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Old 09-30-2012, 06:01 AM   #1
mminniefield
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Default 40 gallons for a 2nd-timer YIKES!

I am a long time home brewer. I have made a cider before, but I am about to embark on something that may be totally out of my league, and I really could just use some advice.

Here is the situation... Tomorrow afternoon a friend from a local co-op will be delivering 40 gallons of fresh pressed cider to be fermented. My finite knowledge of cider making is giving me cold feet after reading the cider threads on this forum for the past few hours.
My last 5 gallon batch (a few years ago) turned out fantastic. Champagne yeast from starter, some cherries, a bit of bittering hops and 5 lbs of brown sugar. Primary for about 2 weeks then force-carbed. simple, dry, delicious.

I wanted to do a similar recipe but I will have to bottle some and keg the rest.

*Worried about stopping fermentation when bottling (new to me as I'm a brewer)! I want to avoid chemicals where possible so can I ship the campden and pasteurize the bottles?

*Worried about getting started... Must I add campden tabs or can i just use my big a$$ brew kettles to pasteurize the cider then chill as I would my wort before pitching?

*Worried about fermentation times... I hear so much debate on aging vs. quick turn around. I always thought ciders were quick!

*Worried about spoilage... How long do I have to start the fermentation on my fresh cider. Will it spoil if I just leave fresh cider sitting in 5 gallon water jugs for a few days? Should I leave it uncovered? Should I use cheese cloth to cover it? I really can't afford to ruin 40 gallons of someone else's cider!

As I write this Papazian's words of wisdom are ringing through my head... Relax don't worry, have a homebrew!

Is there a definitive guide to cider making somewhere? I have scoured the interweb all night to no avail. Any guidance is helpful and appreciated!

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mminniefield View Post
*Worried about stopping fermentation when bottling (new to me as I'm a brewer)! I want to avoid chemicals where possible so can I ship the campden and pasteurize the bottles?

*Worried about getting started... Must I add campden tabs or can i just use my big a$$ brew kettles to pasteurize the cider then chill as I would my wort before pitching?

*Worried about fermentation times... I hear so much debate on aging vs. quick turn around. I always thought ciders were quick!

*Worried about spoilage... How long do I have to start the fermentation on my fresh cider. Will it spoil if I just leave fresh cider sitting in 5 gallon water jugs for a few days? Should I leave it uncovered? Should I use cheese cloth to cover it? I really can't afford to ruin 40 gallons of someone else's cider!

As I write this Papazian's words of wisdom are ringing through my head... Relax don't worry, have a homebrew!

Is there a definitive guide to cider making somewhere? I have scoured the interweb all night to no avail. Any guidance is helpful and appreciated!
1 - Campden won't stop fermentation anyway, so yes, pasteurize. Read the pasteurization sticky if you haven't already.

2 - Both work, but adding tabs is gonna be a much less work and gives you the added benefit of protecting the cider from oxidation.

3 - Don't worry about fermentation times, some are quick and some long. Both are fine.

4 - Start fermentation asap, until then leave it covered. Juice won't spoil, but it will start fermenting without you due to wild yeast which may lead to off flavors.

For a pretty good online guide check out http://makinghardcider.com/index.html
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! makinghardcider.com was a fantastic read. It really put my mind at ease about all of this cider business! Now I have to decide on how to ferment all of this. I am going to puck up 2 55gallon plastic barrels today to use as fermenters. I know a lot of folks would shreak at the Idea, but I just don't have enough glass...

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Old 10-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #4
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Just remember to move them to their permanent location before you fill!

Learned that the hard way one day when not really thinking things through

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:11 AM   #5
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Plastic food grade drums work fine. I use 15 gal plastic drums. Only bad part is cleaning them. I am on the lookout for some with removeable tops.

On that large of volume I would ferment a pretty basic recipe then when you transfer to secondaries you can add your adjunct flavorings.

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Old 10-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the help. It has been almost two weeks now and the cider is working fine... I think... I did a 5 gallon batch and fermented in glass and fermentation went as expected. I put about 30 gallons in a 40 gallon food grade plastic container with a screw down lid and a retro-fitted airlock. I have not noticed any bubbles in the airlock and I am afraid I either under-pitched the yeast or their is maybe just too much head space or not a tight enough seal. I hope it works, Ill keep you posted.

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