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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > First time apple cider - two questions
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:40 PM   #1
rhern053
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Default First time apple cider - two questions

1. Bought a gallon jug of Whole Foods organic apple juice and pitched half a vile of WLP005 (British Ale yeast) per recommendation from my local homebrew supply shop worker. Has anyone done this? How did it come out?

2. May be a silly question, but hydrometers work for any liquid, right? What I mean to ask is, is my "beer" hydrometer going to read accurately the OG and FG of the apple juice/cider? Or do I need a "cider" hydrometer? I think they're the same.

Thanks!

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Old 03-18-2011, 10:43 PM   #2
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The hydrometer doesn't really care what you use it in... I've used mine in beer and mead without issue. Get a good reading out of either...

What was the OG of the cider? Did you add any more sugar to it, or are you just going to ferment it to low strength?

Personally, I use Lalvin yeast for anything that's not beer. Mead, hard lemonade, cider (when I make some at least)... Of course, those range from 14-18% ABV tolerance. I also rehydrate the entire packet and pitch it all in...

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Old 03-19-2011, 12:55 AM   #3
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The OG was 1.053, and didn't add any sugar. I'll check out the Lalvin yeast, sounds better than British Ale yeast, but it's what I had on hand because I'm brewing up a brown ale this weekend.

The Lalvin you get is dehydrated? That sounds good, because it's on hand whenever you need it. I always go to the store and find some sweet drink that I want to try fermenting. Apple juice, lemonade, grape juice, and there are a ton of ethnic drinks out there that could be the subject of fermenting experiments.

Thanks Golddiggie!

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Old 03-19-2011, 01:28 AM   #4
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Yeah, the Lalvin yeast is dry... You usually get at least a year or two to use it before it hits the date stamped on it... I have two EC-1118 packets, one D47 and K1-V1116... They have a few other strains, which can also be good to have on hand...

I think it's a good idea to have yeast on hand at all times... You never know WHAT you'll come across that you'll want to ferment.

If that cider ferments out dry, you'll be looking at about 7.3% alcohol in it... I've never used White Labs yeast, so I have no idea how it will perform in this case... I would suggest getting some Lalvin (or other good wine yeast) for the next time you want to do this... Maybe get some so that you can compare two batches of the same base, fermented with the different yeasts.

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Old 03-19-2011, 02:51 AM   #5
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I've never used wine yeast in a cider, so I could be talking a lot of garbage. I'm sure someone will correct me.

I use ale yeast for all my ciders and have had lots of success. From what I have read from different peoples comments, ale yeast leaves a little more of the apple flavor. I guess the big drawback with ale yeast, is if you add sugar, you can very quickly exceed the alcohol capability of the yeast.

I hope you like cloudy cider. I have a gallon of whole foods 365 juice fermenting (no added sugar). It's at 5 months and still cloudy. I think you can add pectic enzyme to clear it, but I'm having fun seeing how long it takes to clear naturally. I have bottled some of the same (cloudy) and it tastes fine, but my wife will not touch it.

At the risk of getting flamed by the purists, I usually use clear store bought juice, and find it clears relatively quickly. I like to try different yeasts, such as English, Saison, Brett, etc, to get some flavor contribution from the yeast in addition to the apple.

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Old 03-19-2011, 03:05 AM   #6
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With using wine yeast, or Lalvin yeast, you just need to select the right one for the job... For a cider, I would probably go with D47 since it has the characteristic of "E.V.C.: ENHANCES VARIETAL CHARACTER" which means it lets the fruit shine through more. Otherwise, you can use the ones that are 'neutral' in that they won't subtract from the fruit, but won't enhance it either.

I do like the Lalvin strains since they start at about 14% tolerance, and go up to 18% (better if you know how to work them)... Lots of good info on the main page for the Lalvin strains, plus you can get more detailed info on each one.

BTW, I used 71B-1122 for my hard lemonade... My first time using that yeast. Will see what it does to the end product.

I will say that even at ~3 weeks in, the lemonade has cleared up a LOT... Basically, it's clear (it's pink lemonade, so you can't see through it, but the color is great) and the lees are nice and compacted on the bottom... Almost time to either rack onto dried cherries or bottle it up... Next up will be tending to my 4 month old batches of mead... Going to be a busy Sunday.

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:54 AM   #7
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Calder: Mine is also Whole Foods 365 apple juice. How long does it tend to take till it's done fermenting? How long for aging?

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:36 PM   #8
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D47 and 71B are good if you like a dry cider - like a dry white wine. WLP005 works great for a semidry pub style cider.

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Old 03-20-2011, 05:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhern053 View Post
Calder: Mine is also Whole Foods 365 apple juice. How long does it tend to take till it's done fermenting? How long for aging?
It will probably be done fermenting in a couple of weeks, but it will continue to drop sediment for a long time. Mine was racked a month ago and has a lot of sediment come out since then.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
I guess the big drawback with ale yeast, is if you add sugar, you can very quickly exceed the alcohol capability of the yeast.
Which would be a good thing if you are trying to make a sweet cider! I have a batch going with S-04 that I cold-crashed at 1.013. (It started at around 1.050, no sugar added.) I can't find an alcohol tolerance for S-04. If I knew where it topped out, I'd try adding enough sugar before fermenting to leave some residual sugar after the yeast hit its alcohol limit.
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