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Old 09-26-2013, 04:01 AM   #1
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Default Kegging / Clarity question

I've never made a hard cider but been brewing beer for a few years and have a kegging system. I usually rack right from the primary into the keg and do the "set it and forget it" carbonation method. This let's the beer carb up over 2-3 weeks and also lets it clear in that time.

Is that basically the same method for cider? Most cider recipes say to rack to a secondary and let it sit for 2 weeks to let it clear and condition. If I use my keg to cold crash/carb at the same time am I missing out on other conditioning (that happens at warmer temps)? Will I be losing apple flavor or something?

I then assume after it's carbed up in the keg I just pour out the first 2-3 pints as that'll be all the sediment.

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Old 09-26-2013, 07:33 AM   #2
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Cider, more than beer, tends to improve when bulk-aged. I find that cider usually clears after a couple months at fermentation temperature but much faster, maybe a week when cold-crashed. If your cider has much added sugar it might need more time to condition. If you don't want to wait that long you could look into making Graff, a cider-beer. Brandon O has a recipe. Here's a brewing TV episode about it:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/connec...-to-make-graf/

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Old 09-27-2013, 06:20 AM   #3
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Thanks CoTron, I don't plan to add too much sugar, I'm not aiming to make apple flavor rocket fuel like some of those 9+% ciders I've had I'll probably add a can of apple juice concentrate to 5 gallons of cider. That'll probably be around 1.060, and I plan to use US-05 so I'm guessing it'll ferment down to about 1.010 for a 6.5% cider? Three weeks in the primary to fully ferment and give it some conditioning, then 3 weeks in the keg to carb/cold crash. Or will US-05 ferment lower? It's pretty much my go-to yeast and it usually ferments out 80% for me in beer, I'm guessing cider will be a little higher but not 0.995 like a wine yeast.

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Old 09-27-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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Just an FYI. I've made cider, apple wine and graff... Graff is by far my favorite.

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Old 09-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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I've done identical batches with Montrachet Red Star wine yeast and s-04. They both fermented to 1.000 in a week.

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Old 09-27-2013, 02:47 PM   #6
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I think cider is 100% fermentable. The yeast will go until they can't take the ABV% or run out of sugar. I just made a batch with US-04 at 1.060 and even the 3 gallons I attempted to cold crash at 1.010 went to 1.000. It might stall, but in your position I'd plan on it going dry.

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Old 09-27-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Apple juice is 100% fermentable so it will most likely go to 1.000, unless the concentrate has some complex sugar in it.

Ferment it out, wait for the cider to clear (or crash-cool), keg, set-and-forget for at least two months. Nine months is better, that's about the point when my ciders reach their peak.

If you want some residual sugar, I'm told Nottingham or champagne yeasts can be crash-chilled out when there are a few gravity points left. Chill to 32F, rack when clear, set-and-forget. If fermentation restarts you'll just have overcarbed cider in the keg, not much of a problem.

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Hmmm... if even ale yeast will get down to 1.000 maybe I won't add any extra sugar as I'm looking for something in the ~6% range when done and don't want to try and stop the ferment. Anyone have an average range of what cider OG typically is without sugar? 1.045 or so?

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkatz419 View Post
Hmmm... if even ale yeast will get down to 1.000 maybe I won't add any extra sugar as I'm looking for something in the ~6% range when done and don't want to try and stop the ferment. Anyone have an average range of what cider OG typically is without sugar? 1.045 or so?
Yes, 1.045 or so is a good guess, sometimes up to 1.055 depending on how sweet the juice is.

But don't be shocked if the cider goes to .990, and you may have to add some concentrate or sweetening if you don't want it dry!
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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What others said. I brew my cider in carboys, let them ferment dry and clear out in the carboys, wait 8-9 months in the carboys, then transfer them to the keg, add cambden to kill the yeast and add a half can of concentrate to sweeten. I force carb with the keg.
Any sugar you add to "sweeten" cider will simply ferment out dry unless you carefully kill the yeast at a certain gravity, in which case you will have to force carb it.
And any clarity issues with aged ciders go away after the first few glasses as the sediment settles to the bottom.

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