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dbdb 11-20-2012 06:46 AM

end of primary fermentation and heat
I have two 5 gallons barrels about to finish primary fermentation. They are bubbling about 5 a minute. They both have aquarium heaters in them keeping them at a constant 20C (68F). My question is after the bubbling stops completely do I leave them in the barrels with the heaters on or off, and how long for before I rack them off the lees? My inclination is to leave them heated for a few weeks but perhaps turning the heaters down a bit.

Maybe I should add that I make my own cider becuase I cannot buy unsweetened cider, I like it really dry and my ingredients are just juice and yeast, no water, no sugar. I let the yeast eat up as much fruit sugar as it likes, there is no question of me ending fermentation early or adding campden tablets and sweetners (would you do that to beer?).

Apologies if this has been answered already, I did search before posting and didn't find it.

45_70sharps 11-20-2012 08:03 AM

What temperature is the room where your fermentation buckets are?

It's hard to even guess at the answer without knowing that.

dbdb 11-20-2012 01:10 PM

about 11C. The barrels have aquarium heaters in them which keep the liquid at a constant 20C (as I said) so does it matter?

45_70sharps 11-20-2012 05:00 PM

Hmm.... I did my conversion and 11C is about 51F so that being the case, I don't know cider but at 51 I would expect the yeast to be less active so I would probably leave the heater going if you don't need them for another batch. Let the yeast do any clean up they may want to do for a while.

Just curious, how do you set up a system with aquarium heaters in the bucket? Do you drill and grommet an extra hole for the cord? Does the heater hang in the middle or do you suction cup it to the side?
I've got a fair sized old house with little insulation. There are areas that I don't heat and where I ferment is one of the areas that doesn't get much heat.
I'm interested in how you do it.

aubiecat 11-20-2012 07:13 PM

Ttiwwop ;)

45_70sharps 11-20-2012 07:22 PM


Originally Posted by aubiecat (Post 4607385)
Ttiwwop ;)

Dang the texting generation makes it hard to read posts!
I googled it and you want pictures. I think that WORDS are even more important!
I don't know what's being said half the time without going to google.

I'd have better luck if people typed in spanish, and my spanish is almost good enough to get by in a mexican bar without going thirsty.

dbdb 11-21-2012 12:20 AM

Right I'm sure I can describe this without pictures, might just takle a thousand words.

First thing is I don't ferment in a bucket. I ferment in a plastic beer brew barrel, pretty solid, holds 5 gallons and is the same as the one I rack into to store and keep the cider.

The barrels are pressure barrels and have a tight sealing lid with cork in the middle through which the bubbler goes and yes I drill a hole for the power lead for the heater. The heater hangs submerged in the liguid hanging from the cable, it does not touch the sides. A bit of sealant round the cable seals it

I have three barrels and two heaters, I brew 2 barrels at a time, one just before the other so I can rack the first ferment into the clean barrel, then the second ferment into the first barrel, leaving one barrel left to clean. I can do multiple racking this way. I have different barrel caps for racked cider so I can top up with CO2 as I drink.

The heaters are 100W and 200W, 100w seems plenty and spends most of its time off. They both have adjustable thermostats. One is glass and one stainless steel, which seemes Ok but I think glass would be better for cider because of the acid. You can buy beer heaters but they are just the same as aquarium ones except more expensive. 'Beer belts' heat the outside of the barrel which seems wasteful andless effective to me.

One last thing I wrap a towel round the barrels to keep the heat in.

45_70sharps 11-21-2012 01:30 AM

Cool setup.
I should look at setting up some warming temperature control.
Easier than trying to control the temperature of the room.

dbdb 11-21-2012 09:42 PM

the book I'm reading says after fermentation is over, cool the cider and rack it off. It was written in 1917 though. I'm still thinking leave it warm for a couple of weeks before racking.

Surely this is a resolved question over the 90 odd years since 1917 (the book also says wine benefits from pasturization - 'matures the wine by 2 years' which must have been the new technology then).

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