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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Getting ready to attempt my first batch, does this seem right?
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
bfinleyui
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Default Getting ready to attempt my first batch, does this seem right?

Backstory: I've done 6 or 7 batches of homebrew beer, with relative success.

I'm getting married in just under 6 months. I plan on having homebrew at my rehearsal, as well as in the welcome bags at the hotel (probably wax dipped, to appease the pinterest-heavy SWMBO).

I thought it might be good to have cider available for those who aren't beer drinkers.

I've spent most of the morning reading up, and settled on the KISS recipe, but wanted to make sure I understand the process correct, as a whole, before I go willy nilly.

1. Stir plate 400ml of juice, 100 grams of sugar for 15 minutes, add nottingham, another 30, then let sit for a few hours.

2. Buy a bunch of juice, without preservatives. Overall, it doesn't appear to matter what brand, as long as it doesn't have preservatives (Sorbates). Mott's is likely the most widely available.

3. Dump juice and some sugar into carboy to get to ~1.080. Dextrose vs table sugar? Does it matter? Table sugar's obviously cheaper....

4. Add the starter, airlock, put someplace ~65-68 for about a week.

5. When the gravity hit 1.040, add some malic acid, probably less than the recipe calls for, at least for my first time. Bottle it, with one coke bottle to help check carb level without having to waste bottles of hooch until i'm close.

6. After about a week, it should be carbed, stove pasteurize based on the thread here, which will kill the yeast to prevent bottle bombs.

7. Let sit for ????????? before enjoying?



Am i missing anything here? It seems really, really simple, and really really hard to fudge up...

The other thing, I have a 5 gallon better bottle available right now, but I'm used to beer where you need ~1 gallon headspace for krazy krausen activity. How much volume should I put into a 5 gallon BB to avoid overflow?

Thanks

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Congratulations! I just got married a couple years ago, and I'm glad I'm not in your shoes. I had to do most of the planning, etc. as SWMBO doesn't like planning anything past tomorrow.

That all sounds about right. I'd just like to point out I've only made cider once though. We did nickname it the panty dropper, because it was so tasty and had a high abv (8.4%).

3. I would just use corn sugar. At my LHBS it is only $1 a lb, so it's not that much more expensive than table sugar. I hear guys on here always seem to recommend it over table sugar too.

6. I would make a test batch before, (you have plenty of time as cider is pretty easy) and test whether you like it better carbed/still. My first and only cider actually tasted MUCH better still, and it's a whole lot easier to just throw some campden tablets in it to kill the yeast at bottling, than it is to stovetop pasteurize.

7. I don't think cider has to age, like beer does. IME it actually seemed best right after pasteurization. If it goes too long, I have heard it can get vinegary, although after 1 1/2 months, my cider still tastes great, but I think it tasted slightly better right after pasteurization.

I think a 5 gallon BB is actually 5.5 gallons, but I have not verified this. At any rate, cider doesn't really have the crazy krausen of some beers, i.e., mine had 0. I would just start with a blow off tube to be safe, and I think you'll be okay.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:20 PM   #3
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First off, the type of sugar does matter. Dextrose will taste much better than table sugar. Regular table sugar us known to produce off flavors. You can still use it, but be warned. Brown sugar is also popular, but for the best flavor dextrose is your best bet.


as for leaving head space. You can leave a few inches for the first few days to avoid it foaming over. But if you do, make sure you top it up as soon as it calms down. If you leave a large head space, you are inviting an infection in. You will be safest if you top it right up so that it is up to the neck, reducing the surface area exposed to the air.

You will not get a krausen if you are using store bought juice, are adding sugar, or fermenting at a decent temperature. There is quite a process to getting a krausen. Unless you are actually trying to get one by following the necessary steps, you are very unlikely to get one. You might get an active fermentation with a foamy head, but that is all.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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One other thing. If you are testing carbonation with a plastic bottle, it probably won't be as carbed as you think. My bottle was pretty hard (about like a pop bottle) when I did mine, but it still seemed a little undercarbed. Check it every day, and once it gets good and hard, maybe let it go an extra day or so. Maybe there's better info on here on when to pasteurize, I only did this once.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Top it up, with more juice?

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:21 PM   #6
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I'm also reading that cider made from juice that was pasteurized can't be stored as long? Is that still the case, or am I reading old info from an older thread?

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Old 01-07-2013, 07:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfinleyui View Post
Top it up, with more juice?
yes, more juice = more cider!

You can start it off in a primary bucket and reduce the chances of a blow over. You can use a blowover tube, or you can start with a large head space, and then top it up with more juice later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverendj1 View Post
6. I would make a test batch before, (you have plenty of time as cider is pretty easy) and test whether you like it better carbed/still. My first and only cider actually tasted MUCH better still, and it's a whole lot easier to just throw some campden tablets in it to kill the yeast at bottling, than it is to stovetop pasteurize.
Campden tablet do not kill off yeast. This myth has been floating around for years, constantly agrued, and keeps coming back. I thought this was true when I first started brewing. I was following some online instructions that told me this would work. I tried it, and it didn't stop anything (1 tablet in aprox. 3/4 gallon). I panicked and added a double dose (another 2 tablets in 3/4 gallon) and it seemed to have stopped. I then bottled it into a flip cap bottles (thankfully).

One year later my wife put one of my flip top bottle (unopened) sideways in a wine rack. The next week there was a pool of mead under my wine rack and the bottle was 1/2 empty. I checked the mead that was left, and it was heavily carbonated.

DO NOT use campden tablets to stop fermentation, it does not work! It can create bottle bombs which are dangerous!
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfinleyui View Post
I'm also reading that cider made from juice that was pasteurized can't be stored as long? Is that still the case, or am I reading old info from an older thread?
I've never heard of this... Maybe someone else will know. My cider doesn't usually last more then 3 months, so I can't say...
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #9
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DO NOT use campden tablets to stop fermentation, it does not work! It can create bottle bombs which are dangerous!
Thank you for providing this information and correcting me! I have not used campden tablets myself, but I had heard this misinformation repeated often. I will definitely remember this next time I do a cider (as I was going to use them). Is there anything else that you can use, aside from stovetop pasteurization?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfinleyui View Post
I'm also reading that cider made from juice that was pasteurized can't be stored as long? Is that still the case, or am I reading old info from an older thread?
This is old/bad information, pasteurizing juice has no effect on aging.


Just a heads up, bottling at 1.040 will result in a crazy sweet cider, like dessert wine sweet. The sweetest commercial ciders rarely top 1.030, and carbonation will consume 0.003-0.004 SG, leaving around 1.036 or around 9% residual sugar in your finished cider. You may want to let it ride a little longer depending on your guest's preferences, or not!
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