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Old 09-05-2011, 11:59 PM   #1
Yukon_Cornelius
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first post on the board! I'm working on my first batch of hard cider. My girlfriend and I were given the opportunity to pick an entire bushel of heirloom Winesap apples for free! Using an antique cider press we spent an afternoon, washing, chopping, mashing, and pressing the apples ending with 5 gallons of juice. After a lot of research we added 5 crushed campden tablets and let the juice sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours we added some pectic enzyme and let the juice go for another 2 hours. Finally we added 1 pound of corn sugar, 2 pounds of brown sugar, some yeast nutrients, and dry pitched a pack of Red Star Champagne yeast. We got a SG reading of 1.101 to start. It took about 36 hours to start, but now our airlock is bubbling at about 130 bubbles per minute. We have high hopes for this project and hope we have found a new hobby to teach us both a lesson in patience. Any tips or questions are welcomed and appreciated.


We will be calling this batch " Yukon Cornelius' Northern Conquest 2011

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:01 AM   #2
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Welcome to the addiction. Just remember, unlike abominables, fermentors don't bounce.

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:15 AM   #3
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Sounds like you're on the right path to making some nice stuff. With that high of a starting gravity and considering you used champagne yeast, it sounds like you'll end up with a product closer to apple wine. I know, I'm splitting hairs.

In any case, thanks for posting and keep us updated with your progress. Hopefully you and your girlfriend are rewarded with some tasty brew when it's all said and done!

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Old 09-06-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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we're trying more for a high-gravity cider and less for an apfelwein. We went with the champagne yeast, just for the yeast's "staying power" in relation to the potential alcohol and hopefully high ending gravity. The plan is to ferment for 2 weeks or so in primary, rack it to a secondary for another 2 weeks or so to help clear it up. During this time, depending on sweetness and flavor, we might possibly add some xylitol to sweeten it up, after all we are going for a sweet fizzy cider. After some time in secondary we're gonna back-carb it into flip-top bottles using dextrose as our primer, and then down into the basement for a time.

here's a question I have. The GF wants to use some Blueberry essence and concentrate we picked up at our LHBS in some of the bottles. I know from reading that any flavor additives should be done when racking to secondary. What would we end up with if we added some to just a few bottles during bottling? Would it be a disaster?

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Old 09-06-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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that advice is probably to prevent you from adding it to the primary, where flavors tend to get lost. as long as it doesn't have a lot of fermentable sugar i don't see why not add it to bottles. it will probably not be clear by the time you bottle, but you can let it clear in the bottles and just be careful pouring (personally i would leave it longer in both primary and secondary before bottling)
champagne yeast will chug through a lot of sugar, i'd expect a very low ending gravity- you'll be pushing 15% alcohol, that's gonna take a good while to mellow in your basement- give it time

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:38 AM   #6
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So after 3 days of bubbling away like mad, our airlock has slowed to about 5 bubbles per minute. Any ideas or pointers? whats going wrong? I'm getting nervous!

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Old 09-07-2011, 01:53 AM   #7
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so it looks like something contaminated our 1st batch. Went to the girlfriend's house to inspect the batch, and to my disappointment, the cider has taken on a horrible hue, about the shade of organic apple cider vinegar. Investigating further, the SG is 0. no reading at all. and the batch truly has become apple cider vinegar. Devastating! so much hard work, and it looked so promising for the past 3 days, even this morning it looked and smelled great but alas it has become fouled. We will not quit, we have a local cider house and tomorrow we are going to pick up 5 gallons from them and start another batch.

Any ideas on what went wrong?

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Old 09-07-2011, 03:36 AM   #8
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Not sure if it could have become vinegar this fast. Did you taste it? If so, did it have a vinegar taste, or was it more like awful rocket fuel? Do you see any floaties on the top?

What you should be hoping for is rocket fuel; that 15% will taste like that for a good long while.

I don't suggest dumping this batch; make sure there's an airlock on there, throw in the right amount of campden, and wait it out.

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Old 09-07-2011, 06:38 AM   #9
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agree with kittyfeet, it sounds like it has gone about right.... vinegar takes a very long time unless you innoculate with acetobacter and bubble oxygen through it. you have yourself some space age rocket fuel. personally i would rack it to a secondary vessel/vessels to get it away from air, something without any headspace, forget the campden, and forget about it for a long time. it's done fermenting but it ain't done yet

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #10
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it tasted awful, just like organic cider vinegar. our fermentation temp was at 65 degrees, and given the amount of sugar we put in , I don't believe it would be done fermenting after only 60 hours.The color changed completely as well. we're starting fresh tomorrow with cider from a local cider house. I think her younger brother might have snooped where he shouldnt have... I will let it sit and see if it begins to clarify, but honestly from everything i've seen and read something is not right.

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