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-   -   First time brewer - what to expect and how to clarify (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/first-time-brewer-what-expect-how-clarify-446392/)

Gilligan 12-05-2013 06:44 PM

First time brewer - what to expect and how to clarify
 
Hi everybody! I started my first batch of cider 11 days ago.

5 gallons of unfiltered pasteurized apple juice
6 pounds table sugar
1 packet of 11g Nottingham yeast, reconstituted in 4 oz water for 15 min
Starting gravity was 1.090

Last night, after 10 days, the gravity reading was 1.024, and the sample still tasted way too sweet, but had great apple flavor. I left the hydrometer floating inside the 6 gallon carboy and overnight it went down to about 1.018, so the yeast is still working on the sugar - faster than I thought was possible :ban:

Two questions:

I. I don't want the yeast to strip all the apple flavor, as is suggested in some of the posts that I read here. If I wait for my preferred flavor profile and then rack the cider into a secondary carboy, would that really stop the fermentation? Won't there be billions of yeast cells in suspension that would simply multiply and resume their feast? I used so much sugar because I hoped the yeast would quit before using all of it - I don't want a cider that is too dry and flavorless.

II. The cider is still as cloudy as the original unfiltered juice. Is it too late for me to dump some pectic enzyme into the carboy? Would it help if I add the enzyme to the secondary carboy when I rack this cider from primary?

jsDC 12-05-2013 07:05 PM

Notty is going to take that pretty close to dry if not all the way. An overnight drop from 24 to 18 gravity points also tells you it's still going strong.

Racking won't stop fermentation but it will slow it down, for a while at least, eventually it will be dry.

I don't think you have anything to lose by adding pectic enzyme now, worth a shot. Of course that takes time to work, time that will allow for further fermentation.

Gilligan 12-05-2013 07:59 PM

Based on what I've read on this forum, even with all that sugar, the potential alcohol content of my cider is still within the tolerance limit of this yeast.

So, there's no point in racking it into a secondary carboy, is there? I may as well wait until the yeast calls it quits, let it all settle out, and then siphon into bottles.

jsDC 12-05-2013 08:11 PM

I would rack once active fermentation has stopped because it gets your product off the dead yeast and other sediment which can adversely impact flavor if the cider is left on them for too long. Plus, it'll give you an easy way to add the pectic enzyme. Once it clears to your liking then you can contemplate bottling/finishing options: still-sweet, still-dry, carb-sweet, or carb-dry.

Gilligan 12-05-2013 08:19 PM

Ah, yes, good point. This will also give me the opportunity to start another batch using the same yeast, assuming there are no signs of contamination at the time I rack the cider.

Is there any reason not to just dump more juice into the same carboy on top of the yeasty sediment? I'd rather not wash the yeast, as that may introduce a contaminant during handling.

3guysandarock 12-05-2013 08:28 PM

This is only valuable for someone with a keg. I had a similar situation with my last batch in that I didn't want the cider to completely ferment, leaving me with a super tart cider. Then I had a really good idea. I also used Nottingham yeast. I let it ferment completely, then racked into a secondary fermenter, this was just to remove the cider from the yeast bed at the bottom. I added some real vanilla extract, and let that sit for a few days to let remaining sediment settle. Next I added a gallon of fresh, unpasteurized cider as well as some imitation vanilla extract for its sweetness and more vanilla flavor to my five gallons of hard cider. It was already strong enough that I felt comfortable "watering" it down a little bit and I ended up with 6 gallons of hard cider that's tart, and fruity. Now of course it must be kept cold or the yeast could become active again, so just make sure to keep it that way.

3guysandarock 12-05-2013 08:30 PM

If you want still cider you can bottle it, just keep it cold. I don't think there's any way to get sparkling cider without the risk of exploding bottles with this method.

Paps 12-05-2013 08:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gilligan (Post 5719596)
Two questions:

I. I don't want the yeast to strip all the apple flavor, as is suggested in some of the posts that I read here. If I wait for my preferred flavor profile and then rack the cider into a secondary carboy, would that really stop the fermentation? Won't there be billions of yeast cells in suspension that would simply multiply and resume their feast? I used so much sugar because I hoped the yeast would quit before using all of it - I don't want a cider that is too dry and flavorless.

II. The cider is still as cloudy as the original unfiltered juice. Is it too late for me to dump some pectic enzyme into the carboy? Would it help if I add the enzyme to the secondary carboy when I rack this cider from primary?

I. Racking does NOT stop fermentation.But it does slow it down temporarily.
Once it hits your desired flavor/sweetness profile you can pasturise to kill off the yeast.If this is not possible you will NEED to keep your bottles extremely cold (almost freezing) to keep the yeast in a dormant state.I personally suggest using a champagne bottle or beer bottle for anything that might potentially become carbonated.(thicker glass that is less prone to shattering)

II. When you do get around to racking try using a product called K.C. Super-Kleer. I cannot state enough how well this stuff works for hard cider.This stuff works within 24-hours and you will see noticable results within 2-3 hours.


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