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Old 09-06-2011, 03:32 AM   #1
zoomusikgrl
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Default first time brewing anything- the great "cider" experiment

hello all! i am three days into my very first home brewing experiment.

so i've been on this urban homesteading kick all year- lacto fermented pickles, homemade bread, wild yeast bread starter, home grown veggies, farmers cheese, etc etc. during which time, my roommate gave me one of those "spike your juice" kits (i know, i know, bear with me!). we tried it with store bought juice. it was disgusting, we drank a glass and tossed the rest.

the other day i decided- why not try it with fresh pressed juice? i'm interested in learning how to make my own booze, i have the kit already, why the hell not. i can't possibly be the first person on the internet to attempt to use this kit with unpasteurized juice. and either way, i'm only out the cost of a bag of apples.

so i did a little reading about home brewed hard cider. i pressed 16 gala apples from the farmers market in my breville juicer (filtering out as much froth as i could), sterilized a half gallon plastic bottle, added 3/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of raw honey, pitched the "magical" yeast, and stuck in the bung and airlock. (i was out of brown sugar, i hope the white sugar wasn't a mistake.)

the kit says this stuff is drinkable after 48 hours, but i'm at 56 hours and the yeast is still churning away, so i guess it's not done fermenting. there is a krausen formed, and everything below that is going in a constant circular motion.

the airlock was getting kinda gross with all the bubbling going on, and i was starting to see a few fruit flies, so i rinsed it, filled it back up with vodka, wrapped it in saran wrap, and moved the bottle into a cabinet. the smell when i took the top off was pleasant, faintly apple-y. i also stuck a turkey baster in below the top layer and tried a small sip- and it was sweet but not fizzy.

i know these forums frown upon making hooch. i just had this thing on hand and figured it would be an easy way to dip my toe into the home brewing pool without any investment. i've got my fingers crossed that this comes out better than the ocean spray flavored nightmare we made last time haha.

(also, the bung and cylinder airlock from this kit are from buon vino manufacturing company, in case anyone was curious. still trying to determine what sort of yeast it is.)

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Old 09-06-2011, 06:31 AM   #2
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i have no idea what this kit is, but if it is an airlock and some random yeast, then- hey you've got yourself an airlock! and if you ferment fresh apple juice, you will have something nice in time, regardless of the vessel, as long as it's cleanish and doesn't let in bugs. 48 hours is optimistic but in 48 days it could be on its way. addition of all the extra sugar will mean it will taste boozy, but i will hazard a guess that you are going for that anyways due to your use of the h-word. next time get a 3, 4 or 5L glass wine jug if the stopper fits (easy enough to order another stopper and airlock for a few bucks), get a wine or ale yeast, juice them apples, leave some head space, when i ferment recently juiced apples it foams up like mad, sugar if you want something way above 6%- i don't, stick it away and forget it for a couple months (after you have watched if ferment of course), check back in. it's really easy

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Old 09-06-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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Sounds good. My 2c - forget about it for 3 months then be amazed.

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Old 09-12-2011, 02:25 AM   #4
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update! my "cider" stopped fermenting yesterday, so i put it in the fridge overnight. today i transferred it to a glass jug- i poured it through some cheesecloth and had a sip. it was super dry so i added 1/4 cup honey and threw a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves into the jug.

i've been reading a book on home brewing called "Strong Waters" (really fascinating!) so i am excited to have a new hobby.

as far as this particular batch goes- i live in an apartment over a restaurant, and it is pretty warm in here most of the time. i was planning on letting this jug live in the fridge for that reason, and also because i don't have any of those campden tablets yet so i wasn't sure what would happen to the cider if i left it out. is that going to affect this batch in a negative way? and should i still wait a few more months to drink it?

thanks for the advice

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Old 09-12-2011, 06:26 AM   #5
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if it is in a jug with a lot of airspace or is being opened regularly it is going to oxidize like a half-drunk bottle of wine. if you take it out of the fridge, it is going to start to ferment that honey, albeit far more slowly than your initial ferment, and you will need to airlock it. if it is in a jug with minimal head space and sealed or airlocked then you can keep it in the fridge essentially indefinitely. as a general rule, dry ciders are aged to smooth them out, back-sweetening sort of hides the young harshness and these ciders are often drunk young. one idea is to drink this one while making your next

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoomusikgrl View Post
i've been reading a book on home brewing called "Strong Waters" (really fascinating!) so i am excited to have a new hobby.)
I have the same book, and it's a great basic intro into home fermenting. Of course, as you will find reading in these forums and other sources that there is a lot more fine tuning to made a good cider. As most have already said, time is your friend.

The first batch I made from that book (the Basic Hard Cider) turned out pretty good, but it needed a good 6 weeks to mellow out (The first taste after fermentation tasted like a bad white wine with a harsh alcohol bite).

If you have some headspace I would add some more juice and airlock it, or stabilize it with campden tabs and let it sit for a good month.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:52 AM   #8
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Pappers, that *is* a great site.

unfortunately the airlock i have doesn't fit the jug, and it being a gallon jug, i had about a half gallon of airspace in there. left it out on the counter for a week and it cleared considerably. the flavor also mellowed a bit but it still tasted really boozy (i think i added WAY too much sugar initially).

i had started a second batch a week after this first one. it was another half gallon, this time using Jonomac apples, mixed frozen berries, and only a quarter cup of honey. it finished churning much faster- the first batch took 3 or 4 days longer. moved it into a half gallon jug- tasted it- WOW, what a difference. dry, but so flavorful! so my solution was to mix the two together. i'm gonna add a little frozen apple juice concentrate and drink it this weekend because i am impatient.

also found a homebrew supply store in my area, so now i can get some proper supplies and actually apply a little technique next time. SO glad i got into this right around harvest season.

also, this site is amazing. i have learned so much from scouring old threads. hats off to you all!

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Old 09-22-2011, 08:21 PM   #9
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I'm a newbie to brewing as well. I have 2 jugs of whole foods juice sitting on my counter next to a few airlocks and bungs, and some Salale-s04 in the fridge. I'm hoping to get things started tonight, but was scanning these posts for hints.

Where is the brew equipment store you are talking about? I see you are nearby in Rutherford. I drove out to south orange for my airlocks, but hoping to find someplace easier to get to for my next order. Maybe I'll try NYC.

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