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Old 12-12-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
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Default Cider Ideas/Help

Hello Home Brew Forum!

This is my first post. I’ve been lurking for a while picking up some good info and ideas and hopefully I’ll get a few more from this post.

So here’s the deal. I’m working on my second batch of hard cider. Took a trip up to Twin Hill Ranch in Sebastopol, CA and picked up 5 gallons of frozen apple juice (it’s a little late for all the super fresh stuff but it is still delicious.) I let the juice thaw, added 3 pounds of honey, and put it in my primary with Campden tablets just in case and let it rest for 36 hours. In the mean time I made a yeast starter with some extra apple juice and WLP775 English Cider Yeast and let it sit over night. This morning I added some Servomyces to the cider, and pitched the yeast. After a good 5 minutes of vigorous mixing/aerating, it now sits in my spare bathroom ready to go! So here’s where you guys can help.

1) As a novice brewer, my main issue has been incomplete fermentation in my beer and last batch of cider. This is why I made a starter and threw in the servomyces. I’m going to keep the ferm temp in the 68-70* range (previous attempts I kept the temps in the low 60’s). OG is 1.075 and I’m hoping to get down to 1.005ish. Is there anything else I can/should do to ensure I can get complete fermentation?
2) I’m hoping to experiment some with this batch as well. I’m going to split the batch into 5 one-gallon batches in secondary and add some fun stuff. I found an organic pomegranate concentrate, and some organic black cherry concentrate, and want to dry hop one gallon with some Cascade or Willamette Hops. Any other suggestions or ideas?

Thanks for your input!

Cheers!

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Old 12-12-2012, 03:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcarusFallen View Post
Hello Home Brew Forum!

This is my first post. I’ve been lurking for a while picking up some good info and ideas and hopefully I’ll get a few more from this post.
First off, welcome to the HBT community!

Lurking is creepy, but we'll let it slide this time! ;-)


Quote:
Originally Posted by IcarusFallen View Post
1) As a novice brewer, my main issue has been incomplete fermentation in my beer and last batch of cider. This is why I made a starter and threw in the servomyces. I’m going to keep the ferm temp in the 68-70* range (previous attempts I kept the temps in the low 60’s). OG is 1.075 and I’m hoping to get down to 1.005ish. Is there anything else I can/should do to ensure I can get complete fermentation?
2) I’m hoping to experiment some with this batch as well. I’m going to split the batch into 5 one-gallon batches in secondary and add some fun stuff. I found an organic pomegranate concentrate, and some organic black cherry concentrate, and want to dry hop one gallon with some Cascade or Willamette Hops. Any other suggestions or ideas?

Thanks for your input!

Cheers!
1) I am not sure what you mean by "incomplete fermentation", is it stalling? I am not sure what you did on your earlier brews, so I am not sure where you might have gone wrong, or if nothing went wrong and your "incomplete fermentation" is nothing more then a fermentation completing earlier then you expected.

What were the details on your previous brews?

2) Go for it! Never hurts to try experimenting a bit and fruit added to cider should work out great.



ALSO:

Quote:
Originally Posted by IcarusFallen View Post
In the mean time I made a yeast starter with some extra apple juice and WLP775 English Cider Yeast
...
I’m going to keep the ferm temp in the 68-70* range (previous attempts I kept the temps in the low 60’s). OG is 1.075 and I’m hoping to get down to 1.005ish.
Your WLP775 English Cider Yeast likes to ferment between 68-75°F. It also has a pretty high alcohol tolerance, so I expect you might end up with a higher FG then you want. I would say you should read up on your yeast a bit so you know what it is like. Here is the manufacturers page on it:

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp775.html

Let us know if you need any help translating this information.

It also wouldn't hurt to do a forum search on "WLP775" for any tips, experiences, or problems that people have with this yeast.

Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Try some wood maybe?

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Old 12-12-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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Devo9:

Best explanation may be stalled fermentation.

1st Beer: American Wheat beer (NB extract kit)
Yeast US-05 (temp range 59-75)
OG was only 1.035 instead of the estimated 1.043
Fermentation was active with a good Krausen. Temperature was kept in the 60* range until the last week when I let it rise to 70 (this was to try and eek out some last SG points)
FG ended up 1.018 vs the 1.010 expected.

2nd beer: Black IPA (NB extract kit)
Yeast was 2 packages of Wyeast 1272 American Ale II
OG was 1.070
Fermentation was vigorous at first and temp was kept in the 62* range.
SG check at 12 days 1.042 after fermentation had slowed. Racked to secondary and kept it at 70* for two weeks to see if it would eat up some more sugar.
After secondary, SG was still 1.042

1st Cider:
2 gallons Trader Joes apple juice and 1.5 lbs honey
OG was 1.058
Yeast was WLP 0775
Temp was kept 70*
Again, had a vigorous fermentation with a good Kraussen.
after 6 weeks of fermentation, FG was 1.020, so still a bit high from what I wanted.
Used some AJC to prime (one can per gallon, so 2 cans total)

Up until now, I haven't used any yeast nutrients or starters so that is why I tried them this go around.

Any ideas?


Badger:
hehe, you said wood.
I have though about oaking a gallon to see what happens. Have you tried any? So many choices, American, French, Hungarian, toast, Medium, Heavy....

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcarusFallen View Post
Devo9:

Best explanation may be stalled fermentation.

1st Cider:
2 gallons Trader Joes apple juice and 1.5 lbs honey
OG was 1.058
Yeast was WLP 0775
Temp was kept 70*
Again, had a vigorous fermentation with a good Kraussen.
after 6 weeks of fermentation, FG was 1.020, so still a bit high from what I wanted.

