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Old 08-21-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
Vox
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So last night I racked my cider to get ready to bottle UpstateMike's caramel apple cider and I once again have come to a dilemma. To brew or not to brew. Any time I have an empty carboy, I feel as if it's a crime to let it sit there empty and with no purpose in life. After I bottle my BlackBerry cider next week, I will have another empty carboy and six cases of recently bottled cider sitting around.
I feel compelled to try yet another new recipe such as Graham's English cider or several others, but I keep having to buy bottles since the stuff has to bottle age. In an apartment and we don't guzzle the stuff fast so kegging isn't in the cards til we get a house next year. My buddy brews beer, drinks it, and has his bottles empty by the time he's ready to bottle his next beer. Does anyone else have this phobia of empty carboys?

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Old 08-21-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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Not so much a phobia, but I felt like you about the waste of an empty carboy, especially given the age time needed in ciders.

However, let me offer some advice from a guy who went the way you suggest (overboard.) I live in a small apartment in NYC and for about a year I have never had an empty carboy, and I have 3 of them. Well, I am now sitting on roughly 55 gallons of different ciders and skeeter pees (hard lemonade), mostly in bottles and I don't do all that much drinking, so I have tons of stuff to get through. Not to mention bottles in my closets, living room, kitchen, ect. You would think I am an alcoholic if you came over!

To make matters worse, I recently tried a few of the cider bottles that have been sitting for more than a year, and while still drinkable, they defiantly don't taste quite as good as they did 6 months ago. Due to the quantity of everything, I won't get around to drinking them all for some time. I think I might have to pour some out.

If I could do it over, I would have taken it slower and enjoyed what I had rather than full steam ahead brewing and now finding bottles of mediocre cider or having to dump full bottles.

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Old 08-22-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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Yeah. I may wait a month or two to start another cider or try beer since that doesn't need aging. Beer extract kits are more expensive than cider though. I may make a couple more one gallon batches of mead or melomel since those can just sit in my one gallon glass jugs for a while not needing to be bottled. Thanks for the warning lol. Luckily, I store whatever I'm bottle conditioning at my parents' house lol.

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Old 08-22-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorWho
Not so much a phobia, but I felt like you about the waste of an empty carboy, especially given the age time needed in ciders.

However, let me offer some advice from a guy who went the way you suggest (overboard.) I live in a small apartment in NYC and for about a year I have never had an empty carboy, and I have 3 of them. Well, I am now sitting on roughly 55 gallons of different ciders and skeeter pees (hard lemonade), mostly in bottles and I don't do all that much drinking, so I have tons of stuff to get through. Not to mention bottles in my closets, living room, kitchen, ect. You would think I am an alcoholic if you came over!

To make matters worse, I recently tried a few of the cider bottles that have been sitting for more than a year, and while still drinkable, they defiantly don't taste quite as good as they did 6 months ago. Due to the quantity of everything, I won't get around to drinking them all for some time. I think I might have to pour some out.

If I could do it over, I would have taken it slower and enjoyed what I had rather than full steam ahead brewing and now finding bottles of mediocre cider or having to dump full bottles.
What borough of NYC? I was born and raised in S.I.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:33 AM   #5
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I am in Manhattan, Morningside area. Really love it here and there is a home-brew club that meets at 96th street that I am so glad I found out about- "Dive Bar Homebrew Symposium!"

If you have another place to store your bottles, I say do it up. Especially with the meads/melomels and their time frame.

I was really disappointed to find the off flavors in my older bottles, but maybe it had something to do with my technique as I only started brewing a little over a year.

Good luck to ya!

PS. I just started a 5.5 gal batch of UpstateMike's caramel apple cider tonight. Looks like a great recipe. May not backsweeten quite as much as I like my ciders on the dryer side. Let me know how your's turns out!

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Old 08-22-2012, 12:49 AM   #6
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It is easy to go overboard, however it does take a while to create an adequate pipeline. The normal aging time for mead and ciders is a minimum of 6 months to years. I would like my higher abv ciders to be aged closer to a year. Unfortunately I drink it too fast. I made 35 gallons last fall and it is nearly gone already. I have around 8 carboys and 5 glass gallon jugs and 8 cornies, I don't try to keep them full but I like the flexibility of having multiple carboys of various sizes. I have several full with meads that are going to age for another year or more before bottling. I have gone to making smaller batches to increase the variety in my wine racks.

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I have 8 carboys, 8 cornies, 5-1 gal jugs, 200 wine bottles, 10 cases of beer bottles and a nice assortment of flip tops....My goal is to keep them at least 50% occupied
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorWho
I am in Manhattan, Morningside area. Really love it here and there is a home-brew club that meets at 96th street that I am so glad I found out about- "Dive Bar Homebrew Symposium!"

If you have another place to store your bottles, I say do it up. Especially with the meads/melomels and their time frame.

I was really disappointed to find the off flavors in my older bottles, but maybe it had something to do with my technique as I only started brewing a little over a year.

Good luck to ya!

PS. I just started a 5.5 gal batch of UpstateMike's caramel apple cider tonight. Looks like a great recipe. May not backsweeten quite as much as I like my ciders on the dryer side. Let me know how your's turns out!
Nice. I will keep you updated on the caramel apple cider. Debating on making Graham's English cider or maybe a cyser or something that can sit in the carboy for a few months til my bottles come available. Really looking for a Crispin or Angry Orchard clone.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:07 AM   #8
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I still think of myself as I newbie brewer so having an empty carboy really hurts as I have no "science" experiment brewing. I started my first cider just out of spite since I just moved, haven't explored the lhbs' in the area, $2.66 for a 2 qt. of mott's natural and the ease of making cider. This first batch I didn't use anything other than mott's natural cider, brown sugar and S-05. I'm more looking to see how things work out just so I can brew something so I didn't care to use pectin enzyme and plan on apple juice concentrate to bottle carb. I never tasted a cider before trying this so after having a Strongbow I really hope this comes out similar, but of course more hazy. Can't really beat making a 4 gal batch for under $20.

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Old 08-22-2012, 04:12 AM   #9
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I have a bigger phobia of an empty keg. I've got a cider in the secondary, and half a keg of cider in the fridge right now. I'm about to start a hard lemonade recipe (skeeter pee) that I'll back-sweeten and keg. It's supposed to taste great with no aging.

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Old 08-22-2012, 11:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vox View Post
So last night I racked my cider to get ready to bottle UpstateMike's caramel apple cider and I once again have come to a dilemma. To brew or not to brew. Any time I have an empty carboy, I feel as if it's a crime to let it sit there empty and with no purpose in life. After I bottle my BlackBerry cider next week, I will have another empty carboy and six cases of recently bottled cider sitting around.
I feel compelled to try yet another new recipe such as Graham's English cider or several others, but I keep having to buy bottles since the stuff has to bottle age. In an apartment and we don't guzzle the stuff fast so kegging isn't in the cards til we get a house next year. My buddy brews beer, drinks it, and has his bottles empty by the time he's ready to bottle his next beer. Does anyone else have this phobia of empty carboys?
BREW IT!
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