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Old 03-06-2010, 07:29 PM   #1
msmylie
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Default 5 gallon hard cider

This is my first attempt at a five gallon batch of hard cider. I made a previous 2.5 gallon batch that turned out really well if a little sweet. For that batch I used an ale yeast. This time around I used champagne liquid yeast. Here is my recipe, if anyone has any comments I'd really like to hear them. Couple of questions, what is the optimal length of primary fermentation? Once racked to the secondary fermenter, how long should it stay in there? Most importantly, I'd like to make this a sparkling cider so what amount of priming sugar should be used for a five gallon batch like this? By the way, the sugar measurements are random since that is what I found in the pantry on brew day.

5 gallons Zeigler's Apple Cider, not from concentrate, pasteurized, 100% juice
Wyeast Pasteur Champagne Yeast #4021, 4.25 fl. oz.
9 oz. light brown sugar
25.75 oz. dark brown sugar
1 lb. 2oz. Wildflower Amber Honey (365 Organic Brand)
27.25 oz. Turbinado Sugar
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. whole cloves
couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbl. pure vanilla extract.

Process: dissolved the sugars and honey in 2 gallons of the cider at about 150 degrees on stovetop then combined with remaining 3 gallons of cider in primary. Pitched yeast when must at 75 degrees. Fermentation began in earnest 24 hours later. Seeing 1 bubble every three seconds in airlock and about .25 inch of foam on top.

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Old 03-07-2010, 06:09 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by msmylie View Post
This is my first attempt at a five gallon batch of hard cider. I made a previous 2.5 gallon batch that turned out really well if a little sweet. For that batch I used an ale yeast. This time around I used champagne liquid yeast. Here is my recipe, if anyone has any comments I'd really like to hear them. Couple of questions, what is the optimal length of primary fermentation? Once racked to the secondary fermenter, how long should it stay in there? Most importantly, I'd like to make this a sparkling cider so what amount of priming sugar should be used for a five gallon batch like this? By the way, the sugar measurements are random since that is what I found in the pantry on brew day.

5 gallons Zeigler's Apple Cider, not from concentrate, pasteurized, 100% juice
Wyeast Pasteur Champagne Yeast #4021, 4.25 fl. oz.
9 oz. light brown sugar
25.75 oz. dark brown sugar
1 lb. 2oz. Wildflower Amber Honey (365 Organic Brand)
27.25 oz. Turbinado Sugar
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. whole cloves
couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbl. pure vanilla extract.

Process: dissolved the sugars and honey in 2 gallons of the cider at about 150 degrees on stovetop then combined with remaining 3 gallons of cider in primary. Pitched yeast when must at 75 degrees. Fermentation began in earnest 24 hours later. Seeing 1 bubble every three seconds in airlock and about .25 inch of foam on top.
An entire teaspoon of cloves!?! That's something like 30 cloves! I hope you put those whole cloves into some sort of "teabag" for easy removal, if not, I seriously doubt you'll be able to taste anything but the cloves, though the nutmeg is going to be pretty heavy too. I believe the pumpkin pie spice also has ground cloves in it, along with cinnamon & nutmeg.

Ground spices tend to make a mess, you'll have better luck with whole/cracked spices as those can be removed when the desired flavour is reached; ground spices are there to stay. From the amount of fermentables, I'm thinking this will finish up at about 10% ABV.

You certainly can make this sparkling, just prime with 3/4 cup of dextrose at bottling. Just be sure to bottle in beer bottles or champagne bottles; regular wine bottles cannot withstand the pressure.

Good luck with this. Regards, GF.
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Old 03-07-2010, 01:01 PM   #3
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I think it was more like 5-10 cloves, no more than that...I am worried about the amount of nutmeg in it though. If the spice flavor is too overwhelming when bottling is there any way to reduce it? Thanks for the help. I've also heard that you can carb by just adding apple juice to it...maybe that would help with the spice flavor.

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Old 03-07-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
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I'd be worried about anything more than 2 cloves, those suckers are strong, and don't leave a very happy taste in a dry cider, which you most definitely will have with all that added sugar/honey. Let this thing age at least a year.

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Old 03-08-2010, 03:50 PM   #5
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thats a shame, i hope i didn't ruin this batch. it takes my primary fermenter out of action for quite some time. maybe if i carb with apple juice it will sweeten the batch and take away from the spice flavor. the last time i brewed cider it was 2.5 gallons and i put in about 3-5 cloves and it was really good...but used an ale yeast so there was still quite a bit of residual sugar. prior to bottling i will taste and back sweeten if necessary with a non fermentable...any suggestions?

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Old 03-08-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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thats a shame, i hope i didn't ruin this batch. it takes my primary fermenter out of action for quite some time. maybe if i carb with apple juice it will sweeten the batch and take away from the spice flavor. the last time i brewed cider it was 2.5 gallons and i put in about 3-5 cloves and it was really good...but used an ale yeast so there was still quite a bit of residual sugar. prior to bottling i will taste and back sweeten if necessary with a non fermentable...any suggestions?
Just rack it to a carbouy when it's ready for racking & let it do it's thing, it might take a long time, but it might turn out OK. At the very least this gives you a good reason to get another carbouy.

Even if it doesn't turn out to be something you'd drink from a wine glass, you might use it for mulled wine/hot toddys, or even for cooking. About all you can do with it now is wait & see how it turns out. Like Freezeblade said, give it at least a year. Regards, GF.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:20 AM   #7
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Default update on five gallon batch

Well its been a month and now no activity in the airlock. I am going to rack to secondary and try to clear this cyser with some gelatin. How much should be used in a five gallon batch? Also, I'm thinking of pouring some new juice from concentrate that has been steeped with 20l crystal malt right onto the yeast cake...any thoughts?

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:21 PM   #8
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Well you certainly can use gelatin to clear if you want to, but it should clear on it's own with time. I don't see any reason you couldn't reuse the yeastcake, but remember all those powdered spices you put in there? They're still in there. They may not have much flavour left to impart, or they may still have more to give, I'm just saying it's something to consider. Considering that dry wine yeast is about a buck, I'd just use fresh yeast & not have to guess as to the spices. That's my 2 cents worth. Regards, GF.

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Old 04-08-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Next Update
Ok, so I took gravity reading today and a little taste test. Can still taste the apple which is good since I was afraid the champagne yeast would dry it all out. Definately tastes high in alchohol but since I never took an original gravity I'm not sure where it is at. I started with five gallons of Zeiglers apple cider and added five pounds of fermentable sugars. Gravity today was 1.0007, that is adjusted for a temperature of 66 degrees F. Tastes pretty good....however I can definately taste the clove. It is not overwhelming but I am not a fan of it. Any thoughts on this...what if I add something to the secondary like a fruit and rack on top of it. The cloves would remain in the primary. This is also pretty acidic. I'm thinking of adding some lactose to lessen the bite. Next time I'm thinking of adding some crystal malt for body and residual sweetness. But at the same time I don't mind the current flavor, also it might taste much different when chilled. So main questions:
Should I rack onto raisons or some other fruit, will that give it more body?
Any way to lessen the flavor of clove, by adding something to the secondary?
What to do with the current yeast cake?
Thanks to everyone on their thoughts and advice.

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Old 04-08-2010, 03:05 PM   #10
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looks like most people say Zeiglers juice has an OG of 1.04-1.05, so what would the OG be with a pound of sugar added to it? can beer smith tell you what it is?

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