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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > First Cider Brew
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
NaturalCider
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Default First Cider Brew

Hey guys, this is my first post as well as my first cider brew. I did quite a large batch, 55 gallons. I searched a few orchards for the best price and found one in the county above mine that sold it for $2.00 a gallon, as opposed to the $4.00 a gallon at the orchard nearest me. This cider was strait from the press so no pasteurization or UV treatment. I also happened upon a 60 gallon Damy oak barrel for $100. I then talked to an old buddy of mine who ran an 1100 acre orchard for years and got a recipe from him:

55 Gallons of Cider
55# of sugar (1lb for every gallon of cider)
Using Natural Yeast
6 Large Cans of Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, no pulp.

So I bought 11 new 5 gallon buckets for the cider to be transported, and after much work mixing the sugar evenly and pouring it into my barrel it was completed Saturday night. For my airlock I ran a line from my bung up around into a jug of water hanging from one of my floor joists. I also melted wax and "painted" a layer around the bung to be air tight. The barrel is located in my basement which stays consistent at about 55 degrees. I was assured by my friend who gave me the recipe that the natural yeast would take hold, however I have now invested quite a bit of money and time into it, so any reassurance would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-20-2009, 02:41 AM   #2
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Looks great! The wild yeast will certainly take hold. The tricky part will be keeping it under control. Natural yeasts are all different, hopefully yours will be well behaved at 55. I have one now that is doing nicely at 60, another that I have to keep at 45 to keep under control. What kind of apples are in the juice? From your recipe, I'm guessing your buddy's apples were low on citric acid.

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Old 10-20-2009, 11:13 AM   #3
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Was the 6 cans of Frozen OJ used to top it off? Everything I've read about using barrels (I just bought two 7-gallon barrels last month) have stressed to fill it to the top and not let the insides dry out and to top it off every few weeks.

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Old 10-20-2009, 09:18 PM   #4
NaturalCider
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Hey guys thanks for the responses! I am sad to report that I am unaware of the types of apples, but what I can say was that the cider was not a thick sweet type, it was more of a light crisp and tart cider. Also, I filled the barrel to the very top, as to not have any headspace. I did an extensive search on the web for a recipe that included the OJ concentrate and was unable to find one, but I guess to fulfill the low citric acid problem it would make sense. The OJ concentrates were also preservative free, so in theory they should ferment as well? Thanks again!

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Old 10-20-2009, 09:28 PM   #5
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Dam wish I had the space for a barrel like that.

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Old 10-21-2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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Let me get this straight.
55 gallons at $2.00 a gallon in a barrel that you picked up for $100.
Damm, I think I really hate you!
Now hopefully those 11 new 5 gallon buckets are food grade and air tight so you can re-use them. Just clean them well and avoid scratching them.
Hopefully you got some good wild yeast working hard for you right now. Please keep us updated, this sounds great.

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