Up until now, I haven't used any yeast nutrients or starters so that is why I tried them this go around.

Any ideas?
I have never brewed beer before, so I am not sure what was going on there. With the cider, it is possible that the yeast needed some nutrients. It is also possible that the acidity got a little too high (less then 3.2). If you are getting stuck fermentations in cider, there are a few things you can try.

First try adding a bit of yeast nutrient to your cider. If that doesn’t get things moving in a few hours, then check your PH. If the PH is low, first thing to try is degassing the cider. If that doesn’t help, try adding something to raise your PH. I have never had to raise the PH of my brews, so I’m not sure what to add, but I’m sure your local home brew store would be happy to help you find something. (they are usually very helpful when selling is involved)

I also noticed that your yeast has a low attenuation, but I don’t think that should affect anything for cider. It appears this value is only relevant when making beer, I think it has something to do with converting from starch to sugar. I look around for a while but never found anything that linked attenuation to wines, ciders, or meads (except barley wines). So I think that your problem lies elsewhere... I am posting this last bit just in case I am wrong, so someone can correct me. (and because I spent too much time looking into it to leave it out)

I hope that helps. Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcarusFallen

Badger:
hehe, you said wood.
I have though about oaking a gallon to see what happens. Have you tried any? So many choices, American, French, Hungarian, toast, Medium, Heavy....
My father is a red wine fan, He is always having me try wine And then discussing with me the flavored tones.... They use a lot of oak in red wine. I ask myself why, Then I tell myself it's because Red wine has not only a higher alcohol, but heavier flavor and you need a heavy woody flavor to balance....
It seems to me that cider is a much lighter beverage. Oak to me seems like too much of a heavy overpowering wood flavor..... Don't get me wrong, I plan to try using some oak After I am well-versed in wooding my cider. (Just made that up, Wooding, I like it)

I'm going to try Cedar and some of the Lighterwoods like that first..... One of the brew talk members is sending me some Spanish Cedar as we speak!
I'm trying to put together a Apple cedar cherry cider recipe! IT'S GOING TO ROCK!
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BadgerBrigade

I'm going to try Cedar and some of the Lighterwoods like that first..... One of the brew talk members is sending me some Spanish Cedar as we speak!
I'm trying to put together a Apple cedar cherry cider recipe! IT'S GOING TO ROCK!
That sounds ridiculously awesome! Let me know how it turns out. I think I'll try "Wooding" one gallon but ill keep it super light just to see how it turns out. I'm thinking some ginger sounds delicious too. I'll need to research that some.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by IcarusFallen

That sounds ridiculously awesome! Let me know how it turns out. I think I'll try "Wooding" one gallon but ill keep it super light just to see how it turns out. I'm thinking some ginger sounds delicious too. I'll need to research that some.
My girlfriend says I'm crazy good with flavor combinations.. And when you said Ginger I have a fantastic idea hit me..... Pear ginger cedar
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:51 AM   #9
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So, Just a quick update:

All the cider is finished and almost all gone now. But here's what I went with and how they turned out.

For all the recipes below, I let the original 5 gallons of cider and 3lbs of honey ferment for 2 weeks through primary. After that I split the batch as outlined below.

For the original cider (Through Primary):
OG: 1.075
FG: 1.002


1) Pear Ginger:

I added 1qt. of R.W. Knudsen's Organic pear juice and a piece of ginger about the size of my thumb (very scientific I know) to a one-gallon jug and topped off with cider. The ginger was julienne to get more surface area. This sat for 3 weeks in secondary before being moved to tertiary for an additional 2 weeks. Priming and Back sweetening was accomplished with some frozen AJC.

2) Black berry cider

I took a pound of frozen black berries and soaked them in vodka for a bit, then put them in a one-gallon jug and topped off with cider. These sat in secondary for 3 weeks and tertiary for 2 weeks as well. Priming and Back sweetening was accomplished with some frozen AJC.

3) Pomegranate cider

This cider had 12.5 oz. of Lakewood Organic Pomegranate concentrate added to it. Same fermentation schedule as the previous two. I added the concentrate to secondary in this one to see how much of the tartness of the pom concentrate would be removed in fermentation. Priming and Back sweetening was accomplished with some frozen AJC.

4) Black Cherry Cider.

This Cider sat in a 3 gallon secondary as just cider. I then used 12.5 oz. of Lakewood organic Black Cherry concentrate as my priming sugar when bottling to maintain as much of the cherry flavor as possible.

5) Hopped Cider.

Similar to the Black Cherry, this sat in secondary with the remainder of the cider till roughly 4 days before bottling. I added 1oz of Cascade whole leaf hops to a gallon jug and then filled with cider. Let is sit the four days. Priming and Back sweetening was accomplished with some frozen AJC.

6) Just plain cider, no back sweetener or priming. Sort of the control group if you will.

Official tasting results with random scores!

#6) 8 points - Plain Cider. Without any AJC to back sweeten it was very dry and lacked body
#5) 14 points - Pom Cider - Lacked some carbonation and still held onto the pucker factor of the tart pom concentrate
#4) 28 points - Pear Ginger - This was my second favorite but I think the pear was a bit subtle and lacked some pop but with a good mouth feel.
#3) 30 points - Black Berry - Very clean but more subtle than the others since it was whole berries and not a juice concentrate.
#2) 31 points - Black Cherry - Definitely more fruit forward and sweeter since the black Cherry was used for back sweetening.
#1) 36 points - Hopped Cider - Hands down the crowd favorite. The AJC added some body and the hops added so much complexity to cider. Definitely my favorite and it won over even non-beer drinkers, which was surprising. Since the hops weren't boiled there was no bitterness, just aroma and taste. Delicious.

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