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Old 07-20-2007, 12:30 AM   #1
Hammilton
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Howdy, I'm new here, but odds are I'll be around a long time.

I'm in the process of testing out a new apple blend that, assuming it tastes as good fermented as it does now, is going to be great.

I've always had a love for Cider since I was little and my parents would go on "apple runs" to an apple growing region in our state (Wisconsin).

I did everything by hand- including using a blender to 'juice' the apples I cut into slices.

I let that sit in the fridge for two days, then used a sterile (or as close I could possibly get) unused square from a T-shirt I never wore as a filter- just poured the blended apple mush in the center, pulled up the corners and squeased the hell out of it, collecting it in to a pyrex basin.

It was actually pretty easy. With 24 apples I had enough juice to fill about 80% of a 96oz-capacity apple juice bottle (that had been sterilized by pouring boiling water in, draining it, and then microwaving (with the water that remained in) for 2 minutes.

I then froze my juice for a day or two, and now it's slowly thawing in the fridge, in expectance of the yeast I had to order.

I thought I had some Cider yeast around here, but it turns out I don't. Apparently I grabbed champagne yeast by accident when I was at the local homebrewery supply (well, it wasn't that local), and I don't particularly enjoy dry cider.

I have a few questions-

how long am I to leave the juice fermenting- until it stops entirely, or just when it's slowed to a near stop?

I'm going to be bottling in champagne bottles and wire-tied corks and I want carbonated cider, so, if I'm to leave the fermenting to a complete halt, do I simply add a small bit of sugar to get it going again? Probably not, right- if I'm going for a sweeter wine, there'll be a measure of sugar remaining anyway, correct?

I figure that I need to add some more yeast instead, but how much to avoid a dry cider- and should I also some sugar? What kind?

Anything else would be greatly appreciated. I'm a total neophyte here. I've only made dandelion wine in the past as a cheap way to obtain alcohol while underage, but that's not something I enjoyed or'll try again.

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Old 07-20-2007, 01:01 AM   #2
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Wow- lots of questions! Welcome to HBT. I hope you can find most of the answers around here.

First of all, I'm not much of a cider maker, so I'm speaking from wine experience. Other cider makers will be better equipped to answer specifically but I can give you the general thoughts.

I'm a big believe in using a hydrometer- a fairly cheap instrument that measures the specific gravity of a liquid. In general, the higher the sg, the higher the fermentables. That's handy to know so you know how much sugar to add, and when the fermentation is finished.

Yes, in general, you ferment the cider until it's finished and clear. If you're looking for a sweet cider, that may depend on more than your yeast. For example, champagne yeast has an alcohol tolerance of about 18%. That would mean that anything under 18% alcohol would finish dry. That's a real high ABV for a cider and would take years to age out. Still, that's not necessarily a problem. If you want a sweet cider, I'd recommend thinking about sweetening with an unfermentable sweetener- that would be splenda or lactose or the like.

The whole concept is basically this- if you want, you can stop the yeast from fermenting any more and sweeten with sugar. But, then it wouldn't carbonate. If you have kegging equipment, you could force carb. your cider. It's kind of a choice between carbonated and sweetened if you are thinking of using fermentables like honey or sugar.

I would suggest adding a tsp of pectic enzyme if you used fresh apples- this will aid in clearing your cider. It will remain cloudy if you don't, because of all the pectin in apples.

You talked about adding sugar to carbonate- that is exactly how you do it. It's called "priming" and usually about 5 ounces is about right for 5 gallons.

I've had a couple of beers tonight, so I'm a bit foggy. If I think of anything else, I'll add it later!

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Old 07-20-2007, 12:15 PM   #3
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Lots of debate on the types of yeast used and the flavors they impart. If you want to hit the range of a cider (about 8%) you can use the wine yeast and it will ferment it completely dry then as lorena said use a none fermentable sugar to back sweeten.

Using a cider yeast or even a beer yeast you can judge where it will overwhelmed by the alch and then use your sugar to carb and sweeten. There are lots of postings around the net on Cider.

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