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Old 11-20-2009, 01:54 AM   #1
ilovecollege
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Default beginner: how to affix an airlock to a 2 liter soda bottle?

My buddies and I are going to try to brew cider in our dorm room (yes, we are 21. yes, it's allowed, we live off campus and we checked with our building superintendent). We're planning on just using juice from the store, possibly the organic trader joe's kind or possibly just treetop if we can't find that. We then plan to add some honey, cinnamon, etc, and the yeast, and either leave it in the bottles it came in or put it in 2 Liter soda bottles. Our problem is we don't know what kind of airlocks to use and/or how to affix an airlock to a 2 Liter bottle, and what we need to do then. I would post this is the beginner section but there doesn't appear to be a beginner section in the cider thread. And if anyone has any other advice that would be great. I've looked at the recipes and it seems pretty self-explanatory, but if anyone has any other tips a newbie could use they would be much appreciated.

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:08 AM   #2
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you are going to want pasteurized PRESERVATIVE-FREE juice or it iwll kill your yeast, so most juices you find in a grocery store won't be suitable.

To attach to a 2-liter bottle you just buy a rubber stopper than fits in a 2 liter bottle. You should be able to get it at your home brew shop when you buy your yeast, sanitizers, airlock, etc.

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:22 AM   #3
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Youre 21...riiiight

IMO, its not worth the trouble to ferment batches that small. Visit your LHBS (local homebrew store). They will set you up with the proper equipment to brew right. If you are looking for a cheap way to get drunk, this isn't the place.

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:39 AM   #4
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^^ This.

A gallon of cider will give you about 7 or 8 12oz bottles, so you will want to make at least a few gallons at a time.

Your best option might be to find apple cider in glass jugs. I have seen and used "Murray's Cider" that comes in 1 gallon and half gallon glass jugs. Whole Foods also carries apple juice in glass jugs. With these, you can just open it, add your ingredients and yeast, pop the air-lock on it, and throw it in the fridge after a week or so (if you have a hydrometer, you want to stop it around 1.010-1.020 if possible, because it will go totally dry). You can drink it straight from here, but it is best to at least try to transfer it to another container to get it off the yeast. If you get a couple containers going in rotation, you can keep a constant supply of fresh hard cider. You could also scrape together $25 and get a 5 gallon Better Bottle

I really like Nottingham dry yeast, but some people have stopped buying it recently over some quality control issues (I haven't had any issues). I would suggest ale yeast over wine yeast (Nottingham, US-05, US-04, etc.) if you are looking to drink this stuff fresh.

Read around this site, there is a whole lot of great information at your disposal.

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Old 11-20-2009, 03:57 AM   #5
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If you live in Boston, you have no excuse for not using decent juice. Here are some nearby orchards

http://www.allaboutapples.com/orchard/ma03.htm

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Old 11-20-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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ignore the brew-snobs.....brew whatever you want in any amount you want. I do agree with them that you WILL eventually want to start brewing on a larger scale. However having been a poor college student myself not too long ago I understand your want to try a cheap easy method before actually taking the plunge.

I would do as one user said, buy rubber stoppers, take them to a shop and have them drilled through as they are nearly impossible to drill yourself without a proper bench drill and vise.


I have read cases where some people brewed cider by just cracking the cap of some fresh juice enough to let out co2 and they just prayed no contaminants would get in. I would not advize this...spend the $3.00 an airlock and 99cents for the rubber stopper.


GOODLUCK!

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:05 PM   #7
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If you're going to ghettobrew there's no reason to buy any real brewing equipment. People do this all the time, and there are a few options. You can use a balloon and let it trap all of the CO2, you can use saran wrap with a rubberband around the opening, then poke a tiny hole, you can even leave the cap on and purge it every now and then (not recommended).

I would recommend buying a couple of 1 gallon carboys. They’re really cheap and can be used for all kinds of things if you quit homebrewing.

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Old 11-21-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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sorry - I didnt mean to come off as a juice snob. I will say though that I've fermented out a lot of store brands and its never been as good as the fresh stuff. IMHO, the easiest way to do it is just get a gallon jug. The plastic ones take a #6 to #7 stopper (6 1/2 works best). The glass ones are usually a little bigger. That's about as easy as it gets, but I'd say its still worth the bit of extra effort to find good juice, especially if you live in New England, which seems to have had a great apple crop this year.

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Old 11-25-2009, 01:54 AM   #9
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New England had a great apple crop but by November all the juice has been sold or sulfited, at least up in Maine and I suspect Boston's about the same.

I'm also a college brewer doing 1 gallon batches. I recommend going to a bottle redemption center and trying to buy a 4 Liter or 1 Gallon glass bottle. Carlo Rossi is a brand name of wine that sells in the 4 Liter size. If you can buy redemption bottles down there, its an $.18 way to get a gallon carboy. I recently went on a shopping trip with a few friends to get them set up and they spent $8 on a carboy, airlock, bung, sanitizer, yeast, juice, and a jug of acid blend. That's a pretty damned good deal, seeing that the afterwards, you can reuse all of those things for another batch and only have to put in another $3.50 for a gallon of Mott's AJ from Walmart or somewhere. Just saying...

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Old 11-25-2009, 02:00 AM   #10
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I'd also recommend getting some yeast nutrient. A little bit of that in each fermenter will keep down what is commonly referred to as "the rhino farts" that can come from fermenting apple juice. Your dorm-mates will thank you. Or at least not pound on your door in the middle of the night to ask if you have a dead hobo rotting in your room.

If you really want to ferment in 2-liter bottles, I think you could probably just drill out a small hole in the cap and stick the airlock in. Airlock stems are usually tapered so it should work. If not, just pick up a drilled stopper when you pick up the airlock.

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