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Old 10-24-2011, 07:36 PM   #1
ajbram
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Default Cider... a different approach. And some questions

So I decided to approach cider in a somewhat unorthodox manner. Basically I am trying a batch the same way i would approach all-grain brewing. This was a test batch using apples from my yard and some wild trees in the neighbourhood. The mix is about 1/3 granny smiths, 1/3 macintosh, 1/12 royal gala, 1/12 yellow super tart wild crabapples and 1/6 red crabapples. Not sure of the variety names of the latter two. Instead of juicing I cored, peeled and sliced the apples and then extracted for 80min at 175F (perhaps this exttracts all of the starches and sugars at once, as opposed to gradual release of sugars from juice?). Then I strained the apples out of the must (in this case it was almost like an apple "wort") added 1/2lb of wildflower honey, boiled to mix and sterilize, cooled and started fermenting with EC1118. My brew setup sits in the basement where it is almost perpetually 62-65F.The overall batch is going to be about 2 gal (like I said, test size). Since this is my first cider, I have a couple questions...

1. My primary fermenters are huge things (10 imperial gal.) I intend to rack promptly when fermentation slows to prevent oxidation as much as possible. Will a 3 gal secondary be small enough, or should I be thinking about doing something to cut down on the head space in my secondary?

2. I intend to add a couple pounds of applewood chips to my secondary. Has anyone tried this? Should I keep the wood in for the entire time?

3. I am going to ferment to dry. How much wildflower honey should I add as priming sugar to avoid bombs? Is it worth it to bottle pasteurize? Any tips on this?

Cheers!

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Old 10-24-2011, 08:09 PM   #2
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I havent really delved much into ciders other than store bought apple juice and sugar, so not sure how much help I could be. Big question I have is what kind of original gravity did you come up with? And what is that compared to a 'traditional' cider?

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Old 10-25-2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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Original Gravity was 1.080. That's at the mid-high end of the cider range I believe, but not extremely high. Right now I'm 41 hours into the primary fermentation and it's really active. About a bubble/second through the airlock.

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
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An update on progress... need some advice here. So My cider has been in the primary for roughly 4 days now, with very very active fermentation, and I noticed this morning that my airlock activity has slowed dramatically. The airlock is now under positive pressure but no more bubbling. S.G. is now 1.005 (O.G. was 1.080). My hydrometer sample tasted rather dry, but didn't have the alcoholic taste I thought it would (not that that's a bad thing). This morning I added about 1/2 cup of brown sugar dissolved in water to give the yeasties something to do and keep the fermentation going to prevent oxidation and buy me a day or so to get my secondary ready. I wasn't expecting this to ferment dry so quickly and so I wasn't quite ready to rack as of this morning. Should I be racking this to secondary as soon as it's plowed through the new sugar? It seems like it has been a very very short time in primary. Is EC1118 just that quick?

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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Long story short. Lalvin EC-1118 is a monster.

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:46 PM   #6
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That's the impression I'm getting.

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Old 10-29-2011, 12:06 AM   #7
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if you are under airlock.......no need to be in a hurry. I usually leave my ciders in primary for a month or so.

If you primary in an open bucket that is a different matter.

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Old 10-31-2011, 12:03 PM   #8
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Under an airlock of course. Moved to secondary last night and cider is now resting on about a pound of toasted applewood chips. S.G. is now right on 1.000. No more airlock activity, but still some signs of slow fermentation. It's beginning to clear slowly and is very dry. Strangely my wife seems to think it has a vinegar taste, but I don't taste it. I think she was confusing ethanol with vinegar. It's not hot, but it feels like it might be dangerous. I'll keep you all posted

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Old 10-31-2011, 01:19 PM   #9
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i'm curious as to how you came to the conclusion that cooking it like a beer was the way to go?? seems like making a salad using a cake recipe. not knocking it at all just curious

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Old 11-01-2011, 12:41 PM   #10
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Dinnerstick... I had a pile of apples from some trees in the yard, and no press. So I was basically trying to extract fermentables from apples without a way to smush them. As it was, I got a nice high SG (~1.070) on just the extracted juice. The "apple wort" for lack of a better way to put it, was nice and tart and had a really nice crab-appley tannin character to it. The only thing I'm worried about at this point is pectin haze. I've added pectic enzyme and it's startign to clear up in secondary, so we'll see how it goes. I know it goes against conventional wisdom, so we'll chalk this one up to experimentation. I am a biologist after all. You seem to have the cider thing figured out pretty well, so I'm all ears if you have any suggestions from here on out.

Cheers

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