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Old 10-17-2012, 01:36 PM   #1
Belenus
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Default Cider from Concentrate - First brew

Ok guys, this is my first full batch of cider (or anything), so all comments and critiques are welcome. I also will have a question or 2 at the end. This is also my first post here on Home Brew Talk.

Here's the brew log:
Ingredients...
8 - 96oz bottles of Apple Juice from concentrate (no preservatives)
4 - 12oz cans of frozen Apple Juice concentrate
1 - packet of Lavlin EC-1118

Started yeast 24 hrs before mixing the must. Rehydrated for 15 minutes in 1 cup of warm (100*) water, then added 500ml of apple juice. Put on stir plate and added 500ml at about 1hr, 2hr, and 10hr mark up to a total of 2000ml. Left covered on stirplate for about 24 hrs.

Began mixing Apple juice the next evening. After sanitizing everything, put 1/2 of a bottle in blender and started while I shook the other half to aerate. Put all 8 bottles in the 7.9 ga bucket.
Straight apple juice gravity: 1.048

Added 4 cans of concentrate. Stirred and let settle for 30 min.
OG of Must: 1.062

Syphoned off 96 oz of must into one of the empty bottles and refrigerated to top off secondary, etc. Ptiched the yeast, stirred and closed the lid.

Fermentation temperature is around 75*. Don't have any real options to reduce this temp right now. It is Florida after all, which is also the reason for concentrate...

After 36 hours (this morning) I stirred the must gently and took a hydrometer reading... 1.026. This seems to be going pretty fast. I noticed that the airlock was bubbling slower than last night.

So here are my questions for this esteemed group:

1. Can I expect the fermentation to continue at this pace? I'm concerned about it fermenting out and leaving me with off-flavors or other issues. I plan to back-sweeten the cider to taste and force carbonate, but I don't want to use sulfites if I can avoid it.

2. Considering my plan to keg, force carbonate, and avoid sulfites, any suggestions of how to stabilize since I can't really stove-top pasteurize, or can I? Would there be any way to heat pasteurize without bottling and capping?

3. I'm normally a fairly patient person, but this batch was a last minute thing that I am trying to get together for an event the first weekend in November. Based on the current condition, and the fact that I am force carbonating, can I get to a decent, if rushed, cider in that time?

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Old 10-17-2012, 04:57 PM   #2
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Considering the timeframe, its a challenge, but not out of the question. How did you plan on stablizing the batch? Treating this like a beer will give good results with the backsweetening but I realise you will have little time to remove/kill off the yeast. With out doing that your champagne yeast (ec-1118) will be a flavor killer...

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Old 10-17-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belenus View Post
1. Can I expect the fermentation to continue at this pace? I'm concerned about it fermenting out and leaving me with off-flavors or other issues. I plan to back-sweeten the cider to taste and force carbonate, but I don't want to use sulfites if I can avoid it.

2. Considering my plan to keg, force carbonate, and avoid sulfites, any suggestions of how to stabilize since I can't really stove-top pasteurize, or can I? Would there be any way to heat pasteurize without bottling and capping?

3. I'm normally a fairly patient person, but this batch was a last minute thing that I am trying to get together for an event the first weekend in November. Based on the current condition, and the fact that I am force carbonating, can I get to a decent, if rushed, cider in that time?
#1 when you back sweeten, it will likely kick of fermentation again, so you need to stablize. with an og of 1.062, it is likely your FG will be around .993, maybe as high as .997 or as low as .990 but you should break the 1.000 level. You need to cool (if possible) and get the yeast to drop.

#2 since you don't want sulfites, or presumably sorbate, you need an alternative method. Heating works, but could be more problems than you'd like. BTW, sulfites and sorbate will stop X amount of yeast per unit of preservative. If you have more yeast than preservative for it, you won't stop it all.

Anyhow some thoughts on heating. Most yeast will die before about 120F, and flash pasturization takes place at the low temp of 170 (used for milk), BUT then you have to keep the product cold to keep any survivors from getting going again.
The real problem is that I'm guessing most of the flavors you want are volatile at lower temps ie around say 98.6F thus making them tastable So to keep the volatiles, you need some for of enclosed setup. Canning jars comes to mind. (btw Alcohol boils off at something like 170 also).
Just thinking WAY outside the box here, I'd look to get it finished, or close to finished, put it into 2L soda bottles and then heat pasturize. Why soda bottles? because the plastic can go 3 to 5 times as much preasure as glass, so the heat pasturization will work better. Then after they had cool back from the 10 min heating, siphon out of the soda bottle into the keg for carbing.

#3 so if you can get it to finish in the next couple of days, you should be able to do what I have above with the heat and all.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:28 PM   #4
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Hmm, ok. So still thinking outside the box here... would a pressure cooker work? Trying to fill umpteen 2 liters would be time consuming, but using a pressure cooker would allow me to do a larger volume at once. Any thoughts? Has anyone tried this?

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:26 AM   #5
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let see you need to control for O2 exposure, and for evaporation of desirable compounds (like alcohol and whatever volatile flavors there are) Clearly sanitation (because of the heat) isn't a problem. There might be even without being driven off, breakdowns in the molecules that provide the flavors you want. But if you can heat to a lower temp than 250 or whatever the pressure cooker goes to - again I'm thinking in the 170 range maybe 190, you reduce any damage that might be done by the heat. And if the pressure cooker can hold more than 2L, that would make sense to use it instead of soda bottles.

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Old 10-18-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Heating plastic is never a good idea.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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So what about using a filtration system and using CO2 to force the cider through the filter from one keg to another? Does anyone have any experience using something like this with cider? The site that I'm looking at sells them for beer. Anyone know if it would be detrimental with cider?

I checked the cider last night and it was at 1.026 still. Not sure if I misread the hydrometer or if it stuck/slowed way down. I really wish I had used Nottingham yeast, but I'll try that with my next batch... Caramel Apple cider. Hopefully it will be ready for the Yule season.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #8
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In theory if you have a small enough filter to catch the yeast, you can do that, and filter out the yeast. If I were doing it, I'd be concerned that I'd not gotten all the yeast out. But then I'd also use meta bisulfate and potasium sorbate to do what you are doing. Still back to not using chemicals, you could combine the filter with heat. - Use a loop of tubing after the filter through a very hot pot of water - like a chiller for beer, only you are heating. Food grade silicon should be ok, and at small diameter, it will heat it quick and in the tub it will be contianed and shouldn't loose much in volitales. Also if you sweeten with concentrated juice in your carboy, then the volitale loose should be to bad - most execpt for the alcohol are probably being added back in.

As for the 1.026, and looking over your recipe, I don't see any form of yeast neutrient, you may not have provided anything to grow yeast on (like raisens) and thus might have tapped it out. I don't know.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:25 PM   #9
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Yeah, I was concerned about that as well and added some energizer last night. Not sure if I should add some nutrient or raisins too. I have a bad habit of looking at recipies and trying to extrapolate them into what I have available. Next time is a tried and true recipe ;-) We shall see.

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