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Old 02-23-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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i done a quick cider the other day now i will do something that takes longer but tastes better hopefully, im aiming for something in the middle of the dryness and i have a couple of questions, what sort of flavour does honey leave?, how many apples for 20 litres? should i use brown sugar? should i boil the juice 1st because i have no campden tablets? thank you

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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also i heard some one say if you dont fill your fermenter to the top you will get viniger... is this true? if so what about secondary???

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Old 02-25-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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There are a lot of factors like how good your press is, the apple type, if you press right away vs letting it sit, etc. I find that 90lbs (about 40.8 kilos) will get you between 19-23 liters. If you boil the juice you will lose some volume to water vapor.

I would boil the cider if you have no campden, but there are people who don't use campden and don't boil. Keep in mind that yeast can produce sulphur which prevents bacterial infection, and as the alcohol content increases this will also inhibit bacteria.

I'm not sure how to answer the honey question, and the brown sugar question is one of those personal choice ones. You could try and get some dry mead and that will let you know how honey tastes fermented...

You don't have to fill your fermenter completely. Exposure to O2 can cause cider to turn to vinegar, but CO2 is heavier than O2 and as the yeast produces CO2 it will form a blanket over the cider. As the volume of CO2 rises it will push the O2 out of the airlock. In general, yes, it is best to have the fermenter as full as possible while leaving some head space for foam. If you have a vigerous fermentation you shouldn't have to worry about vinegar.

When you move it to a secondary, do so as soon as the fermentation stops. If using a carboy as a secondary fill it up to the neck. The neck allows for less surface area to be exposed to O2. Also, there will most likely still be some CO2 produced from yeast. If you can't fill to the neck, there are all sorts of tricks people do. You can flood the carboy with CO2 then fill it from your primary, you can boil glass marbles and fill the carboy with them which will make up for lost space, then pour the cider on top...etc.

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Old 02-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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Use at least twice as many apples (in kilos) as you want juice (in litres).

I wouldn't boil unless you want a cooked apple flavour. You can heat pasteurise (ie heat to around 75 degrees celsius for a period of time) - this can apparently change the flavour too but it's less dramatic than boiling. Personally I do neither sulphite/campden nor use heat.

If you are using all apple, you probably don't need any extra sugar at all unless you want a high abv dry cider.

No idea about honey in a cider but honey is highly fermentable so it will act a bit like sugar in that regard (dryness etc).

Sweetness/dryness balance will depend a lot on many things including your yeast and whether you are bottling or kegging.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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I'm a purest, so I vote no sugar or honey, but that's my personal preference. You do what you think is best. As pointed out, it does raise the alcohol content, which changes the flavor.

The other two posters did a good job addressing everything.

I might add something about the vinegar topic. Vinegar is what happens if you aren't working with a clean environment because it is bacteria caused. The headspace issue, as Teromous said, can be a factor/non factor with oxygen and CO2, but it is not the cause. It's kind of like a candle that won't burn in a vacuum, but a candle just doesn't start burning spontaneously even if there is air.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:57 PM   #6
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Vinegar comes from acetobacter and typically shows up after primary fermentation is complete AND the fermented product is exposed to oxygen...not always, but most of the time... Good sanitation processes eliminate this possibility.

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Old 03-04-2010, 05:44 AM   #7
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I made a 5 gallon batch a few months back that was really good and super dry. But at the end it did start to have a bit of a vinegar aftertaste. Not horrible, but enough to make you say: "Does this taste like vinegar?". But I was storing it at room temp and pouring it straight out of the jug into a pitcher to serve. Do that a few times and there's plenty of opportunity for the regular bacteria in the air to get in. Also I didn't boil at the beggining because I read somewhere that it messes up the flavor.

As soon as I transfer this lager to secondary I'm going to use my fermenter to do another batch of cider. Mmmm, cider.

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Old 03-04-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
But at the end it did start to have a bit of a vinegar aftertaste. Not horrible, but enough to make you say: "Does this taste like vinegar?".... Also I didn't boil at the beggining because I read somewhere that it messes up the flavor.
Most people, including myself, don't boil at the beginning because it messes with flavor, and most people do not end up with vinegar. Don't beat yourself up thinking it needed to be boiled at the beginning.
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teromous View Post

I would boil the cider if you have no campden, but there are people who don't use campden and don't boil. Keep in mind that yeast can produce sulphur which prevents bacterial infection, and as the alcohol content increases this will also inhibit bacteria.
I wouldn't. If you must heat it, I would just hold it at as low a pasteurization temperature as possible for at least half an hour with a lid on. Might make it cloudy though. Or you could just take a risk and go for a spontaneous ferment...

In traditional cider making, wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria are actually desired, a succession of yeasts goes at the sugar in the juice until it's eaten up, then a malolactic (bacterial) fermentation happens at the end, which smoothes out the acidity. I've had unsulphited, unpasteurized cider made with freshly pressed juice that was far from gross. I don't imagine it would keep for super long, though.
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:32 PM   #10
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vinegar comes from acetobacter. It always happens after primary fermentation because the acetobacter eats alcohol and pees out acetic acid (vinegar). The other major component to vinegar production is oxygen. If the cider is not exposed to oxygen, then acetobacter cant reproduce.

If you are going to reuse that container, sanitize the hell out of it. Acetobacter is a tough little one. I would clean very well, sanitize with your favorite solution, and then heat to 160 to ensure it is knocked out.

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