Originally Posted by dataz722
Ok I havent even got everything I need to even brew beer yet but i am looking to start in about a week or two and I was planning on only doing one at a time for now but now that I saw this I think I am going to start with 2 off the bat including this. Just a couple questions though.
1) Can I use all fresh apples and juice them myself because we have an orachard right near me that I could go to.
2) Is there a difference if I start with cider or juice?
3) How crucial is the third fermenter?
1) You can go with all fresh apples, but it's expensive. Apples are about $1 per pound and I calculated that you'd need about 60-70 pounds of apples for 5 gallons. Plus you end up with lots of wasted pulp.
If you have an orchard nearby, ask them if they make cider. Normally orchards put out a lot of cider this time of year.
2)Cider is just unfiltered apple juice and either will work fine. Fresh cider from your local orchard might have a better or worse flavor profile than store bought juice. I probably would have gone with 5 gallons cider if I had a choice because the cider I've tasted before had a lot stronger flavor...
The gallon jugs of reconstituted apple juice in your local grocery store will save you a lot of money and time. I opted to add just a bit of fresh to add to the complexity of the flavor. This is not needed and straight store bought will be fine and will not need pasteurization as it is already done.
What ever you use, you need about 5 gallons total juice. Make sure that there are no preservatives added. If you use fresh juiced apples or non-pasteurized cider, you will need to either use campdens and wait 24 hours before pitching yeast in, OR pasteurize all of it by bringing to 160 F then removing from heat as mentioned.
AGAIN, NO PRESERVATIVES IN THE JUICE!! This will prevent fermentation... Just look at the ingredients on the juice. There should only be concentrate apple juice, water, and ascorbic acid (vit C).
You don't even have to add the spices if you want just a straight cider... modify as you wish...
3) Third fermenter is not required, I am going to a third just to allow a bit of extra clearing because I added spices and sugar in the secondary which spurred another round of fermentation, the third fermenter will help clairify, but it's not necessary.