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Old 10-23-2009, 04:13 PM   #1
shrews
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Default First time cider brew question.

So this is my first time ever doing any kind of homebrew so I'm not sure if my questions are obvious or not but here I go.

Just a little bit of background info:

  • I started this whole thing 10 days ago.
  • I used 30 pounds of fresh picked apples that I juiced myself.
  • I used Lalvin 1118 Wine / Champaign yeast.
  • Also used some yeast nutrient.
  • There is about 8 - 10 liters of cider in total (yes I know the container was too big but it was well sterilized to prevent any molds or anything from growing)
  • Also used 1 cup white sugar + 1 cup of brown sugar.

Now my question is that it's only been 10 days and the cider seems to have almost completely finished the fermentation process. It's only bubbling at a rate of maybe once per minute. Is this normal and is it ready for bottle and re-rack it?

Also, this is how it looks now.



I think it looks okay but I'm not sure how to deal with all the stuff that's dropped down to the bottom without mixing it all up. Is it okay for some of that stuff to get into the finished bottles or?

Also how would you go about siphoning the cider out of the bottle without infecting it?


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Old 10-23-2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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Have you measured the Specific Gravity (SG) ?



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Old 10-23-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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No, Sir. I don't actually know what I would need to measure that.

I should mention that this was mostly just a test batch before I really get into things and buying any equipment that may help me down the road. I figured that if it comes out good I might like to get more into this homebrew thing.

Is it possible to just questimate if it's ready?

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Old 10-23-2009, 06:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrews View Post
No, Sir. I don't actually know what I would need to measure that.

I should mention that this was mostly just a test batch before I really get into things and buying any equipment that may help me down the road. I figured that if it comes out good I might like to get more into this homebrew thing.

Is it possible to just questimate if it's ready?
I am certainly no expert... I am currently brewing for the first time as well but I have learned a lot from this forum already. A hydrometer will measure the SG and tell you several things.

Read This:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Hydrometer

And This:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Specific_gravity

I bought one for $6 at the local brew store.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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That looks interesting, and the hydrometer is definitely cheaper than I thought it would be.

But give when the Specific Gravity page says, wouldn't I need to have measured my cider before fermentation to compare to it's current reading?

Also, even if that's not the case it still brings me back to my dilemma of actually getting the cider out without disturbing the stuff in the bottom as best I can.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:00 PM   #6
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Give it a taste and see if you like it. If so then cold crash and rack it. It could get really dry using EC-1118 so if you want a little sweetness and apple taste you need to stop the fermentation when it gets to the point of it tasting good to you.

Hydrometers are cheap and really helpful.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:07 PM   #7
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I'm not entirely sure on all the terminology yet. Cold crash is just cooling it down to a point that the yeast can no longer continue fermenting, right? Do I just put it in the fridge to bring it down to that temperature? And will that kill the yeast entirely or is there something else I should use like campden to stop the fermentation process when it tastes good?

And again, how on earth do I get this stuff out of the bottle most efficiently without disturbing all the stuff on the bottom? What does everyone else do? And is it okay if small amounts get into the racked product?

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:17 PM   #8
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You use a racking cane and clear plastic tube to siphon it out of the primary and into the secondary. If putting in bottles (355ml) you get a 'bottling wand' that has a little valve on one end and connects to the racking cane and tube. All three combined are super cheap. I think I paid $10 the last time for all three.

The racking cane allows you to siphon from toward the middle, and move downward as the primary empties. Once you get really close to the end, you just leave some sacrificial product in the bottom with the lees (the sediment). Then you 'cold crash' the secondary in the fridge. More stuff will precipitate out and fall to the bottom after 1-2 days. Should be pretty clear at this point.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:18 PM   #9
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Sterilize your tubing and start a siphon. I have something called and Auto-Siphon of which I have only played around with a little, but seems to get the siphon going easily... and you can control where the end of it is pulling from. It looks like you can pick one up for about $12.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:35 PM   #10
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Thanks guys. I called my local brew shop and they have some racking canes there for $3.

So basically getting just a little bit of sediment into the bottles is inevitable?

Anyways, you guys have been very helpful. Thank you.



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