I will head over shortly to the introductions section of the forum and introduce myself properly but I wanted to get my thoughts organized.. I don't know if this is the right place for my questions so let me know if I'm in the wrong spot
A little back story: hubby moved from England to the US about a month ago, been pining for some Thatcher's Gold ever since. He doesn't care for any of the hard cider brands available in our local liquor stores. I've been toying with the idea of cheese making and beer brewing for quite some time, and decided we may as well add cider to the starting lineup and jump on in while apples are still in season. Last weekend, we went to the local homebrew store and picked up - and forgive me if I'm wrong in any of the name of this stuff - 2 1-gallon carboys, bungs, airlocks, plastic tubing, pectic enzyme, campden tablets, a hydrometer, tubing, and recommended by the brew store guy some Cote something or other Dry Wine yeast. Then we went and picked up a gallon of my favorite heat pasteurized apple cider from our local orchard.
So far - we crushed up a campden tablet, put it in and rubber banded a paper towel around it. Waited 24 hours. Dropped in a half tsp of pectic enzyme, waited an hour. Sterilized the heck out of everything but the pectic enzyme measuring teaspoon (oops).. poured the apple cider into a glass jug. Put about a gram and a half of the yeast in about a quarter of a cup of hot tap water.. Let that sit for about 15 minutes, dumped it in the cider. Insert bung, insert airlock, put in utility room.
12 hours later, there doesn't seem to be much action other than about an inch of crap settling at the bottom. I know we're supposed to wait, but ... what are we waiting for? Bubbles?
I'm worried it was a little bubbly from the Star San. We got as much as we could out and let it air dry for an hour but there was still bubbles. When we poured the campden - cider - pectic concoction into the carboy, it got REALLY bubbly - to the tune of it coming out the top of the carboy
How can I prevent this in future batches?
My yeast says 50-65 degrees, but our room is 68 degrees and there's no way to lower it. It's the coldest, most climate controlled room in the house. How will this affect the fermentation process?
Also, this is where I get very confused about the fermentation process. All the links I've read say stuff like "let it ferment til its done" sort of thing, but how are we meant to know when it's done? Can anyone tell me roughly how long we should expect til we have to rack it?
Also, which method of carbonation would you say is the most fool proof for the absolute beginner?
Thank you in advance for any handy advice