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Old 10-26-2010, 07:19 AM   #91
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In another thread, someone recently posted that they left their cider too long after bottling (they had been out of town) and had two explode. Then they went ahead and tried pasteurizing some of the bottles - they exploded when they were heated up.

I wanted to repost my response to that thread here. I am very concerned about people pasteurizing without opening a bottle to test carbonation or when they know the bottles are over-carbonated. Someone is going to get seriously hurt.


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No one should ever pasteurize without first opening a bottle and seeing if the carbonation level is appropriate. You can tell if the bottles are over carbonated by opening one and seeing. You don't need a gauge to measure it, use your eyes - if it gushes (like in a recent thread) or if its really highly carbonated, then the cider was left too long in the bottles and you shouldn't pasteurize it. If it is normally carbonated, it will not explode during pasteurization.

Sorry for the scolding, but it was extraordinarily dangerous to heat your bottles when you knew they were over-carbonated (from the exploding bombs). I feel like I've been posting this over and over lately, but I'm very concerned about the lack of common sense some folks are showing and that someone is going to get seriously hurt.

Heating over-pressurized bottles is extremely dangerous. Head injuries, eye injuries, glass shards blown at you under high pressure, extreme burns from scalding liquid are all possible when bottles explode during pasteurization. If your bottles are over-carbonated, do not pasteurize them. Rather, remove the caps and relieve some of the pressure.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:33 AM   #92
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Hey Paps,
Quick question, what kind of Ale yeast did you use? There are a number of brands out there, dry and wet. Thanks!

Whoops, nevermind. After reading all the pages, I found my answer.

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Old 10-27-2010, 11:31 AM   #93
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Steffy, I mostly use White Labs WLP028, which is their Edinburgh strain. I use that for most of my beers, too. Dry yeast is easier, though, and I've used Nottingham with good results.

And welcome to HBT!

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Old 10-28-2010, 07:16 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Pappers View Post
Steffy, I mostly use White Labs WLP028, which is their Edinburgh strain. I use that for most of my beers, too. Dry yeast is easier, though, and I've used Nottingham with good results.

And welcome to HBT!
Thank you for the warm welcome!!!

I went to my local brew store and decided with the White Labs California Ale. From what the owner was saying, I stuck with that one. And I think you had mentioned as well that you've used that one. My next batch will mos def be with the Edinburgh strain.

My first few batches previously turned out really dry and I tried to backsweeten the hell out of it. Then after reading the forums more thoughrouly, I used the wrong yeast. I was using champagne yeast. That was the whole problem.

I appreciate your advice and help!
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:31 PM   #95
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My first few batches previously turned out really dry and I tried to backsweeten the hell out of it. Then after reading the forums more thoughrouly, I used the wrong yeast. I was using champagne yeast. That was the whole problem.

I appreciate your advice and help!
Steffy, any ale or wine yeast will eat through all the apple sugars and leave the cider dry. The California Ale yeast, left to work, will produce a completely dry cider, also.

Handmade cider makers are challenged when they want to combine three aspects: semi-dry (sweet, in other words), sparkling, and bottle conditioned. Two of these three are no problem. But figuring out how to do all three can be perplexing.

This thread describes the process I use - you might also look at MeadWitch's thread called 'Cider House Rules', there's another description and recipe there for this method.

You can also let it ferment all the way out and backsweeten with something that won't ferment, like lactose or splenda.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #96
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Hello, I just joined after lurking in the background for a month or so. I thought my only options to sweeten my carbonated hard cider were to back sweeten. I think I'm going to try this method. The cider is currently sitting after its first racking and it is bone dry (champagne yeast). It is a five gallon batch with an extra 5 lbs of cane and 3 frozen AJ concentrates (I don't know what the SG numbers are because I don't have a hydrometer). My question how can I determine how much sugars or AJ concentrate I can add to get carbonation and end up with a semi-dry cider after pastuerizing? Do I need to get a Hydro to determine if I have added enough sugar before bottling?

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Old 10-30-2010, 07:50 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Pappers View Post
I am very concerned about people pasteurizing without opening a bottle to test carbonation or when they know the bottles are over-carbonated. Someone is going to get seriously hurt.
Hi folks,

Great forum you guys have here. Thanks Pappers for all of the very informative posts!

I'm a total newbie and have been making some cider (first time) from the apples in my back yard. All seemed to be going well until today when I went to do some stove-top pasteurizing. I wish I had found this thread before starting! I ran into some trouble and would love to hear some advice from some of the experts out there.

Basically, I was following a recipe that said to use a stove-top canner. Long story short, the bottles were over-carbonated. They started to leak at the caps. I decided to go investigate online about the leaking caps and while away I had a bottle go off - it landed clear across the room and in the sink. Glad I wasn't in the room!

So my question is this: my bottles are over-carbonated... now what? Do I open the bottles to relieve pressure, and then simply recap and pasteurize? Or is it too late to pasteurize at all? I have 40 bottles remaining that I don't want to end up as time bombs waiting to go off!

Edit: Thinking about it some more - my cider is very dry and I would like it sparkling. I'm wondering about opening the bottles and emptying them back into my bottling pail, adding some sugar again and re-bottling, and then checking carefully to be sure when the carbonation is appropriate. Should this process essentially just provide me with a stronger cider but still potentially save my batch with all of its sparkling goodness?

Any thoughts much appreciated!
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:35 PM   #98
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Welcome, Noahps. Yes, you could open the caps, relieve some of the pressure, recap and pasteurize to stop the yeast.

The risk in emptying the bottles back into the bottling pail is that, with the splashing involved, you will introduce oxygen into your cider, which you don't want. Oxygen before fermentation is very good, oxygen after fermentation is very bad.

If your cider is dry, it might just take a little longer to age or to become palatable. Many people here enjoy dry ciders - and they usually take some months to age them. One of the interesting things about making cider is the variety of types of ciders people make and enjoy.

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Old 10-31-2010, 12:41 AM   #99
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I think this is the only good answer to the ever present "how can I make a sweet, carbonated, cider".
There is another way.
I backsweeten (with honey) and then force-carbonate (via keg) and then bottle. The carbonation (and carbonic acid) inhibits fermentation.

I do this when fermentation has stopped, normally naturally (with limited experience doing it after cold-crashing). I've never had one blow using this technique, even after several years.

I found this by bottling half a batch sweetened and the other half sweetened and carbonated. It had been sitting in the carboy for a year and the non-carbonated half still took off and required 'relief'. Only lost one bottle and learned a great technique.


One yeast note: I can't think of any use for champagne yeast in any cider or mead. And it's no good as a paperweight either.
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Old 10-31-2010, 02:37 PM   #100
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I am on my second attempt at cider making (my first attempt was unimpressive). I used a simple recipe using a Whole Foods glass gallon jug and Nottingham yeast. I want to go as inexpensive as possible until I see if I like my product or not.

I want semi-dry "still" cidar. I plan to stop fermintation around 1.014, which I think is semi-dry. In order to stop the process there, I unsure of the best process.

Can I do heat pasteurize in the 1 gallon screw top jug? Even if my cidar is still, will the pasteuriaztion process create enough internal pressure to blow the top off? I realize some experimentation is in order to sample the inside temp of a gallon of juice.

- or is the rack, cold crash, rack process better for my needs?

TIA

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