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Old 08-21-2007, 05:41 AM   #1
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Default First Time Brewing Cider...

I tried to make some hard cider today. It's the first time I've tried to ferment anything so please be kind if I've done anything completely stupid.

I bought a 3 gallon carboy and ground a ton of apples down. After squeezing them, I ended up with a bit more than a gallon of cider. To that I added .6 lbs of brown sugar and .6 lbs of honey. It had a specific gravity of 1.10...

I wanted to fill up the carboy so I bought another gallon of pasteurized real apple juice and mixed a bit more brown sugar and honey until the entire batch had a specific gravity of 1.075

I mixed 1 pack of Muntons Active Brewing Yeast to it; threw in some cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Now it sits....

So can anyone give me some feedback?


[Edit] Image from Day 2

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Old 08-21-2007, 07:29 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if it's normal, but after around 1hr I haven't seen any bubbles... I'll let you know what it looks like tomorrow.

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Old 08-21-2007, 12:36 PM   #3
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Sounds fine so far! I'm not very familiar with Muntons yeast, though. You're actually in the wine sg area, so just remember to give it plenty of time to age. You'll probably need to rack it a few times and it might not clear very well since you used fresh apples and no enzyme to break it down. Still, it sounds like a winner!

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Old 08-21-2007, 02:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
Sounds fine so far! I'm not very familiar with Muntons yeast, though. You're actually in the wine sg area, so just remember to give it plenty of time to age. You'll probably need to rack it a few times and it might not clear very well since you used fresh apples and no enzyme to break it down. Still, it sounds like a winner!

Thanks for the reply. I had a few questions if you don't mind:
  • What does it mean to be in the sg area of wine vs. cider?
  • How long should it take to age.... 3 weeks?
  • What enzymes should be used to break down fresh apples?

I was a bit worried about it not fermenting so I put a little bit of red star slow rise baking yest in the cider. I probably shouldn't have, but it looks like it's doing something now... I think the Muntons might be a bottom fermenter.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:30 PM   #5
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First, cider is basically apple wine, just a few small differences in the process. It also has to do with the finished product. Here in Maine, cider can have a maximum ABV of 7%, over that and you have to call it wine.

Aging, 3 weeks is nothing, for a good cider, yer talking 6 - 12 months, racking every month or two. Leave it in the primary for a month or 2, then rack to secondary. Rack again whenever you see a good bit (1/2 inch or so) of sediment.

Pectic enzyme breaks down the cell walls of the fruit to allow it to yield more juice, easier.

And don't worry, give it a good 24 hours for fermentation to start, you'll see some action soon. But the baking yeast might not have been a good idea.

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Old 08-21-2007, 05:55 PM   #6
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There was probably enough wild yeast on those apples anyway. I'm not sure if that's good or bad though. If it were me, I would have pasteurized the cider at 180F for 20 minutes, then cooled and pitched.

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Old 08-21-2007, 08:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
There was probably enough wild yeast on those apples anyway. I'm not sure if that's good or bad though. If it were me, I would have pasteurized the cider at 180F for 20 minutes, then cooled and pitched.

You're probably right about the wild yeast. I got these apples from a tree that was blown down in a storm. I was thinking about pasteurizing the cider, but I've read that you shouldn't do this as it effect the taste in someway? I was also wondering if anyone has considered baking down apples instead of pressing them?

Since it takes so long for fermentation, I'm thinking of maybe trying to make some more...
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adolphus79
Aging, 3 weeks is nothing, for a good cider, yer talking 6 - 12 months, racking every month or two. Leave it in the primary for a month or 2, then rack to secondary. Rack again whenever you see a good bit (1/2 inch or so) of sediment.
What's the purpose of racking? I have a book on cider making and it just sounded like it was good for removing sediment from the final product.

Couldn't I just filter it after a few months without racking it if I wanted it clean?
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:13 PM   #9
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Muntons is a fast starter if you hydrated the yeast first. The bread yeast you added may give you a yeasty flavor in your cider. On your next one just add the yeast to 1 cup of about 90 degree water, wait 15 minutes and stir, wait 15 more minutes and swirl it around in the cup and add to the juice. It will usually start within about an hour and go real strong. I usually wait to fill the carboy completely full until about a week goes by as the Ale and lager yeast tend to do a lot of strong bubbling. Then top it off in a week with juice.

Racking does have other purposes besides removing sediment. Of course that is number 1 but the other is to remove it from the lees that will give your cider some off flavors. Your cider is milky at first because the yeast is suspended in the liquid. As the yeast replicates and starts the anerobic fermentation, it starts dying as it produces the alch. It then falls to the bottom. Some of the still active cells also fall because they become so enlarged and heavy. Many of the still active cells are still suspended however. After about 6 weeks the dead cells on the bottom start decaying and this is where those bad flavors will develop.

Even if you ran through a fine micron filter you would remove color before you could remove the off flavors. No worries yet as far as I can see. The cider will need about 6 weeks of sitting, I test the gravity at 4 weeks to see how she is progressing and unless it has reached the 996 gravity and it is crystal clear it stays in there. If at 6 weeks it is still cloudy it gets racked and it I rack it every 30 days until it is crystal clear. Once it has reached both the above or 6 weeks has passed I then rack it and attach an airlock for at least a few more weeks. I always test the gravity at rackings and taste. If it has finished I hit it with the sorbate and campden and let it sit for a couple days and take a gravity reading again. If no changes then sweeten to your taste and bottle within a few days or keg it to age.

There will be a difference with some age! Most notibly at about 3 or 4 months. So if you want to just rack every 30 days until 4 months has passed it will be great and should be very light in color.

Remember if you heat the apples or juice very hot it will set the pectin and it will never loose the haze without filtering. A tip for using fresh pressed juice is to add some pectic enzyme before adding the yeast and it will help it clear. Using Honey will also increase the time required to finish the cider, actually Cyser!

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Old 08-23-2007, 12:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgayer
...The cider will need about 6 weeks of sitting, I test the gravity at 4 weeks to see how she is progressing and unless it has reached the 996 gravity and it is crystal clear it stays in there. If at 6 weeks it is still cloudy it gets racked and it I rack it every 30 days until it is crystal clear. Once it has reached both the above or 6 weeks has passed I then rack it and attach an airlock for at least a few more weeks. I always test the gravity at rackings and taste. If it has finished I hit it with the sorbate and campden and let it sit for a couple days and take a gravity reading again. If no changes then sweeten to your taste and bottle within a few days or keg it to age.

There will be a difference with some age! Most notibly at about 3 or 4 months. So if you want to just rack every 30 days until 4 months has passed it will be great and should be very light in color.

Thanks for the reply! I took the specific gravity today and it fell from 1.075 to 1.045 in around a day or so... It started giving off a lot of Co2 after maybe 8hrs in the carboy.

I noticed you talked about having clear or light colored hard cider. Is it okay to have it a bit murky like beer if it has alcohol in it? I was thinking about bottling this batch in a month or so and hoping it would carbonate/age in the bottle?

Does a fall of 1.75 to 1.45 in SG mean it has around 4.1% alcohol right now?

I'm not trying to rush this too much, but would like to use it as a "look what I can do" example. That way I can get a ton of apples, and maybe grapes from my girlfriends parents who have an orchard. Her dad hasn't had a lot of luck with some of his wines. I'm sure if he tasted what this cider is like right now he would be impressed.

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