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Old 10-15-2011, 07:47 PM   #1
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Default 2nd Attempt, 1 problem...

I tried making 5 gallons of hard cider last year. it was definitely potent, but it tasted like hell, so here's what I have going this year:

-6 gallons local cider (pasteurized, no preservatives)
- 3 lbs. brown sugar
- 1.5 lbs. local honey
- 1 packet Yeast (Red Star Premier Cuvee)

OG: 1.080
FG: don't know yet

I just started it on 10-11-2011 This yeast didn't take any additional effort to get it going. I poured the honey, brown sugar, and 3/4 gallon of cider into a pot and let it simmer to dissolve the sugar and honey. In the meantime, I let the remaining gallons of cider get close to room temp. I poured the sugar/honey/cider mixture into my fermentation bucket, then poured all of the remaining cider into it. I sealed the lid, added my airlock, and in less than 2 hours, the airlock was already bubbling!
I'm going to rack it out a week or so after I started and check the gravity of it. I have a feeling this one's going to pack a punch like last years, but here's hoping it tastes better!

I do have a potentially serious problem: I didn't start my cider in a carboy; I am using a fermentation bucket with a spigot towards the bottom of the bucket (for easy bottling I'm assuming had I used this for my secondary container) and the top has a small diameter hole big enough for a rubber stopper for my airlock. My problem is, the hole in my lid is too small for my racking cane to slide into it.

I was thinking I could re-sanitize the outside of the lid, a knife/razorblade, and an appropriate sized rubber grommet. I would use a marker to trace out my hole, then quickly cut the hole I want. I would leave the rubber stopper and airlock in it so I don't lose the plastic piece in my cider. Then I'd install the rubber grommet, hopefully without dropping it into the bucket (ill have a few backups handy), then re-insert the airlock/rubber stopper. If I do this fast enough, should I be concerned about air making contact with my cider? I would much rather use my racking cane than the existing spigot on the bucket so I don't dispense the lee into my secondary fermenter.

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Old 10-15-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
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I'm yet to make a cider, but I would have thought it would make little difference just taking the lid off, as long as you don't leave it sitting there for ages? If you cut a hole its just going to pull air in as it siphons out anyway.

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:40 PM   #3
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I'm yet to make a cider, but I would have thought it would make little difference just taking the lid off, as long as you don't leave it sitting there for ages? If you cut a hole its just going to pull air in as it siphons out anyway.
True, but it wouldn't be as much as taking off the entire lid. I think the way I want to do it limits the air exposure.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:51 PM   #4
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you're thinking too much. have a drink, open the bucket, siphon off the cider, stop fretting. get drunk. it will be fine

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Old 10-16-2011, 01:36 PM   #5
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you're thinking too much. have a drink, open the bucket, siphon off the cider, stop fretting. get drunk. it will be fine

Yeah? I think I can do that!
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:39 PM   #6
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dont try to cut a perfect hole with a razor knife ive tried itll look like crapo.

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Old 10-16-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
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dont try to cut a perfect hole with a razor knife ive tried itll look like crapo.
Well, if it isn't going to be an issue removing the lid completely when I rack it out then I won't even bother cutting a larger hole. I just know not to use this bucket for my primary next time. I ordered a few supplies (that my LHBS doesn't sell yet) from Bells Brewery General Store in Kalamazoo, MI that I should be getting by late next week. Then I'll go buy me a 6.5 gallon glass carboy from my local shop to use for my primary from now on. If I like how my current cider is tasting, I'll go ahead make another round of it. If not, I'll tweak my recipe a little bit and see what happens.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:41 PM   #8
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When I use a 5gal bucket for primary I just lay the lid over it once I get the siphon going, it make it a little less likely junk will fall in. You can also use aluminum foil, this is what I do for my bottling bucket as I don't have a lid for it. But as Dinnerstick said, don't worry so much, it's not a big deal.

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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you're thinking too much. have a drink, open the bucket, siphon off the cider, stop fretting. get drunk. it will be fine
this/\
unless you're planning on racking outside on a windy fall day while your neighbor mulches leaves on his second floor deck and his wife beats out their rugs with a stick, you don't need to worry about much at all.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:36 PM   #10
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thanks for the advice everybody! I'll be racking this week sometime, I'll keep you all updated.

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