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Old 01-10-2012, 04:27 AM   #1
Griffin10
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Default Griffin's First Cider: Bottled!

Hi All,

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice or reassurance on starting my First Cider - it is now bottled!!

Yesterday was day 21 of my cider. It spent pretty much exactly 2 weeks in primary, then 1 week in secondary. I know it could probably do with a little more to mellow out, but I am too darn impatient to try my first batch! When I racked into secondary it was at 1.002, and when I went to take it out of secondary it was 1.000 even.

My secondary was in three one gallon jugs, and jug #3 kept bubbling a little bit (my guess because it was from the bottom of the carboy closer to the lees?), so to get a nice homogenous batch, I racked from secondary back into my carboy to add the sugar. I added 2 cans frozen AJ, and the SG went up to 1.022 - tasted it and it was pretty sweet if you only pay attention to the sweet and not the fairly strong alcohol bite. I'm hoping it will kinda even out in the bottles.

From here I'm planning to check a bottle in a day or two and see if it is a good carb/sweet balance, then take a shot at stovetop pasteurizing. Since I'm not doing the PET plastic bottle that many of you seem to do, is there any other way to tell how carbonation is going? Will it look bubbly inside without opening? I don't have too many bottles and I'd rather not have to open 2 or 3 of em over the next week just to see if the carbonation is right.

Thanks!

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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Honestly, I'd just wait it out! If your supply is limited just wait 3 weeks and test it then.

If you can't wait, bide your time by starting a new batch!

You probably won't take this advice. I'm not sure I would myself. Just know that cider may carb slow, so don't be disappointed if it's not quite right. Do yourself a favor and hang on to a bottle or two for a couple of months and see how it has changed. Good luck!

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Old 01-10-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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no offense but that is bad advice; in 3 weeks your 1.022 cider is going to be a 0.990 puddle + shards of broken glass. as far as i know there's no way of knowing when it's ready in a glass bottle other than testing...

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Old 01-10-2012, 12:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinnerstick View Post
no offense but that is bad advice; in 3 weeks your 1.022 cider is going to be a 0.990 puddle + shards of broken glass. as far as i know there's no way of knowing when it's ready in a glass bottle other than testing...
This. You will definitely have to pasteurize your bottles to avoid having bombs. Check out the sticky at the top of the cider forum for a great guide. Whenever I bottle I also fill a 0.5L plastic soda bottle and periodically open and take an SG reading. When it has dropped around 0.004 the cider will have around 3+ Vols of CO2 (can't find the link but that's what I remember) and it's time to Pasteurize.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinnerstick View Post
in 3 weeks your 1.022 cider is going to be a 0.990 puddle + shards of broken glass. as far as i know there's no way of knowing when it's ready in a glass bottle other than testing...
This is precisely what I'm afraid of - especially since this cider went from OG of 1.056 to 1.002 in two weeks flat, three weeks to carb in the bottles just seems like too long.

In light of this, despite my best (uneducated) guess that it didn't look ready, I opened a bottle today just to see. It's been 3 days since bottling and it had a small hiss when it opened, but no real bubbles in pouring or anything. I was happy to find that the flavor had started to mellow out though - not as harsh of an alcohol bite in the beginning or the sickening sweet aftertaste from all the AJ concentrate. I figure this is going to be an imprecise science for me, and when it tastes good and hopefully a little carbonated will be when I pasteurize.

I'm proud to say I read all 40 some-odd pages of the sticky pasteurizing thread, although it probably just resulted in a bit of fear and I'll pasteurize when it is slightly under-carbonated to be on the safe side, but I can deal with that.

One question: I'll open a new bottle each time I decide to test, but will the other tested bottles (from which I removed just a small taste, or at most enough for a hydrometer test) be close enough to the same levels to pasteurize at the same time? Or did they "lose" some carbing time due to being opened?
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:00 AM   #6
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They will lose carbonation after you open it up. I bet it's best consumed at that point but I've never tried to recap one.

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Old 01-26-2012, 01:30 AM   #7
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By the way, the bottles ended up sitting for exactly 1 week before we decided to pasteurize. They were maybe even a little under carbonated, but I didn't want to risk it. So away we went!

16 bottles and no incidents - I call it a win!

We managed to wait one more week after that to open them up and try, and they were good!!! I was really just hoping to be drinkable, but I'd call them surprisingly good for a first try. Good enough also for my husband to drink a majority of the eight 22 oz bottles we opened that night with friends and get completely tanked, haha.

Thanks everyone for all the help and advice to make my first batch or cider a success!!!

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinnerstick View Post
no offense but that is bad advice; in 3 weeks your 1.022 cider is going to be a 0.990 puddle + shards of broken glass. as far as i know there's no way of knowing when it's ready in a glass bottle other than testing...
Uggh. Thank you for catching that. I missed the 1.022 part of the equation. Totally glossed over the whole "added more concentrate business". I guess that's the power of a forum. Many eyes on the prize.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #9
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Congratulations Griffin on a job well done!

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:37 PM   #10
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Excellent job!

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