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Old 11-14-2011, 03:09 AM   #1
hroth521
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Default 2011 Cider notes - Victory from the jaws of Defeat

Well the second annual apple pressing party has come and gone. This time we had about 100 people. I ran one bushel through the grinder and the motor died. Could not be reset or restarted. ( See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/homemade-grinder-press-193453/ and http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/homemade-apple-grinder-188613/ and http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/2010-cider-notes-204921/ for descriptions of the grinder/press and 2010 cider notes). Ran off and bought a 1 hp garbage disposal from Lowe's and it kept overheating and needed 15 minutes to reset. Very frustrating.

One of the guys helping is a carpenter/contractor and suggested shortening the extension cord we were using for the garbage disposal. This made all the difference. Once we did that, it took about 4 hours to grind 16 bushels of apples and press them. I need to work on the press however. I think I'm only getting about 2 gallons/ bushel. Of course, it's hard to know with everybody taking cups and pitchers of cider right off the press. We had a great time. Tons of good food, lots of kids running around, it was great. Many thanks to the legions of apple cutters.

I took about 30 gallons of cider (O.G. 1.055, last year was only 1.043) and sulfited overnight in an HDPE barrel in the garage. My supplier told me he had picked and packed the apples several weeks ago. I don't know if the increased S.G. is from the aging of the apples, or the vaguaries of the growing season this year. This year's mix was Grimes Golden, Golden Russet, Jonathan, and Northern Spy. pH was 3.0 - 3.2. I deliberately under pitched the yeast tonght, only 2 packs Lalvin EC 1118, hydrated and pitched. I want a long slow fermentation. I hope the weather cools and it takes several months to complete fermentation. I may try a case or two with methode champenoise The rest will be some combination of sweet, dry and cherry cider. I'm drinking a dry carbonated cider from last year right now and the mouthfeel and flavors have really developed over the year. Wish I had more left!!

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Old 11-14-2011, 04:08 AM   #2
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Well the second annual apple pressing party has come and gone. This time we had about 100 people. I ran one bushel through the grinder and the motor died. Could not be reset or restarted. ( See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/homemade-grinder-press-193453/ and http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/homemade-apple-grinder-188613/ and http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/2010-cider-notes-204921/ for descriptions of the grinder/press and 2010 cider notes). Ran off and bought a 1 hp garbage disposal from Lowe's and it kept overheating and needed 15 minutes to reset. Very frustrating.
Somewhere, i remember seeing how to modify a garbage disposal so it would be air cooled with an air compressor. it involved installing a hose nipple into the base of the disposal, and connecting an air hose to the compressor and the garbage disposal. I'll see if i can find it again.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:30 AM   #3
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Great story and best of luck on a great cider coming out from this. It sounded like a blast.

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Old 11-14-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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hroth521,

Before trying to remove yeast with the "methode champenoise" you might try keeving a batch.

I'll be buying ten gallons of fresh, unpasturized juice in about two weeks to begin my first go at it. You may already be familiar with the Cider Workshop Google Group :

http://groups.google.com/group/cider-workshop?hl=en

http://www.cider.org.uk/keeving.html

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/pme-pectin-methyl-esterase-available-keeving-french-style-cider-275380/

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Old 11-18-2011, 10:21 PM   #5
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Checked the S.G. today, 5 days into fermentation, it's 1.054, very slight foam layer on top of the cider. Color has changed from dark brown to bright yellow. Temperature in the garage is 42 deg F. I'm very excited. This is exactly what I hoped for. I did top off the barrel with 3 gallons of Whole Foods organic juice because there seemed to be a lot of head space.

The taste is still (obviously) very sweet but there is a very slight tang at the edge of my tongue consistent with very early fermentation. No off flavors. There is no activity in the bubble chamber but I'm not so sure the barrel is airtight. Will probably check S.G. every couple of weeks. Plan to rack into carboys once complete - hopefully in the spring.

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Old 11-19-2011, 12:50 PM   #6
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The cider workshop Google Group is a HUGE source of very very useful information. Also, I receive the Cider Digest out of Colorado: Talisman Farm cider info which is also very useful. I think I'll go another couple of seasons before trying to "keeve". I've had good luck fermenting to dry, back-sweetening, then stovetop pasteurizing per papper's post. I don't know that I can get nutrient deficient apples, and this is my first time trying to ferment cold... we'll see.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:52 PM   #7
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Somewhere, i remember seeing how to modify a garbage disposal so it would be air cooled with an air compressor. it involved installing a hose nipple into the base of the disposal, and connecting an air hose to the compressor and the garbage disposal. I'll see if i can find it again.
=

I was worried we would have to take the housing off and try something but just shortening the cord made an amazing difference. Physics 101: V = I/R. The longer distance made more resistance, so the voltage seen by the motor dropped. This caused it to draw more current and heated the motor up so it had to reset. Once we shortened the cord, no problems.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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Great story and best of luck on a great cider coming out from this. It sounded like a blast.
Thanks for the good wishes. This is a giant party that goes all day. It's also like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Out in the country on a farm, kids everywhere, some adults helping, others watching the kids, others just drinking last year's cider and hanging out and eating the food that everybody brought. Everyone wanders over to the press and grabs a cup of cider every now and then. Until last year some of these people had never tasted cider that wasn't made from concentrate. These are the really good people I work with and the kids were so looking forward to this after last year. We lucked out on the weather too.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:32 PM   #9
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Checked the S.G. today, 5 days into fermentation, it's 1.054, very slight foam layer on top of the cider. Color has changed from dark brown to bright yellow. Temperature in the garage is 42 deg ...
There is no activity in the bubble chamber but I'm not so sure the barrel is airtight. Will probably check S.G. every couple of weeks. Plan to rack into carboys once complete - hopefully in the spring.
First bubbles @ 10 days. Temp up to 58 F but cold spell coming. Will check SG when bubbles stop. Kids took most of the last of last year's cider back to school. It's so good now I can't blame them. Need to brew something so I don't touch the cider til next year.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:19 AM   #10
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Default 3 weeks post pressing

Cider with mild "rhino fart" sulfur smells. No activity in the fermentation lock. Opened the barrel to find "krausen" debris along the sides at the top. Must have settled to the bottom because none was visible on the cider. Cider is pale yellow now, starting to clear although still quite cloudy. Taste is clean, no sulfur, slight apple, tart. There is some tannin evident. I think this will be very good but I'm a glass half full kind of guy anyway. I topped it off with another gallon of organic juice. Total head space in the 30 gallon barrel is now only an inch or so. S.G. was 1.004 temp corrected (50 deg F) to 1.0034. I'm hoping the fresh juice I added will create a nice layer of CO2 for the winter. Temp is supposed to drop tonight into the 30's. Plan to leave it alone until February. If it's not frozen, I might try to recheck SG and taste then. Ideally, I'd like to hold off bottling until spring and bottle condition until the fall. Still thinking about 5 gallons method champenoise. We'll see.

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