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Old 09-22-2012, 03:03 AM   #1
cjeanean
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Default I'm about to start my first batch! Can someone look at my plan before I go for it?

Yes, another newbie thread (shudder). I think I have a decent understanding of what I'm shooting for, though, so maybe I'm off to the right start. I would like to get this going tonight, so if one of you experts out there could take a look at my plan and let me know if it sounds like something that will work I'd appreciate it. I know I do need some pointers on the ingredients. Thanks!

Goal: Sweet Sparkling Hard Apple Cider
(like the cliche "sissy" sweet, don't bite my head off for that one, solely for illustrative purposes!)

Ingredients:
1. 15 quarts of pasteurized apple juice, no additives except Vit C (and water)
2. 4 lbs table sugar, which will be made into a simple syrup and cooled before adding to the juice (1 cup water/2 cups sugar, boil 10 minutes)
3. 2 5g packets of Lalvin 71B-1122 DRY yeast
4. Yeast energizer @ 1/2 tsp per gallon

Equipment:
1. 5 gallon recycling #1 bottle
2. No rinse sanitizer
3. Temporary airlock made from a plastic frosting piping tip (resembles the tip used for stuffing sausages) and a balloon.
4. #10 stopper
5. Funnel

Fermentation Process:
1. Clean everything
2. Make simple syrup and cool
3. Add 1/2 of juice
4. Add 1/2 of sugar
5. Mix well
6. Add other half of sugar and juice and mix again
7. Rehydrate yeast
8. Add rehydrated yeast
9. Add yeast energizer
10. Mix again
11. Stopper the bottle and keep an eye on it until the yeast drops out and mixture clarifies (keep it in a dark, moderately warm place)

Racking and Bottling Process:
1. After fermentation is complete, rack into bottling carboy/container and backsweeten to taste-
a. At least 3 cans of apple juice concentrate (CURRENTLY UNPASTEURIZED)
b. Simple syrup (table sugar) as needed
2. Bottle the cider
3. Bottle a few plastic containers for carbonation testing
4. After testing plastic bottles over the course of X days, use the stovetop method to kill yeast and preserve carbonation.
5. Chill and serve

Questions:
1. Am I planning to use enough sugar for fermentation, or should I use more?
2. Is it okay to switch out airlocks during fermentation, or will that screw something up?
3. I know the yeast needs to be rehydrated, but should I activate it too? (sprinkling yeast on warm sugar water till it froths)
4. I don't have a mixing spoon, is it okay to shake the bottle to mix it (before fermentation, cause I read that shaking after fermenting oxidizes the mix)?
5. Do I need to use 10g's of yeast, or will 1 packet (5g) be enough?
6. Is the yeast energizer a good idea? Will it help, or should I leave it out?
7. If the energizer is a good idea, do I just add it dry and mix?
8. About how long should I estimate this batch to take?

Thanks for taking the time to look over this for me. Any advice is much appreciated! I've got a few more questions for the backsweetening and carbonating process, but I've got at least a couple weeks to get answers on those, right?

Thanks for taking the time to look over this for me!

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:25 AM   #2
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1. Am I planning to use enough sugar for fermentation, or should I use more?
2. Is it okay to switch out airlocks during fermentation, or will that screw something up?
3. I know the yeast needs to be rehydrated, but should I activate it too? (sprinkling yeast on warm sugar water till it froths)
4. I don't have a mixing spoon, is it okay to shake the bottle to mix it (before fermentation, cause I read that shaking after fermenting oxidizes the mix)?

1. 4lbs of sugar is a lot. I used 2 lbs for my five gallon batch and its pretty strong right now

2. It's fine, there will be co2 coming out of the hole, so you should be fine once you get a proper airlock. Just do it quick

3. For mine, I just rehydrated it. It takes about 15 mins for it to be properly rehydrated, so keep that in mind

4. Shaking the bottle before fermentation is fine, but if you really want to use a spoon, just sanitize a plastic string spoon, like one you use for mixing koolaid.

