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Old 07-05-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
DanMalleck
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Default Gravity, juice and bottle priming

I've been brewing for a while but just tried cider last autumn. I apologize for the long question, but am a little stuck on the end of the cider fermentation process. And, as you will see, I was slack in record keeping. But I could really use a little input.

I began with 3 gallons of unpasteurized cider back in September. The OG was 1.045, which seemed low, so I added--get this--1lb of white sugar. Yes, I know, that was a lot. Too much, I found out from my cider vendor later. I calculated that this pushed the gravity up to an OG of 1.060 (45ppg in a lb of sugar=15 points in 3 gallons)

It fermented down to 1.003, but was very solventy. Surprise, surprise, given the ridiculous amount of sugar.

So I added another gallon of cider at 1.045, or 45 ppg sometime in January.

Stupidly, I did not check the gravity after adding the cider. I figure this added 11.25 points to the batch (as I calculate it, adding a gallon of 45 points to 3 gallons divides 45 points by 5 gallons, so 45/4=11.25 would push the gravity up to 1.014.

I checked the gravity in June. It was 0.950. Tasted better, but I wanted to try to boost the flavour and deal with some of the remaining solventy character. So I added 2.7L (approx 2/3G) at 1.048 (I calculate this to be a 34 ppg addition) of unpasteurized apple juice

Again, I didn't check the gravity of this addition. But by my calculation it would push it up to 0.984 or so. This is approximately what I measured today when I took a grav reading, a month after adding the juice.

If these final calculations are correct, this means the apple juice I added a few weeks back did not ferment. This is probably because at about 14%, this is too strong for the yeast I used initially (Nottingham dry yeast).

I want to add champagne yeast when I bottle, so that there is some yeast strong enough to carbonate this cider a bit, but I figure that this yeast will eat up the sugar from that later apple juice addition.

I don't want to make bottle bombs, so can anyone suggest how I can calculate a priming sugar addition that will take into consideration the points from the apple juice. I'm sure it's a complex calculation.

If you've made it through all these calculations and are still reading, you're awesome! Any help?

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Old 07-05-2011, 11:32 PM   #2
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I'm not great with ABV calculations, I ballpark it. But 0.950 does not sound right at all, I've never seen anything lower than 0.995 when homebrewing. 0.950 is the specific gravity of straight vodka.

Next time you want to get the 'solventy' taste (which I assume you mean as a 'rocket fuel', strong alcohol taste, not oxidation or infection which can cause a solvent taste similar to nailpolish remover) just let it age a bit. The higher the ABV is, the longer you will need to age it until it mellows out

I would add some champagne yeast with the regular priming amount but to be safe follow the pasteurising thread by Pappers which is stickied at the top of the forum.

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Old 07-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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Default Good suggestions

thanks for the comments, and for pointing me to the pasteurization post. That will help with the bottle bomb issue, and may allow me to deal with the question in the last paragraph of this reply (see below).

As for the solventy taste, I'm pretty sure it's not an infection, because it has not intensified over the 6-8 months, but it tastes more like pure alcohol, probably the result of the sugar, which is 100% fermentable. Also, it's been 8 months, how much longer would it take for that taste to mellow out?

Finally, does anyone know what kind of store bought cider or apple juice would add tartness? Most ciders or juices I can get are sweet, but my friend (for whom the cider has been made) prefers the tartness of some English ciders.

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Old 07-06-2011, 02:53 PM   #4
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The general 'rule' is usually about 3 months for 4-5 % ABV and then an extra month for each point thereafter. For tartness try adding a small amount of citric acid to a glass of cider. When you get to a point that you like, multiply it out for your batch size.

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Old 07-06-2011, 09:00 PM   #5
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bottle it and forget about it for a few months. Time cures all!

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Old 07-16-2011, 08:24 PM   #6
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I should clarify. This has been sitting for eight months. I did set it aside and forget it. It is still not clear. I have added polyclar and it is still not clear. Ive resigned myself to cloudy first time cider.

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