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Old 09-20-2009, 11:48 PM   #1
Halex
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Default Completely new to brewing/cider!

Hey there! I’m completely brand new to brewing and I’ve decided that I would like to make some hard cider as I’ve been enjoying it for quite some time now. My preferred brand is Strongbow so I’m hoping to make a good dry cider that still has lots of flavor.

Right now I’m starting with absolutely NOTHING. I have found a cider mill in Kansas that will sell raw cider (no preservatives or pasteurization) by the gallon so long as you bring your own container. I have also found a homebrew shop here in Kansas City that sells starter kits and I have also found MANY online. They say that what you use can greatly affect the ourcome of the brew so I want to make sure I get something that will make sure I don’t end up with 5 gallons of swill.

Right now the only actual purchase I’ve made is the book “Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, Third Edition”. And I’m hoping that will give me some insight so I don’t sound too much like a dumb rookie around here. Though in the mean time, what would you guys recommend as a good starter kit for cider? What should I avoid? Can you guys recommend a good recipe for a good dry cider?



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Old 09-21-2009, 09:58 AM   #2
Kauai_Kahuna
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OK, you "MUST" (sorry bad pun) get some camden tablets and some peptic acid, along with at least a primary fermenter a gallon larger than your desired volume.
A hydrometer, racking can, tubing, airlocks, etc would help greatly and get you on the road to excellence quickly.
Read up on the overload of threads here and you will know it all in no time, and realize you still know nothing.

But for my two cents, if you like the taste of the juice, your like the cider.
Sanitize everything.
Get some decent yeast.
Keep the temperature within the yeast's range.
Give it twice as much time as you think.
Have fun, get addicted.



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Old 09-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #3
SeamusMac
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Hey Halex, welcome to HBT!

Let's first decide on what kind of cider you want. You said that Strongbow is your preferred brand of cider. If you want to make something that tastes like Strongbow you'll have to back-sweeten it. Strongbow isn't a dry cider, they add a lot of sugar to it before they package it in order to appeal to more people. The easiest way to do that at home is to brew cider with a beer yeast and add a splash of fresh cider to your glass before pouring your home brewed cider into it. Adding the fresh (un-fermented) cider to your glass is kind of like what Strongbow does with their cider before canning/bottling it. That's how I drink my home brewed cider, and a lot of my friends like it at least as much as Strongbow!

You'll need, at the very least:
5 gallon plastic brewing bucket
Airlock and bung
campden tablets
Long spoon or whisk
A spigot
Bottling wand
Bottles, pry-offs are best
Bottle caps and capper
Bottle carbonation tabs
A beer yeast, I've used Wyeast 3068 with success but I'll be trying Safale US-05 next
Your preferred volume of fresh cider.

If you want a real "dry" cider, it'll taste more like a white wine with some apple juice added to the bottle than it will like Strongbow. Check out "Afpelwein" if that's is what you're looking for.

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Last edited by SeamusMac; 09-21-2009 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
Halex
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Would it be okay to just add fresh, unfermented, cider to the batch before bottling it?

- Halex

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeamusMac View Post
Hey Halex, welcome to HBT!

Let's first decide on what kind of cider you want. You said that Strongbow is your preferred brand of cider. If you want to make something that tastes like Strongbow you'll have to back-sweeten it. Strongbow isn't a dry cider, they add a lot of sugar to it before they package it in order to appeal to more people. The easiest way to do that at home is to brew cider with a beer yeast and add a splash of fresh cider to your glass before pouring your home brewed cider into it. Adding the fresh (un-fermented) cider to your glass is kind of like what Strongbow does with their cider before canning/bottling it. That's how I drink my home brewed cider, and a lot of my friends like it at least as much as Strongbow!

You'll need, at the very least:
5 gallon plastic brewing bucket
Airlock and bung
campden tablets
Long spoon or whisk
A spigot
Bottling wand
Bottles, pry-offs are best
Bottle caps and capper
Bottle carbonation tabs
A beer yeast, I've used Wyeast 3068 with success but I'll be trying Safale US-05 next
Your preferred volume of fresh cider.

If you want a real "dry" cider, it'll taste more like a white wine with some apple juice added to the bottle than it will like Strongbow. Check out "Afpelwein" if that's is what you're looking for.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halex View Post
Would it be okay to just add fresh, unfermented, cider to the batch before bottling it?

- Halex
Unfortunately not, if you were to do that the yeast that remained dormant in the hard cider would come "back to life" and ferment the fresh cider you added to it during bottling. You'd end up with more hard cider.

Although this is only if you want to bottle carbonate your cider. You could bottle it without carbonation, like a wine. If you do that then you could add fresh cider to your hard cider and sweeten it up.

Kegging cider would allow you to carbonate it and have it sweet at the same time, although it's pretty expensive and not usually something new brewers take on as their first foray into the hobby.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:25 AM   #6
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I'd recommend skipping the k-meta. You will get more apple taste and be able to drink it sooner. Find out what days the mill is pressing, show up early on press day to fill your jug, so the juice wont be sitting around for long and check out the press to make sure they run a clean operation. If you see anything that looks a little suspect, you can pitch the k-meta for piece of mind, but your cider will taste a lot better if you skip it and pitch the yeast right away - plus you will save a step and be one day closer to drinking.

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Old 09-22-2009, 09:58 AM   #7
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If you want to back sweeten and not stabilize, or end up with bottle bombs. You can use splenda or some none ferment able sugar substitute. Or you can just add it when you make a glass of it.
The options are many, just figure out what works well for you.



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In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
Bottles: Far, far, too many to list.

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