champagne bottles are the safest way to go to help prevent bottle bombs. They are thicker and rated to withstand around 3 times more pressure as a regular wine bottle.

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Old 10-07-2008, 10:02 PM   #8
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Well if you are carbonating, you're glass choices are pretty limited to beer bottles and champagne bottles. Wine bottles, both in glass thickness and cork design cannot handle a pressurized liquid. If you do go champagne route, you will need with a champagne corker or an add on feature for your corker, as well as wire cages for the corks.

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Old 10-07-2008, 10:21 PM   #9
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If you get American champagne bottles you can cap them with a standard beer bottle cap. If you have the red two lever capper you can reverse the jaws to hold an American champagne bottle and put a standard 26mm cap on it. Ive tried it with my capper and it works. But the first time you try to remove the jaws it helps to tap them out from the back. They are tight to get out at first.

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Old 10-08-2008, 12:46 AM   #10
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Do you mean champagne bottles that do not have threads on them? Threads for a screw on cap? Can these take a cap? I have two cases of American made champagne that used a screw on metal cap. Any ideas where I can find screw on caps for these bottles? I have looked and not been able to find.

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