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:30 AM   #3
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5. Do I need to use 10g's of yeast, or will 1 packet (5g) be enough?
6. Is the yeast energizer a good idea? Will it help, or should I leave it out?
7. If the energizer is a good idea, do I just add it dry and mix?
8. About how long should I estimate this batch to take?

5. Just one pack will be fine, the yeast reproduce like crazy once they get going, so save that other pack for another batch

6. Yeast energizer won't hurt anything, but will keep the yeast from getting stressed, and ward off any surfer smell

7. Yes ad it dry. Add it to one of your juice bOttles before you put it in the carboy. Shake the heck out of it!

8. Depends o the temp. Primary fermentation should take anywhere for 3 days if it's really warm to about a week if it's around 60*.

Hope this helps, any other questions or if I made a mistake I'm sure someone will correct me!

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Old 09-22-2012, 04:22 AM   #4
cjeanean
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Thank you!!! I'm gonna go for it, and hope it works! More questions, though: since I don't have a hydrometer, am I correct in stating that primary fermentation is complete (or close to complete) when the cider starts to clear? If I transfer the cider to secondary before the primary ferment is done, will I ruin it? From what I've read, I believe the biggest concern with leaving the cider on the yeast (lees) is that dead yeast screws up the taste, is that right? I plan to wait until primary fermentation is complete (based on the cider being almost clear) then transfer to secondary for at least 3 weeks before backsweetening/carbonating. Thoughts?

A few other questions for future reference: I only have 1 5-gal bottle. I'd like to do a secondary ferment, but I wanna make sure I'm planning to do it right. Here goes:

1. After approximately 1 week (or when cider is mostly clear), transfer to secondary carboy
2. Airlock and leave undisturbed for about 3 weeks for clarification/conditioning
3. Rack to bottling carboy.
4. Backsweeten and bottle, then pasteurize when carb hits the right level.

Since I only have one bottle, can I use a food-grade sanitized bucket as an in-between? (Someone's gonna hate me for even mentioning this, I just know it!) Like this:
1. From bottle to bucket, taking care not to agitate the cider to prevent oxidation.
2. Clean and sanitize original bottle
3. Immediately move cider from bucket back to original bottle, then airlock and let sit for secondary fermentation.
4. Rack to bucket after secondary, and do the backsweetening and everything else from that bucket.

Will that work? Or am I inviting too many opportunities for infection or other problems with the moving back and forth?

Thanks again, and I can't wait to see how this turns out!

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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Since I only have one bottle, can I use a food-grade sanitized bucket as an in-between? (Someone's gonna hate me for even mentioning this, I just know it!) Like this:
1. From bottle to bucket, taking care not to agitate the cider to prevent oxidation.
2. Clean and sanitize original bottle
3. Immediately move cider from bucket back to original bottle, then airlock and let sit for secondary fermentation.
4. Rack to bucket after secondary, and do the backsweetening and everything else from that bucket.

That's exactly what I did. I only have one one gallon bottle as well so...... Ya that will work!

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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Yeah just wait for it to clear a bit. I transferred mine a little early and it's still fine. Just waiting one bottles now!

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Old 09-22-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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If you're racking to a secondary just be sure primarry is pretty well done, because if it isn't, and just slowing down, racking will instantly slow it quite a bit, and it will seem as if it's done for a month or more before it starts to pick up again, that means you may bottle and prime while there is still a lot of sugar left. With a Lalvin wine yeast and the ammount of sugar you're using, it may be well over a week before primarry is done...personally, I leave in primarry for at least three weeks. A minimum of 14 days with any brew including beer, because the yeast will help mellow the off flavors it produces in the second stage of primary. No matter what your plan sounds like it will leave you with very drinkable cider.

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Old 09-22-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the pointers, and I'm at least fairly confident that this first batch will turn out!

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