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Old 07-06-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
w1dow
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Default 1st brew using shop bought kit...

Hi,

Totally new to all this brewing lark but thought i'd give it a try seen as i got given some equipment for nothing, so thought,.. well i got nothing to lose.

Decided to buy... ok wait for it.. a shop bought kit i know probably not the best way but like i said new to this so thought i'd start small.

I bought the youngs brewbuddy cider kit for 40 pints of 5% or 32 pints of 7% so i went for the latter

The equipent i'm using is:

fermenting bucket
pressure barrel
thermometer
hydrometer

just the basics. According to the intructions which i have followed so far to the letter it needs 7 days maybe a few more for the strong recipe. So now 10 days into fermenting the SG is around 1.002 it says that it will be ready at 998?
It started off smelling quite nice, like cider should, it now smells rank!! is this normal?
Also 7 days doesnt sound very long for this process, in fact from start to finsih it states around 3 weeks till ready for drinking??? surly this cant be right?

temp is currently at 24c and stays around this temp all the time. I didnt realise i should have taken the SG before adding the yeast as the instructions dont say to

Just wondering if someone could shed some light on what i should be doing or even what i should have done.

cheers

rob

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:00 AM   #2
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Did you get/use any sanitizer?

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:04 AM   #3
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Ciders don't always smell nice while they're fermenting. Do a search on here for "rhino farts" if you'd like some creative descriptions. It generally gets better as fermentation progresses. I suppose a cider could be ready in 3 weeks under ideal conditions, but 6-8 weeks work better for me. I don't use a kit, however; just juice and ale yeast. So as they say, "your mileage may vary."

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clifton View Post
Did you get/use any sanitizer?
Yes i did,cleaned all equipment before use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcobbs View Post
Ciders don't always smell nice while they're fermenting. Do a search on here for "rhino farts" if you'd like some creative descriptions. It generally gets better as fermentation progresses. I suppose a cider could be ready in 3 weeks under ideal conditions, but 6-8 weeks work better for me. I don't use a kit, however; just juice and ale yeast. So as they say, "your mileage may vary."
Ahh ok cheers. Glad its normal to smell like something died in there. So can you leave it too long in 1st fermenting stage? Or the longer the better?
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:49 PM   #5
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also in the kit instructions it says that once bubbles have stopped forming the fermenting is finished? I take it this is very vague in the sense that it is probably still fermenting seen as the SG has not reached where it should be.

What result would i get if i were to add more sugar at this early stage? will this reactivate the yeast and make the cider stronger? or would this ruin my brew?

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Old 07-07-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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that's crap! you are right, the only way to know is to monitor the gravity. it can be fermenting away and you might not see bubbles, and you can see bubbles forming after it is done fermenting, as gas comes out of solution. you can add sugar and it will ferment, but if you are adding it dry be careful, with a lot of gas in solution if you add powder you can cause it to foam up uncontrollably.

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Old 07-07-2011, 09:25 PM   #7
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Yeah, only go by your gravity readings - foaming, bubbing, and anything else are just "side effects" of fermentation - you can't rely on them to tell you what's happening, as it varies massively with your yeast/ingredients/etc.

You'll want to let it clear in your bucket anyway (your primary fermenter,) so that the sediment and the good stuff seperate, and by that time, it'll be finished fermenting. once that's done, syphon the cider out into your sterilized keg (secondary,) leaving out the rubbish at the bottom. leave for a few weeks, add gas, drink.

My experience of cider kits has always been a bad one, I've made three and have no idea what to do with my leftover can because they have all been pretty awful. Beer Kits tend to taste a lot better, on the other hand. If you're disappointed, try Edwort's Apfelwein - this forum's most popular recipe I reakon. nobody is ever disappointed with it, it's bloody delicious!

The more sugar you add, the stronger it will be yeah, but you want your sugars to come from natural sources as much as possible because it won't add any flavor. It's tempting to up the percentage I know, I did the same thing early on, but you're much better off working towards a really tasty cider than a strong one.

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Old 07-07-2011, 10:36 PM   #8
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That makes sense

Yeah i werent to sure about these kits but thought as it a 1st atempt id give it a try to get the hang of it.

As far as adding more sugar, you say natural forms of it , so something like honey? IF i were to add more sugar of some sort would i need to stir it in, which intail could that mess things up? no idea what i'm doing lol

Then i suppose the question would then be how much should i add if i was going to do this? i have 4 gallons in bucket.

So once this stage has finsihed i then transfer to my pressure barrel and add more sugar to carbonate it ( this is the part i'm more worried about lol )

last thing i want is a room painted in sticky cider as well as the mrs killing me!

If this brew dosent go according to plan or even if it does i certainly will look into doing a brew from scratch as i' sure it will taste alot better

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Old 07-07-2011, 10:50 PM   #9
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By natural forms, I mean the substance you are making the alcohol from - in this case, apples/apple juice would be your best addition, because they also supply the flavor you want. Generally if you're adding extra sugar, you'll want to just heat it up in a pan with a bit of water to make a syrup, then add it in that way and stir the brew plenty - your only aim is to dissolve it and evenly distribute it really. It's fine to, but like I say - concentrate on flavor, not strength. You've got 4 gallons there, so relax!

Glucose should dissolve with no heating, so you could just stir that in if you want it stronger. I would recommend a quick boil to ensure it's sterile anyway. It'll only take a few mins - and remember to sterilize anything that's going to touch your cider.

If you're aiming for 7% and you followed the instructions, your cider probably started off life around 1.050. You're probably close to just over 6.3% right now, so don't add much - a pound or two at most. you can calculate it using your hydrometer. It has a "sugar per litre" reading on the side, so just trace up to 1.050, find what percentage you want, and see how much difference there is between the two sugar readings.

Adding sugar to carb is easy, but it'll take a while to carb that way, and you'll have to do it every time you run out - whereas gas is instant and not very expensive - once you own the cylinder, it's about £2 for refills at your LHBS and they should last a keg each. Your pressure barrel has a safety release cap, so if the pressure gets too high, it'll let it out, so nothing should explode. Stick to the recommendation, of course. Bottles are what you've got to worry about, but I'm the same most of the time - I use a keg because it's easier!

If anything too, your first kit will at least teach you how the process works and iron out a few questions you have, so no harm done! Best of luck with it all mate.

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Old 07-08-2011, 05:57 PM   #10
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Thanks a bit of food for thought there!

So adding apple juice would be the best option by the sounds of it. I take it i need to get a apple juice which is pure as i can get? no additives or preservatives? Can you suggest a brand or such that i should go for, maybe organic or something?

So quanity wise would 1-2 litres be ok? or is that too little?

As far as adding more sugar i.e apple juice if my brew is currenty at 6.3% then i add more juice and bring the SG upto 1.050 .. well thats if the juice does the same as the sugar so to speak?
So in doing that will that essentally double my alcohol content? Not sure i want rocket fuel lol

Not sure that i will be buying a co2 cylinder just yet! think i will take the other option for now by adding sugar. So if i understand this right, once i added the sugar to carb it , give it a week and it will be done then over time it will lose its gas and i will then have to add more sugar? I take it this will not sweeten it as the yeast will eat the sugar producing co2?

god! so many questions lol sorry

this is almost as complicated as keeping my marine fish tank haha

cheers

rob

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