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Old 09-22-2009, 01:17 AM   #1
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Default Beer brewer going to cider

Hello everyone,

I'm getting ready to harvest apples from my front yard, and I'd like to make the simplest, least chemically treated hard cider.

Should I go the boil route to sanitize, or the no-boil route?

I'm committed to yeast (I love those little guys), and don't want a really wine-y tasting cider. Any suggestions?

Any other things I need to know coming from beer?

I'm hoping to do a 5 Gallon batch. Any cider beyond that will likely get consumed raw.

Thanks!

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Old 09-22-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
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Don't boil! You'll set the pectins (think apple jelly!). You can use some campden tablets to sanitize the must, and then just wait 24 hours and then add the yeast. I like to add pectic enzyme to my ciders and fruit wines, to help them clear and "break up" the fruit cell walls.

Hard cider ferments dry, and does taste a bit wine-like. You can sweeten it to taste after fermenting, by stabilizing first, and then sweetening with some cider, honey, or sugar. Some people like to carbonate their cider.

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Old 09-22-2009, 01:58 AM   #3
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Got it. Thanks for the help!

Any suggestions on yeast strains? I'll be restricted to what my LHBS carries more or less...

As I'd like a slightly sweeter cider (and after reading the sticky *duh*) I'm thinking of using S-04. Have used it before with ales, and I like it, and I know my LHBS carries it.

Will also probably add evaporated cane sugar to get it up to 1.060 (as the sticky recommends).

Cheers!

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Old 09-22-2009, 02:44 AM   #4
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Sticking with an ale yeast will help avoid a wine-y tasting cider. Since you're coming from a beer background, you might read through the threads for "Brandon O's Graff" and see if that sounds like something you'd prefer. Graff and apfelwein seem to be the two most popular cider variations around here. Some people prefer one or the other, but I like both--drinking some of my latest batch of Graff tonight, and I have a few bottles of apfelwein in the fridge. Just depends on my mood.

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Old 09-22-2009, 02:54 AM   #5
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Thanks jcobbs

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Old 09-22-2009, 05:15 AM   #6
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If you are pressing these yourself, I'd skip the k-meta. You will get more apple taste and be able to drink it sooner. If you dont use apples that have been on the ground, wash your apples and your press is sanitary, you wont have a problem

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Old 09-22-2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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Even better! I wasn't looking forward to sulfury smells for several days...

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:15 PM   #8
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To be clear, you're stating that I can get away with cleaning all my equipment, pressing, collecting and pitching yeast, no camden tablets, no boiling? That rocks!

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:50 PM   #9
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Yep - I started reducing the use of k-meta last season and it made a big improvement. Much more apple taste and you dont have to wait for it to be drinkable. I've done the last 100 gallons or so with no k-meta and no problems with contamination.

If you want to keep some cider until next year, then you will need to add a little bit when you bottle or keg. The batches I did last year with no k-meta tasted fine through July, but by August they got a little vinegary. The k-meta also protects against oxidation. In that case, only add half the recommended dose, after fermentation, and dont add it to the stuff you plan on drinking in the next 6 months. The taste of the k-meta is less objectionable if you add it at the end of fermentation, but it still tastes better without.

If you have fridge space, cold crashing will enable you to stop the fermentation with some residual sweetness. If not, repeated rackings usually works. I justed added some pics of cold crashing to the sticky.

Since you have your own trees, you might want to try a gallon fermented with just the natural yeast if you get enough juice. I'm partial to the ale yeasts, but a lot of my brewer friends like the natural yeast batches the best. You will almost certainly need to crash it but gallons are easy to crash. Start checking around 1.020. The lowest I've got a natural yeast batch to go and still taste good is 1.014. I've got a batch in the fridge right now that I crashed at 1.010 that I think will come out OK but is definitely on the edge.

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:55 PM   #10
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Almost forgot - make sure your grinder and press are sanitized also. Wash them down with a diluted bleach solution or 1 step before pressing your apples. Wash your apples and dont use any suspect looking ones. The apples are sanitary - its all the other stuff they come in contact with that can mess you up.

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