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Old 10-14-2009, 08:00 PM   #1
missfebruary
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Default First time cider-er. To Press, or not to Press?

So, i've never brewed anything before in my life. Just moved back to the farm and decided to raid the trees to make some cider.

I've gone down to the home brew shop and picked up all the nutrients and a starter kit with a carboy and all that fun stuff. As far as i'm concerned i've got everything I need to get this show on the road. I've been researching lots over the net about how to go about preparing the apples and all that fun stuff.

Basically i've got two different suggestions and i'm trying to figure out what would be the best.

1.) Cut, core, and freeze apples. Defrost and mash into the sterile bucket add nutrients, and yeast 24 hrs later, and leave it at that until ready to switch to carboy.

2.) chuck apples in press and mash. Put juice and nutrients in sterile bucket, and yeast 24 hrs later. Only question about this step is do the cores still have to be removed?

Any input or tips for either method is appreciated!

Help!!

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Old 10-14-2009, 08:51 PM   #2
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I would skip the nutrients unless you want a really dry cider.

If you dont use any apples that have been on the ground, wash the apples, discard any bad ones, cut out any rotten spots, and sanitize your press, then you dont need campden or k-meta either. Your juice will be more appley and will be drinkable sooner if you dont chemically sterilize it first - but you will need to take more care with prep

Dont worry about cores, seeds, etc. Just worry about bad apples.

See the sticky for more details. What type of apples have you got?

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Old 10-15-2009, 12:52 AM   #3
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apparently my replys before didn't work?

For apple types I have Golden Delicious, Macs, and Spartan. I've gone ahead and cut out the cores and bad spots for my first batch, but i guess i'll skip that part next time. However the apples I have are definitely organic and have a fair amount of coddling moth in them. Guess I'll have to be incredibly selective. If they're being cut up its easy enough to cut that stuff out. But its also a lot more time consuming.

As for nutrients..... so basically skip all that crap just be sure to sanitize the press. Should I use the sanitizer that came in my brewing set that is to be used for the bucket and carboy?

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Old 10-15-2009, 04:21 AM   #4
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Its much easier to use juice than pulp, specially if you don't have much experience. My main concern is always to be sure the apples are fully ripe. The traditional way to judge this is to wait till 1/3 of the apples have dropped to the ground, though CvilleKevin doesn't approve. Apples ripe enough to eat won't necessarily make good cider, they need to be as ripe as possible.

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Old 10-15-2009, 08:30 AM   #5
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I just did my first cider too, all from my own apples. I'm not very knowledgeable as far as cider goes, but I can tell you that I used method #2 and things seem to be doing fine. Basically, I did it the way CKevin mentioned- cut out the rotten stuff but left everything else in (skins, core, etc). The press I used wasn't washed exceptionally well so I'm a little worried about that but otherwise things are fine. I would recommend grinding / pulping them quite fine before you press them, as you will get a LOT more juice out if you press finer pieces of apple.

As far as ripeness goes, I picked most of my apples about a week before I juiced them, and they still didn't seem completely ripe when I did juice them. They were still ripe enough to eat. I tasted the juice and it was amazingly sweet despite this. I got a SG of 1.071 . It's been fermenting for a bit and it still tastes great, full of apple flavor even though I used half my juice, half store bought juice.

Fresh pressed stuff blows even the local organic juice out of the water.

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Old 10-16-2009, 04:36 AM   #6
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Mmm.. fresh pressed. OK, so I was advised to freeze my prepared apples (so I did) and will defrost them tomorrow for the press. Apparently that'll help them mush up to get most of the juice out. Still a little confused about everything else but I guess i'll figure it out. I've got a little notebook im going to record every last detail in.. been reading lots of stuff on the site and i'm pretty much peeing myself in excitement right now.
Yaaaay!

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Old 10-16-2009, 04:44 AM   #7
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I have another question.... My recipe calls for apples/juice, sugar, pectic enzyme, energizer, campden tablet, and yeast.
Can anyone tell me what the hell energizer is?

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Old 10-16-2009, 05:24 AM   #8
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Energizer is yeast nutrient, which is mostly nitrogen. I would advice skipping it. All you need is apples, sugar if you want to bump the ABV, and yeast.

Nutrient will make your cider ferment faster and harder to stop with some residual sweetness. Unpasteurized ciders will clear on their own - you dont need pectic enzyme.

If you do good prep, you dont need to use campden tablets, although if you have a lot of moth maybe it would be better to grind the moths and use campden. If you use ground apples, use campden. Macs are good, I'm not familiar with Spartans. Are they tart? You will want some tart apples to mix in if you can get them, or else dont use so many golden delicious

Yes, you can use regular sanitizer, mix a gallon of it and wash your press down with it. Keep your press wet with the sanitizer for a minute before it dries.

As MrFishy said - the key to a good press is to mash or grind them real fine first

Once you have it in the carboy, the key is not to let all the natural apple sugar ferment off.

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Old 10-17-2009, 01:07 AM   #9
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Ahh, all good advice, thanks!! I guess i'll hold on the campden, then! Macs are good, indeed! And yes, Spartans are a bit tart.

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Old 10-17-2009, 06:19 AM   #10
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Are you freezing to pasteurize or something? I haven't tried that. Some people core and peel their apples, but it's not necessary. If you properly strain then it's just an extra step you have to go through. Also, if you crush your apples and let them sit before pressing, the bits will absorb tannins from the peels as it rests. I try not to strain my juice too fine, I just keep the bigger bits out with a screen. The rest will either stick to the top or rest with the lees at the bottom when racking off the primary.

The flavor and aroma changes with the layers of the apple as well. You can smell and taste the difference when you're closer to the skin, in the middle, and at the core of the apple. If you skin and core, you miss those flavors. It's ok if that's your intent.

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