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Old 11-19-2010, 01:26 AM   #1
reb003
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Default 1st try....ideas, thoughts ?

So.. got the bug to make cider for my dad (who's not getting any younger!) after hearing the stories of my grandfather's barrell in the root cellar of the old farm house. My dad could not remember the recipe but recalls that sugar and raisins definately where added.

So with that bit of info, I headed to the local home brewery supply and after a good bit of discussion and a $90.00 investment I think I am in business..

First Batch: 5 gallons of cider from local farm (pasteurized but no preservatives), 5 lbs cane sugar, 1 lb of raisins, I used D47 yeast packet w/energizer @ 1/2 tsp per gallon. Mixed it up one evening and when I returned home from work, I am getting bubbles out of the air lock every 10 seconds or so.

I've been advised that I should let it work for 2 weeks or so until it stops working and then rack it off to a carboy. From that point I am not sure how to handle.. other than to give it a taste after a few more weeks and see what happens. Does this sound right? I'd hoped to have it for Christmas for my dad. Any ideas or advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-19-2010, 02:12 AM   #2
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So.. got the bug to make cider for my dad (who's not getting any younger!) after hearing the stories of my grandfather's barrell in the root cellar of the old farm house. My dad could not remember the recipe but recalls that sugar and raisins definately where added.

So with that bit of info, I headed to the local home brewery supply and after a good bit of discussion and a $90.00 investment I think I am in business..

First Batch: 5 gallons of cider from local farm (pasteurized but no preservatives), 5 lbs cane sugar, 1 lb of raisins, I used D47 yeast packet w/energizer @ 1/2 tsp per gallon. Mixed it up one evening and when I returned home from work, I am getting bubbles out of the air lock every 10 seconds or so.

I've been advised that I should let it work for 2 weeks or so until it stops working and then rack it off to a carboy. From that point I am not sure how to handle.. other than to give it a taste after a few more weeks and see what happens. Does this sound right? I'd hoped to have it for Christmas for my dad. Any ideas or advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
I've never used that Strain of yeast before, so I'm not sure how aggressive it is. That is a but load of sugar though. I made one with simular sugar levels and it came out around 17% ABV.

I used champagne yeast with mine. Its gonna take a while to mellow out. I've had mine sitting in a carboy to age for 4 or 5 weeks now. Its still pretty "Hot" to drink. I'm told that several months it will mellow out.

I don't know if yours will be that hot or not. Did you happen to measure the Specific Gravity after you added the sugar?
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:20 AM   #3
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I did not measure it, but i told the LHBS guy that I wanted it to have a fairly high alcohol content... so I gather he obliged! I also understand that the raisins aside from adding sugar will add tanins. So we shall see what happens.

Does the 2 week initial sound right before racking? I'm not sure how I am really supposed to make that decision other than by when it stops working.

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Old 11-19-2010, 02:38 AM   #4
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I did not measure it, but i told the LHBS guy that I wanted it to have a fairly high alcohol content... so I gather he obliged! I also understand that the raisins aside from adding sugar will add tanins. So we shall see what happens.

Does the 2 week initial sound right before racking? I'm not sure how I am really supposed to make that decision other than by when it stops working.
Well, from what I gather there are folks on both sides of the fence. Some rack to get it off the dead yeast a week or two after its done. Some wait longer.

I removed mine off the yeast after 2 weeks as I knew it was going to have to age a while. Mine was quite cloudy and wouldn't clear. From my experience, its the champagne yeast that did it to me I think. Anyway, its been 4 or 5 weeks now and its still clearing.

Its possible you'll be able to drink it around Christmas, no way to know till you taste it when its done.

I don't know if you have a hydrometer or not, but they are pretty cheap and you might want to get one. Lack of bubbles in the airlock is not a measure of whether it is done or not. A hydrometer will allow you to take measurements when the ferment appears to be done. If you get the same reading a couple days in a row, it is complete.

You probibly will end up with a dry cider. The yeast will most likely eat up all of the available sugar. Once it is done, and if it is not sweet enough, you can add sugar substitutes that are not fermentable to sweeten, otherwise just adding sugar, it might just take off again and ferment the new sugar.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:39 AM   #5
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I used champagne yeast my first batch, with 4lbs of light brown sugar, 5 gallons of juice, it took 13 days from start to bottle.

I have sweet carbonated highly alcoholic goodness.

One thing I found was that champagne yeast is strong, aggressive, and produced a very very dry cider.

If it is dry, it won't taste like cider.

I added a gallon of cider, pasterized, with preservatives, plus 2 cups of splenda to make mine taste like cider again, lower the alcohol to 8-10% and prime for carbonation.

It workd like a dream, the only issue is that it is so good, that I have been drinking like tha alcoholic that I am, and it's not lasting.

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Old 11-19-2010, 10:25 AM   #6
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Ruckus - ok, the hydrometer will be added to my growing collection of all things for brewing.

Self D - some good ideas there too...

I told the LHBS that I was aiming for a sweet-strong combination and I believe that yeast is a type used for Chardonnay & Rose, so we will see how that goes.

Relative to sweetening, Potassium Sorbate (made from tree bark? all natural) was recommended to stop the fermentation process so I was thinking that if it tasted right, I would add it and be done, or If I missed the mark I could re-sweeten. Any experience with Potassium Sorbate? I thought I read here somewhere that it can produce an off-taste & that is spooking me a bit..

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Old 11-19-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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Ruckus - ok, the hydrometer will be added to my growing collection of all things for brewing.

Self D - some good ideas there too...

I told the LHBS that I was aiming for a sweet-strong combination and I believe that yeast is a type used for Chardonnay & Rose, so we will see how that goes.

Relative to sweetening, Potassium Sorbate (made from tree bark? all natural) was recommended to stop the fermentation process so I was thinking that if it tasted right, I would add it and be done, or If I missed the mark I could re-sweeten. Any experience with Potassium Sorbate? I thought I read here somewhere that it can produce an off-taste & that is spooking me a bit..
Sorbate doesn't really stop a full on ferment. From what I've read, it will only stop the yeast from multiplying. With a full on healthy ferment, the little yeasts will be wearing condoms i guess, but won't stop working.

There are a few other methods you can read about. There are 2 topics here that may be of use to you. There is one called "Cider House Rules" that has allot of good info. Also a sticky post at the top discussing Pasteurization. Pappers did a real good writeup of bottleing and creating Sweet Carbonated cider.

Check those 2 out. They have allot of info regarding this.
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6 Gallons Honey Ale AG

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6 Gallons Brown Sugar Lager

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Old 11-28-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
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Default Follow up after 10 days....

Just got back in town after leaving this batch in the basement for 10 days.
Picked up a hydrometer and it measured at 1.05, it has a light wheat beer look to it, it is still sweet with a hint of alcohol and is slightly bubbly.

Any thoughts as to when to rack it would be appreciated... I am not certain whether I should wait until the hydrometer readings stabilize or shoot for a certain hydrometer reading.

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Old 11-29-2010, 03:15 AM   #9
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Well, I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but if you like how it tastes now, then rack and/or bottle (probably need to pastuerize to prevent bottle-bombs). OR let it go a little longer.

One thing I've learned by reading this forum is that there are no hard and fast rules. Do what tastes good.

Wildbill

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Old 12-01-2010, 12:00 AM   #10
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Default hydrometer reading

There are alot of opinions, from what I have been reading AT 1.05 it probably hasn't done much of anything except get started.

I am probably going to let it go for a while and just keep tasting and see what happens and take measurements until they stabilize. The problem for me is I dont know what to expect at different readings relative to taste so I don"t know when to stop!

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