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Old 05-10-2012, 03:17 PM   #1
S3NTYN3L
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Default Brewing virgin with some questions on my cider

Before I begin, yes, I've searched.
There's so much info on this site it's very difficult for me to sort it all out.
It's really mind-numbing how much great info is here!!!


I bought a kit from my local homebrew supply, yada, yada, yada...

I sterilized everything and made my starter with a Lalvin 1116 (IIRC) according to instructions.
5gal of AJ and 5lbs of orange blossom honey (mixed over heat and allowed to cool) later I'm in business!
SG before tossing in the yeast was at 1.085ish for a target ABV of about 10-11%.

I'm now on day one and things are bubbling away nicely. ;P


Well, onto the newbie questions...

1) How long should I wait until I rack into secondary?
Wait until bubbling slows and SG is down to around 1.01 or, is there a specific number of days/weeks I should be waiting?

2) Once in secondary, I'm thinking about adding a few vanilla beans for some flavor. Yay or nay?
Any recommendations on additional ingredients?

3) I'm wanting my cider/cyser/mead/whatever to have little/no carbonation.
Would I do well to flash boil the lot prior to back sweetening to taste and bottling?


What I'm ultimately looking for is a still drink with little bitterness that will go down very smooth.
I'm looking for something that will tend to sneak up on you if you're not careful, ya know?


So umm, did I do OK popping my cherry?

Thanks in advance for the info!

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #2
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You've done great from what I can tell. The vanilla will be a nice addition. Adding a few oak cubes adds a nice balance to cider. Just a few ounces in secondary. If you want still, just wait it out. No flash boiling needed. With that much honey you may be waiting a while. Congrats and welcome to the club!!!

Most importantly, always use your hydrometer for reliable reference point to when its done.

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Old 05-10-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
NiteBeest
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Recipe looks good. The 1116 will probably take it dry (under 1.000), but you can always back sweeten to taste.

Quote:
1) How long should I wait until I rack into secondary?
Wait until bubbling slows and SG is down to around 1.01 or, is there a specific number of days/weeks I should be waiting?
It'll probably take a week or two to finish fermenting. Looking at bubbles in the airlock isn't exactly the best way to tell if something is done fermenting or not. Once activity seems to have slowed down, check the SG of your must. When you get the same reading a few times in a row (spaced out over a few days), then it's done.

Quote:
2) Once in secondary, I'm thinking about adding a few vanilla beans for some flavor. Yay or nay?
Any recommendations on additional ingredients?
Vanilla beans would be good. Just get a couple beans, split them down the middle, and drop them in. It is a little easier to get out if you attach them to something. That way you can pull them out when you get the level of vanilla you want.
Oak could be good in secondary. If you want to add any fruit or spices you can do that in secondary too. It's really just up to you and your taste.

Quote:
3) I'm wanting my cider/cyser/mead/whatever to have little/no carbonation.
Would I do well to flash boil the lot prior to back sweetening to taste and bottling?
First off... it's a cyser. Secondly, don't boil your finished product. You can either go the route where you keep racking it every 2-3 months for a year at which point it will be nicely aged and there shouldn't be any yeast left over. Or you could stop the fermentation with sorbate. Another option would be to pasteurize in hot water after you bottle. Read this thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/). Should help you with that.

Quote:
What I'm ultimately looking for is a still drink with little bitterness that will go down very smooth.
I'm looking for something that will tend to sneak up on you if you're not careful, ya know?
As long as your don't bottle carb it'll be still. Give it some time to age (I'd say 6 months minimum) and it'll be nice and smooth. Just back sweeten to your liking and go from there.

Overall, everything looks good. Good job! Let us know how it's coming along.
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Primary:
5 gal EdWort's Apfelwein

Secondary:
4 gal Strawberry Vanilla Melomel
1 gal Cyser

Bottled:
Vanilla Cider Wine, Spiced Cider Wine, Cider Wine, Summer Berry Cider, Caramel Double Apple Cider, Caramel Double Apple Cider (oaked), Skeeter Pee, Brandon O's Graff, MAOM, EdWort's Apfelwein
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
S3NTYN3L
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Thanks for the feedback guys!

I'm thinking about chopping some store bought apples, maybe 2lbs, and dumping them into the secondary along with some vanilla beans and a stick or two of cinnamon.

I'm also planning on going back to the store this weekend to get myself another primary and secondary to start a thick honey mead... yumm!

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Old 05-11-2012, 03:45 PM   #5
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Ahh, honey in apple juice. That thar is a cyser, unless I am mistaken. And a bloody good one I will bet.

Go with the vanilla beans, that sounds like it will be a very good addion. Personally speaking, I would leave it as it is with the vanilla, but the great thing about fermenting is - your imagination is the limit.

Dicky

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Old 05-11-2012, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S3NTYN3L View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys!

I'm thinking about chopping some store bought apples, maybe 2lbs, and dumping them into the secondary along with some vanilla beans and a stick or two of cinnamon.

I'm also planning on going back to the store this weekend to get myself another primary and secondary to start a thick honey mead... yumm!
I would recommend not getting to aggressive with additives in your initial batch. If you start with a basic recipe...get a taste for what it's like then you can determine where you want to go from there. It is easy to overdo the spices.

REMEMBER THIS.....if you want a still cider and you choose to backsweeten...
you must either stabilize with sorbate and sulphite prior to sweetening......or......immediately pasteurize. The other option to this is to use an ABV yeast calculator and choose a yeast that will reach tolerance level slightly before fermentable sugars are used up. You still need to verify with hydrometer that fermentation has ceased.
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
S3NTYN3L
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@roadymi:

Umm, ok, so rack into secondary, add vanilla beans and wait until like August or something to kill yeast with sorbate, let it bulk age (is that the right term?) until like November and then bottle?

The least I used is/was, in fact, ICV-D47.
I had asked for the 1116 but, in my excitement, I didn't notice that he grabbed the wrong one.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise since it can only survive 14%ABV as opposed to the 18%ABV of the 1116?

So yeah, everything I've been reading online and hearing from a co-worker of mine (who's brewed a lot of beer in the past and will be starting up again since my interest has renewed his) are all proving to be contradictory.


I'm thinking I'm almost going to be forced to backsweeten with apples since I'm wanting to mask the bitterness with a sweet appley goodness, yeah?

Man, I'm starting to get confused with the flood of information, lol.

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Old 05-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
roadymi
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Your pretty much correct in your understanding. One litle correction. When you stabilize you want to use SORBATE and SULPHITE! Also you are not killing the yeast you are rendering them incapable of reproducung.

I like to use frozen concentrate apple juice for back sweetening because you add less volumn and still add lots of apple flavor.

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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 05-13-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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Yeah, I said sorbate.
Wait, you are saying that I'm to use BOTH?

OK, I'll forgo the actual apples and go with the concentrate instead.

Thanks for helping this lowly newb!



EDIT:
Oh, my co-worker gave me a primary bucket, a 5gal carboy, some tape thermometers, an airlock, bottles and caps, and some other goodies as payment for some computer work I did for him!

I'm going to wait a few weeks and maybe start a simple, but thick, honey mead!

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Old 05-13-2012, 06:24 PM   #10
roadymi
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YUP u def wanna use both. No such thing as a "lowly" noob! We all started sometime. I was right there with you about 80 gallons ago, and I'm still a noob compared to most around here.

I think concentrate best choice, I think you would have to use a lot of apples to add much flavor.

Good score on the extra equipment. When you make your mead make sure you aerate really well and use the staggered nutrient technique for best results. The longer you can stand to age it the better it will get.

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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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