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Old 08-19-2012, 05:15 PM   #1
kesslerr1
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Default First Cider questions

I decided to make my first cider this year from fresh picked apples. I picked (through rocks at the trees to knock them down) 35 pounds of apples, six varieties for growing on the side of the road. Most of which were green and tart. After juicing them with the juicer I ended up with 3 gallons of juice. I heated it up on the stove for an hour to about 160. To raise the sugar levels I boiled 2 pounds of local wildflower honey in water and added it along with a quart pasteurized black cherry juice. My starting gravity was 1.062 I was shooting for 1.070, but I’ll take it. Once in the carboy I added 3 campden tables and am letting it sit now. I started my cider yeast WLP775 in honey water and plan to add that soon.

My questions are
1) How long after you add the campden tablets do you add your yeast. I have seen anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days. Is there any way of telling when you should and should not add it?
2) There is a large sediment at the bottom of my carboy, about ¼ of the total volume. Most of this appears to be apple pulp from juicing. It does not appear to be densely packed, like yeast gets after primary fermentation. I am worried about losing a lot of volume. Should transfer some of it when I rack the cider or should I leave it behind?
3) Has anyone ever stop their fermentation early to retain some of the sweetness? And with my low OG (for a cider from what I can gather) should I just let it ride and ferment out all the way or stop fermentation with a campden tablet? In the end I just want t decent final product it doesn’t have to be high gravity.

Happy brewing,
RK

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Old 08-19-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kesslerr1 View Post
My questions are
1) How long after you add the campden tablets do you add your yeast. I have seen anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days. Is there any way of telling when you should and should not add it?
2) There is a large sediment at the bottom of my carboy, about ¼ of the total volume. Most of this appears to be apple pulp from juicing. It does not appear to be densely packed, like yeast gets after primary fermentation. I am worried about losing a lot of volume. Should transfer some of it when I rack the cider or should I leave it behind?
3) Has anyone ever stop their fermentation early to retain some of the sweetness? And with my low OG (for a cider from what I can gather) should I just let it ride and ferment out all the way or stop fermentation with a campden tablet? In the end I just want t decent final product it doesn’t have to be high gravity.

Happy brewing,
RK
1. 24 hours later for the yeast. It makes it easier for the yeast to get going, although they are amazingly tolerant of sulfites anyway. Twenty four hours is just a "safe" way to go.

2. When you rack the cider, you'll leave it all behind. It'll compact a bit.

3. That's tough to do, but there is a sticky in this forum that explains some ways to do it. Campden does NOT kill yeast, though (remember, you just added some to the must? ) so you'd need to crash cool and other things and then add sorbate which inhibits the yeast. Or you can pasteurize. That is also in a "sticky" in this forum.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #3
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Great thanks for the info

Cheers

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Old 08-19-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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I'm not an experienced cider maker, but 1.062 is not a low starting gravity. One of my ciders started at 1.062 and ended up with a 7.7% abv (final gravity 1.004, which is very dry). Also, although racking doesn't stop fermentation entirely, in my experience it seems to slow it down A LOT, almost stopping it for practical purposes. I read somewhere that that is because the sediment is an important source of nitrogen for the yeast, so fermentation slows considerably without it. In other words, I think if you just rack it before the yeast eats all the sugar, you should be able to retain some sweetness. For the record, I haven't yet done this to my satisfaction (the yeast seems to do most of its work in about 5 days for me), but I think it should work.

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