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Old 10-20-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
Vikingblod
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Default Does my fermenting baby need a tuneup?

Hello everybody,
This is my first post at this site. It's great to see such a large site dedicated to the art and science of home brewing!

In any case, I have a few questions for the cider Guru's out there.
I have brewed several batches of beer, so naturally I am familiar with the process and have all the required equipment. I decided to try doing a hard cider batch, and this is the process I followed;

I purchased 4 gallons of unpasteurized, unpreserved cider from a local apple orchard in Windham NH. Its measured sugar content was 14% before I started. I brought the cider up to about 160 degrees in a stainless pot for a few minutes to kill off some of the natural yeasts and nasties that may have been present in the cider. I added this to a squeaky clean 6 gallon carboy, and pitched Red Star Champagne yeast when it cooled to 101deg. It has been going since Monday (10/18/10) with definite signs of fermentation and clearing.

All that being said, my questions are; I was looking at some of the recipes that people use for brewing cider (after I already started this batch ), and noticed most of them add some sort of supplemental sugar, and yeast supplements. What are the chances of my current cider coming out any good in a reasonable amount of time with out the supplemental sugar and yeast supplements? I used the champagne yeast because I wanted a dry high alcohol content cider. I assumed that apples being apples, there would be enough nutrients present in the cider to keep the yeast happy. Would it be prudent for me at this point to boil down some form of sugar, and add it along with yeast supplements to the batch that is currently fermenting?


Thanks in advance, any thoughts or suggestions you can provide would be very much appreciated!

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:51 PM   #2
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I think it will come out just fine. People add different things for different reasons. Think of the additions as specialty grains. Personally I add yeast nutrient just to help things out. I add it to my beer as well though I am sure it doesnt need it. It does make me feel better though!



My cider experience is not as extensive as some others so take it for what you will.

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Old 10-20-2010, 08:16 PM   #3
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If you add more sugar, your cider will become drier. There are a lot of ciders that aren't made with any additional sugar, I think it's a hallmark of "farmhouse cider" which was generally made with wild yeast and cider and nothing else.

Don't worry

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:08 PM   #4
Vikingblod
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Thanks for the quick responses! I did want to keep this batch in it's natural state as much as possible. Kind of like a bench mark for future batches. The idea for me to make cider has been planted in my mind for 2 years now. 2 years ago we visited that farm in Windham to go apple picking, get cider donuts, and pickup some cider. When I saw the "Unpasteurized" labels all over the jugs of cider, thats when my though process went to "Oh yeah, really? Unpasteurized huh? I know what I can do with that stuff!" So we took the trip up there this past weekend, and actually spoke with the farmer and his wife who run the farm. According to them, they only use picked apples for their cider (no fallen soldiers from the ground). They are thoroughly washed then pressed. Good stuff! I'm still wondering if I should add a little yeast nutrient to keep my microbial Buddy's happy. I was expecting my time line for producing this batch to be 3 weeks to a month. one week primary, second week secondary, bottle and wait 2 weeks. Am I overly ambitious? I will go for sparkling cider for at least some of the batch.

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikingblod View Post
I was expecting my time line for producing this batch to be 3 weeks to a month. one week primary, second week secondary, bottle and wait 2 weeks. Am I overly ambitious? I will go for sparkling cider for at least some of the batch.
That might be a little quick... cider takes a while to clarify. A lot of people will go a month+ in primary with cider. It also depends on how sweet you want your cider or if you want to dry it out. There are a few paths you can take:

1) Dry your cider out completely, bottle. Have dry still cider.
2) Dry your cider out completely, add sugar for bottle carbonation, bottle and have sparkling dry cider.
3) When your cider is about your desired sweetness, bottle and wait until appropriately carbonated and then pasteurize to kill your yeast. Have sparkling sweet cider.
4) Let the cider dry out completely, pasteurize, backsweeten with cider or sugar to desired sweetness, bottle and have sweet still cider.
5) Let the cider dry out completely, backsweeten with cider or sugar to desired sweetness, bottle and pasteurize when the cider reaches desired carbonation. Have sweet sparkling cider.

Orrrr you could do something completely different like kill off the yeast and then bottle with a different yeast strain and bottling sugar... lots of possibilities.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for the heads-up. I kinda figured just by watching my air lock activity that this one will take a while longer than initially expected. Its the ale brewer in me that expected quicker results :-). I suppose the possibility's are endless for the finish. I will probably do half sparkling dry. Then set aside half a gallon for cold distillation. The rest I may bottle as is, or spice it up.

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