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-   -   CranApple Cider 2012 (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/cranapple-cider-2012-a-364109/)

indigo 10-28-2012 10:32 PM

CranApple Cider 2012
 
Started a new batch of cider yesterday, my first brew in about a year. It's my third go at a cider, but it's the first time I've used fresh cider instead of just buying a bunch of bottles of cider from the grocery store.

A local nursery here in town does an annual Apple Festival, and they had a cider press going, so I took the opportunity. Picked out about 75 pounds of apples and had someone run them through the press. Brought the ~5 gallons of juice home and pasteurized it in two batches. In the second batch, I added a bottle of cranberry juice and 4 cinnamon sticks (similar to what I did on my last batch).

I put everything into a carboy and pitched my yeast, saw no activity last night, but when I woke up this morning the stuff was going insane! The kreusen had erupted up into my airlock, and was foaming out the top!

http://www.lunarbistro.com/img/blog/...ider_party.jpg

:rockin:
I've never had such an active fermentation before, not sure if it's a result of the fresh juice, or because I actually got my wort down to a hospitable temperature before pitching my yeast. Either way, I can't wait to give this beast a try. Need to come up with a good name for it, too, if I'm going to keep making this every year...

TAPPAR 10-30-2012 05:56 AM

Sounds delectable :)

Maweni 10-30-2012 06:06 AM

What was your OG?

AndrewTodd 10-30-2012 12:58 PM

I tend to get a kreusen with cider. Yeast selection does make a difference on how much of one. Wyeast sweet mead blows out my airlock, while the Nottingham has a modest kreusen with cider and none with applejuice.

indigo 10-30-2012 07:22 PM

I used a Wyeast Cider yeast (4766? don't have my notes with me). I haven't brewed enough batches to start getting experimental with my yeast yet.

The OG was 1.044, which seems low to me, but I'm okay with that. There's no added sugar. Last time I did cider I added some Splenda before bottling, so I might do that again. Just have to wait and see how it tastes when it's time to bottle it.

AndrewTodd 10-30-2012 07:30 PM

That SG isn't out of line considering I usually have fresh pressed cider OG at 1.051 to 1.061. Adding the cran with a lower gravity would take it down a bit.

Still should make something decent I would think.

TAPPAR 10-31-2012 03:56 PM

I usually add the cranberry with concentrate so there isn't any lowering of the SG.

I am having a hard time finding a better cider yeast then Nottingham. I keep doing gallon batches with the same mixture comparing Nottingham to other yeasts and they are never quite as good.

indigo 10-31-2012 05:20 PM

I always see Nottingham recommended here, but my LHBS doesn't seem to carry it. Can you describe what the difference is with the Nottingham? As I say, i haven't experimented with different yeasts yet, so I can't tell what would make one better than another for a specific recipe.

indigo 11-04-2012 11:23 PM

Checked the gravity on this today, after noticing that it has completely stopped bubbling. I got a reading of 0.996, which surprised me (didn't think a beer could get below 1.000..?). I went ahead and racked it to a bottling bucket, where I'll give it a few days before adding some potassium metabisulfate.

It tastes really bitter and dry, so I'm hoping it mellows out some in the bottles. I'd rather not add any artificial sweetener to it like I did with last year's batch. I'll check again in a few days and see.

indigo 11-30-2012 11:05 PM

Well, this cider has not aged well so far. It's been in bottles for about a week after about a month fermenting. Still smells great, but the flavor is really not what I was hoping for. It's oddly watery, and has a not-quite-vinegary bitterness to it which I first noticed when I was taking those gravity readings at the beginning of November. I kept hoping that it would get better in the fermenter, but it never did. Now I'm hoping it will get better in the bottles, but I don't have high hopes.

I did add some Splenda to it before bottling, and added some carb tabs to the bottles hoping for some good action there, but neither seemed to help - there's still no carbonation in the bottles, and the splenda just gave it a kind of weirdly-sweet taste. I think I'm going to avoid using it in the future.

The biggest disappointment here is that I went the extra mile with this batch and got fresh apple cider, and now I don't even want to drink this stuff. Not sure what exactly I did wrong here, other than maybe I let the yeast go too long on the juice. Would it have helped if I'd stopped fermentation closer to 1.01, instead of letting it get all the way down to .996?


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