Cider recipe questions!! - (recipe and bottling)
So I'm totally new to the brewing world, about to make my first batch of cider, and would HUGELY appreciate the input of any experienced cidermakers regarding my intended recipe, listed below:
1 Gal unfiltered organic flash-pasteurized apple juice(blend)
1 Gal flash-pasteurized macintosh apple juice
0.4 pckt(125ml size) Wyeast Ringwood ale ACTIVATOR pitchable yeast
6oz honey w/comb
0.8oz hazelnut flavor
2tsp vanilla extract
1lb brown sugar(or beet sugar, unsure)
1 cinnamon stick
Boil 0.5 gal macintosh juice with honey, sugar and cinnamon stick. Remove from heat, allow to cool to 70> degrees, add vanilla and hazelnut flavor, stir well, and strain into fermenter. Add remaining juice, yeast, and cinnamon stick, seal, and place in basement.
My intention is to bottle this flat for the most part, possibly adding a small bit of brown sugar, or maple syrup to a portion of it to try a sparkling variant as well. In regards to fermentation periods, racking, etc, I honestly don't know what I'm doing, but my housemate is an experienced beer-brewer, so I'm assuming that between him and these forums I can figure it out!
-However, my housemate recently made some cider that he bottled with a primer, and it exploded when I opened one. Too much priming sugar?
Thanks so much for any advice, I'm sure I need it:)
Welcome to HBT Matt!
I'll start with the last thing first. Exploding cider comes from bottling the cider before it's done fermenting. As you could probably tell, that's not a good idea. Bottle bombs are dangerous and cider takes a long time to finish. Many folks don't bottle for 6 to 12 months. Yes, it can be bottled sooner (a couple months) but it's really much better if it ages 12 months.
You are going to end up with slightly over 2 gallons of cider. I would pitch the entire packet of yeast. Unless you are going to use it on something else that day, it will not stay fresh once opened.
Don't bring your juice up to boil. Just get it hot enough to dissolve the honey and sugar.
More is not always better and that's quite a recipe you wrote. Cinnamon, brown sugar, hazelnut, and vanilla all add individual flavors to cider. I'm not sure what you're going to end up with by putting so many conflicting elements in it. It's your recipe but I might suggest you start with one or two flavors that will compliment each other rather than trying to jam everything into one cider. Or you could make several smaller batches and combine them after you find out which of the flavors you like. I discovered that I don't care for cider with any sugar (particularly brown sugar) added. I found this out by making several batches using juice, yeast, and different or no sugar. If I had thrown a bunch of things in one batch, I wouldn't know what ingredient I didn't like.
Good luck with your cider and make sure you let us know how it turns out.
Three cheers to that!
Thank you for some excellent advice!
I was going to add all those flavors because they sounded like a good combination, but I think you have an excellent point about the confusing qualities of so many flavor additives going on.
As to the yeast, the packet is a liquid-yeast-with-activator pack, designed to ferment 5 gallons of beer. Isn't that too much for 2 gal of cider? Can one add too much yeast?
Thank you, thank you.
You can usually not pitch too much yeast. If you read the instructions, it says, it ferments up to 5 gallons. Which means that you are underpitching really, if you use it for 5 gallons. I use one package for 1-5 gallons.
Thanks; I'm thinking I'll try two different 2 gal batches, and use half the pack for each.
So now, I've been looking for a good cider-book, but haven't found one yet. With that in mind, let me just display how little I know:
What is told by the gravity reading of your brew or cider? I notice everyone stating what gravity or OG they started off at, and in some cases ended at, and I can tell I'm missing something.
One uses a hydrometer to check gravity, correct? Does checking it tell you ABV, or how close fermentation is to completion, or what?
...Also, how DOES one tell when fermentation has stopped?
Thank you all for reading these, and helping me become gradually less of an idiot :cross:
A hydrometer measures the weight of a liquid relative to the same
volume of water (i.e., relative densities). In wine and cider making, most of the excess weight (over 1.000) is assumed to come mostly from fermentable sugars. Most hydrometers measure Specific Gravity (SG), which
tells how many times heavier than water the liquid of interest is;
for example, a 1.050 SG wort is 1.05 times heavier than an equal volume
of water at 60 F. SG measurements are temperature dependent, and SG
should be measured at 60 F., as water is SG 1.0 at 60 F.
What this means in practicality is that you can know your potential alcohol, the finished alcohol by volume, and when the hydrometer reading is stable and in an expected range, it also tells you when fermentation is finished.
Thanks again Yooperbrew, you are a great source of knowledge! Since I didn't test my cider's gravity to begin with, is there any reason the info gained from beginning to test it now would be invalid?
And also, how often would you test it? I'm thinking something like every 12 hours?
Thanks thanks thanks!
Since you didn't test it at the beginning, the only piece of information you won't know is the alcohol by volume.
I usually test my SG at the very beginning, once when I am reading to rack to secondary (to ensure that the SG is about finished) and once before I bottle. There really isn't any value in frequent SG readings. Either the cider is done, or it is not. If it's done, you'll know that by the unchanging SG over the course of a week or so.
For example, if you think the cider is completely finished, you could take a reading. Then, a few days later, take another. If it is the same, and in an expected area (this depends on the ingredients and the yeast used, but I'd expect in the .996 area), then it's done.
I like to leave wines and ciders in secondary for a long time- until they are completely clear and I let them age a little bit. Cider tastes better when it's about a year old, if you can stand to wait that long!
Ohhh, the waiting...
I'm sure I won't make it a year on this batch; if it's reasonably tolerable in the beginning of September it's going to be a donation for my best friend's wedding party. We'll see!
Also, what temperature range would you more experienced folks ferment a cider at?
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