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Old 12-03-2007, 11:36 PM   #1
alowishus
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Default First Hard Cider Attempt - Problems?

Hi all!

Great forum here!

My wife wanted to make some hard cider, so I pulled out the ole/trusty 6.5g plastic bucket home brewing kit. Cleaned it up really well then found a recipe similar to this link:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=45502

Basically it's:
- 5g Apple Cider (Pasteurized, no preservatives, from Wild Oats)
- 3lb Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Packet Lalvin 71B
- ~1/3 cup of Montmorency Tart Cherry juice concentrate (no preservatives)

I started the yeast in about 1-1.5 quarts of the cider. It foamed up pretty good and I put it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to keep it cool until the cider was cooled to around 68 degrees or so.

I mixed the rest of the cider, brown sugar, and cherry juice concentrate together and stirred really well. Everything combined fine - the sugar literally melted away as I added it.

After the yeast and cider were within 3-4 degees of each other, I added it together and sealed it up. Put the airlock on (filled with some vodka) and let it sit.

That was Thursday (11/29).

It has now been about 4 days since I sealed it up and it's not bubbled much at all. I'm a bit worried in the sense that I wonder if I killed the yeast somehow. It would appear the amount of sugar is fine, but as of yet no bubbling.

At last check, the container is around 70 degree.

The OG before I added the yeast was 1.072.

Did I just do something really wrong or do I now have 5g of nothing?

Thanks!
alow

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Old 12-04-2007, 03:41 AM   #2
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I'd say just wait for it. I just bottled my first cider (I think it's turning out VERY dry, I was hoping for sweet) tonight. After I pitched the yeast, I waited over three days for a single bubble in the airlock, then very slow for a day, then no more bubbles. Amazingly, the magic still happened, I ended up with 5.5% ABV after a week. A lot of posts on here say that furious fermentation just doesn't happen with cider. If I hadn't read that, I might have given up on my batch and opened it. I'm glad I didn't. Your cider sounds great, good luck with it!

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Old 12-04-2007, 03:56 AM   #3
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I've read that too (with regards to your slow bubbling comments). I was just concerned that I'd witnessed almost no bubbling.

I could tell something was occuring by the fact the vodka in the airlock was at different levels throughout the past few days. Of course, maybe I was subconsiously thinking a bit more would occur after pouring in 3 lbs of light brown sugar (I know I'd be going nuts after eating that much sugar - haha)

Anyway, I'll let it sit for another few days and then maybe check it with the hydrometer to see if anythings happened.

Thanks for the reassurance....

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Old 12-04-2007, 02:08 PM   #4
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You are fine. Cider just barely bubbles. You will be hard pressed to see airlock action unless you are there at just the right time. After a few days normally it will look like a bunch of really tiny bubbles rolling up the walls.

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Old 12-04-2007, 05:47 PM   #5
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I just bottled my second batch of cider.
4 Gallons cider,
1/2 box golden raisons,
7# white sugar,
2# Dark brown sugar,
1 pkg champaign yeast and 1 teaspoon yeast energizer.
I have always added a second shot of yeast the second day and it starts rolling along within a few hours. 13 days later she chugged away slowly and finaly sat still at 18 days.
I guess what I am getting at is that I like to hit it again with the yeast. The first batch had rave reviews.

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Old 12-10-2007, 05:14 PM   #6
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Default SG Reading Update

I took a SG reading the other day. It's down to 1.014 (on 12/7, about 8 days after I pitched).

So obviously something has happened. I tasted a bit and it was a bit yeasty and "apply" still.

Interestingly, after sealing up the bucket again, I was cleaning up some stuff in the basement and I heard some rather loud bubbling. I checked over and every few seconds the airlock was bubbling pretty violently, not a bubble or 2 but a lot all at once.

I scratched it up to some CO2 in suspension that got released when I did my testing, but it's continued for a few days now. It's slowed down a bit, so I'm thinking maybe the testing kinda jump started something. (Either that or I didn't have a complete seal on the bucket - though I'm pretty good at checking that and there was no leaks I could detect.)

Still smells pretty apply coming out of the airlock. I'm not in a huge hurry to do anything with this, so I figured I'll check it weekly to see what occurs (this is still kind of an experiment in cider making too I suppose).

alow

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Old 12-10-2007, 05:49 PM   #7
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Just for future reference....I had my airlocks blow out on my 2 batches of cider that I added yeast to. The third batch (au natural) bubbled vigorously during the first week of fermentation. I fermented around 67 °F.

So the long and short of it is, the Hydro is really the only safe bet to check your progress.

As for the cider odor, mine always begins to get sulphery after about 10 days.

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Old 12-14-2007, 03:49 AM   #8
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Just a quick update on this cider.

I took another SG reading tonight. It's right at 1.000. It was bubbling pretty well the past week, slowed down a ton the past 2 days or so and then completely stopped today.

Funny thing was after the first SG check last week, I kinda sloshed the carboy a bit and that's when it really fired up. After that it was going like gangbusters. I've never seen a fermentation like this though - the bubbles weren't consistent, but more in a big rush every few seconds - almost like a burp.

Regardless, it's completely stopped and it appears it's pretty much done doing whatever it was doing.

I think I'm going to rack it to a glass carboy this weekend and put some pectin in it to clear it up some. I'll bottle it in a few weeks.

The wife and I tasted it this evening also. She agreed it was pretty strong (I calculated about 9.5% alcohol or so). It was VERY dry and while tasty, seems like it could really use a few months to age.

alow

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Old 12-16-2007, 08:43 PM   #9
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Nice. Keep us in the know.

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