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Old 10-05-2010, 09:04 AM   #1
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Default 1st time cider - in process

This would be the first time making cider. I went out to a local mill and got 5 gallons of cider, unpasteurized, and no additives. The apples were gala, empire and another one I forgot. I cleaned out the 6.5g glass carboy using bleach and water and ensured all the bleach was cleaned out. I checked the SG/OG with a refractometer and it was off the chart ( > 1.070 ). I put all the fresh cider into the carboy and added a very, very small amount of brown sugar (<0.5 cup). I am looking to go around 9-10% ABV . I placed 5 campden tablets in the carboy, or 1 / gallon, I forgot to crush them. I made sure to stir the cider every couple of hours to try and help the tablets dissolve quicker.

After 48 hours I placed http://www.mountainhomebrew.com/browseproducts/Wyeast-4766-Cider-Yeast.HTML the yeast in the cider and stirred the cider again.The air temp in the room is about 65 deg. I haven't noticed anything going on in the carboy. No gas, no action, no foam.

1. How long should this take to start up?
2. Is there any other information anyone needs to help?
3. How do I go about carbonating the bottles without blowing them up? I read through http://greatentrance.com/index.html and multiple other sites on how to do this but im still a little lost. I didn't see an exact amount of sugar to add to the solution before bottling, but after the last rack.
4. I also just picked fresh raspberry's and wanted to add them. I wasn't sure when to add them either. I heard if added early they lose the flavor and taste weird.

Any information would help. Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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1. The wyeast smack packs take about 12-24 hours to get going. It did puff up when you smacked it, right?
3. check out the sticky on bottle pasteurization
4. I usually add the raspberries a day or two before I crash it. If you are not going to crash, add after racking to secondary.

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Old 10-05-2010, 02:02 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply.

I did crack it, but I did not give it three hours to puff. I guess I should have waited a little longer. The directions stated it could be pitched right away and did not have to wait.

I read the pasteurization thread but unfortunately im still a little confused. I was going to let the cider ferment, rack and then complete fermenting, and rack again. Then I was going to add sugar to the mix and bottle the next day. I wasnt sure how much sugar to add nor when to look at the bottles. Is pasteurization needed or can it just be left out?

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Old 10-05-2010, 02:25 PM   #4
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I always wait for the smack packs to puff up, not sure how long it will take if you dont. How long ago did you pitch? If it doesnt start soon, I'd recommend repitching with an ale or wheat yeast. I've used the 4766 and wasnt much impressed. YMMV.

What you are describing is essentially a bottle conditioned dry cider, in which case, no you dont need to pasteurize. Only add enough sugar to prime the bottles. You only need to pasteurize (or cold crash and keg) if you want a sweet carbonated cider, in which case it will taste better if you stop the fermentation before it completes (so that you still have some residual apple sugar), rather than backsweetening.


In my experience raspberries dont work as well in a dry cider as they do with a little bit of residual sweetnes. YMMV.

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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there's a priming calculator here http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/priming.html
3 - 4 oz is about right depending on how fizzy you want it.

I've never seen cider with that high a natural gravity, it's possible it was a misread. I understand that refractometers can have issues when there are a lot of particles suspended in the liquid, as there usually are in fresh cider.

I wouldn't start worrying about the yeast for another 24 hrs at least, as is often repeated here, yeast can take up to 72 hrs to start.

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:39 PM   #6
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Hello, I'm another newcomer. I wanted to ask about my first batch as well, but I thought this would be better than starting a new thread. I've just gotten into homebrewing, and this is my first attempt at anything. I've looked a few different sites and guides on making cider, but I still had questions. I wish I knew someone who lived nearby to show everything to me, but I don't, so I'm just doing everything I can, and hoping my first batch doesn't suck.

I mostly used the directions on this page as a basis.
http://www.savvyhousekeeping.com/?p=680

I'll try to provide as much information as I can about what I changed. I don't have a cider press, so I had to use store bought juice. It's Treetop brand, from concentrate, with no preservatives or additives. I got it off of the shelf, though after I bought it I noticed some of the bottles actually said apple cider and some of them said apple juice. I tried to look up the difference, but couldn't find anything conclusive. I noticed that had the same makeup, and the same nutritional information, so I put them in together, 5 gallons total. I added in 1/2 pound of light brown cane sugar. I made sure to clean everything out ahead of time with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and then rinsed the whole thing out with tap water after reading that tap water wouldn't hurt anything. I also tossed in 5 campden tablets, mashed together into the fermenter (which was a food grade 6 gallon bucket that comes with the starter kits).

For the yeast, I used Lalvin EC-1118. I followed the instructions on the back of the packet, and mixed the yeast with about 2 oz. of warm water to start it up, leaving it alone for about 30 minutes, and then mixing it again before adding it to the fermenter. It stuck a little bit, so I added some more water in in order to rinse out what I couldn't get with a spoon. I'm not sure if that was a good choice or not, so any word on that part would be appreciated. I sealed the fermenter up, and put the air lock on top of it. Afterwards, I stored it in my hallway closet, and the temperature has slid back and forth a little between about 70-74 degrees fair. The directions said to let it ferment for 3 weeks, but I used a different yeast, so I wanted to know how much that would change things. The directions also said to keep it between 68-70, but mine's a little warmer than that. I think the temperature should be ok because I'm using a different yeast that said it was ok at up to 95 degrees or so, and I'm still curious about how long to leave it fermenting, and when to put it into the secondary fermenter. Should it spend 3 weeks in each? Longer? Shorter?

I also wanted to carbonate it, and instead of beer bottles, I bought some wine bottles for storage space. Lastly, what kind of alcohol content am I probably looking at? I have a hydrometer, but I didn't know when to use it. I heard 5-7% is about normal, but I was wondering if it would be higher because I'm using wine yeast.

Sorry for all of the questions, but I'm both excited and worried about everything. I really want this to come out well, and I'd like to make more elaborate ciders later. Any help or reassurance would certainly be appreciated, and if you need any more information, please feel free to ask. Thank you in advance.

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Old 10-05-2010, 11:15 PM   #7
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First off everyone, thank you for your replies and thank you for the thread hijack! :P

I pitched about 24 hours ago.
If I add non-fermenting sugar wont that change the dryness of the cider?

I thought it was a misread too. I took a reading again, and then made sure it was calibrated. Well there is one thing I do know, if the fermentation starts there will be SOME alcohol in it :P.

So if I wanted to stop the fermentation without waiting it out I would pasteurize it, in the bottle which kills the yeast. Does that leave any carbonation? How long to wait after bottle? Im assuming the bottles should be checked daily to ensure they dont BB.

Again thank you for your help!

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Old 10-06-2010, 01:17 AM   #8
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Yes, you can add non fermenting sugar and it will be drinkable, but it wont taste as good as the natural apple sugar, especially since you got fresh juice.

If you want to have a natural bottle conditioned cider, bottle pasteurization is the most reliable method. Bottle a tad sweeter than what you are going for. Use a plastic bottle to test for carbonation and pasteurize as soon as it becomes firm.

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Old 10-06-2010, 04:28 AM   #9
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What is the plastic bottle method?

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Old 10-06-2010, 04:31 AM   #10
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You bottle as normal into a plastic bottle and as the cider is being carbonated, the plastic bottle will firm/bulge, then you know it's ready to pasteurise. (I would advise not pasteurising the plastic bottle...)

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