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Old 09-13-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default My first 2 batches

Ok, i'm planning to start my very first two cider batches and I have two very different final products in mind :

Batch A: A spicy, belly warming, slightly carbonated cider that could be drank around room temp (let say 60F) or used in hot cider recipe this winter. (Maybe around 8-9% abw)

Batch B: A semi-dry champagne style with a woody tang (11%+ abw).

Being a total newby with a "for dummies" book in hand, there's a lot of question marks left unanswered, especially about the amount of sugars and yeast. I'll outline my planned recipes so you can tell if you see any problem.

In both cases, i'm buying the soft cider from a local orchard and i'll trust they'll choose the proper blend of apples (they know I want to make hard cider with it). The 12gal of juice will sit in a fridge for 1-2 days before I can go pick it up and I don't know yet if it will have been pasteurized. Every other ingredient I put in, I will pasteurize myself. In the recipes, I assume an original sg of 1.045 for the soft cider and will adjust accordingly. I'm also assuming a sg / lbs / 5 gal for maple syrup of 0.040 with 0.015 of it unfermentable (35%).
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Recipe A:
Primary fermentation in pail: 6gal soft cider + campden + 1/2 lbs honey to sg 1.065 + dry ale yeast (how much?). About a week fermentation or to sg 1.005

Secondary fermentation in carboy: 5gal cider + 1/2 lbs honey + nutmeg and cinnamon in a bag. Cold crash after about a month.

Bottleing : Add 1/4 lbs honey, pasteurize when the carbonation is right.
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Recipe B:
Primary fermentation in carboy: 5gal soft cider + campden + 1 lbs maple syrup + 1.5 lbs dextrose to sg 1.140 + champagne yeast (how much?). About two week fermentation or to sg 1.015 (I only have 1 pail, so I hope the champagne yeast wont foam too much in the carboy). The 1.015 sg is from unfermentable maple sugars

Secondary fermentation in carboy: 4.5gal cider + 0.5gal soft cider + 1/2 lbs maple syrup . Cold crash around sg 1.020 (unfermentable maple sugars).

Bottleing : Add 3/4 cup dextrose, pasteurize when bubbly.

If all fermentable sugars are consumed, I should be left with an sg of 1.020 from the unfermantable maple sugars. Is that enough for a "semi-dry" sweetness or should I add more sugar at the bottleing and pasteurize it when ready ?
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Please let me know what you would change in these recipes !

Edit 1: I had the wrong values of sg points per pound per 5 gallon for dextrose and honey (I was assuming 1lbs of dextrose in 5gal cider would raise sg by 0.008, but in fact it's closer to 0.040. I revised the amounts of sugars added). Based on Yooper's coment, i'll pasteurize the batch B botltes.

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Old 09-13-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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Well, in recipe B if you don't pasteurize, you'll have bottle bombs. Adding priming sugar to a cider that you halted at 1.012 will mean the bottles will blow up when they warm up.

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Old 09-13-2011, 04:06 PM   #3
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Well, in recipe B if you don't pasteurize, you'll have bottle bombs. Adding priming sugar to a cider that you halted at 1.012 will mean the bottles will blow up when they warm up.
I've revised my post in accordance to your comment. I've also revised my recipes since I was adding way too much sugars.
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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1.010 is nice sweetness imo. You might be taking a lot on at the moment - I'd consider doing something simple first to practise, maybe just getting 1/2 gallon storebought juice and getting the process down to save you buggering up. We've all been there!

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Old 09-13-2011, 05:48 PM   #5
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1.010 is nice sweetness imo.
Thanks, I could exchange 1/2 lbs of maple syrup in the primary for dextrose and bring the bottle sg to 1.015 from unfermentable sugars.

Now, anyone knows how sweet the unfermentable sugars of maple syrup actually taste ?

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You might be taking a lot on at the moment - I'd consider doing something simple first to practise, maybe just getting 1/2 gallon storebought juice and getting the process down to save you buggering up. We've all been there!
I agree with you that it would be wise to start with a smaller /easier project, but right now the timing is right for me, otherwise I won't be able to make a sizable batch before next fall. I do have some lab experience and I can follow a protocol as long as i'm not starting on the wrong foot with bad recipes. Thanks for the input !
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:58 PM   #6
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Lab experience? Oops. I'd probably ignore my advice then seeing as my ability to follow procedures comes from...mcdonalds.

Just ensure EVERYTHING is sterilized and you're likely to be good. After all, most cider comes down to juice in an airtight fermenting vessel, so meh, it's all good. Something nobody seems to mention is to always syphon rather than pouring to avoid oxidizing, which is very easy to do with cider. Just a tip!

I wouldn't personally rely on unfermentable sugars. I'm not saying it won't work, but in anything but malt, there isn't really much info about them. If you're confident the sugars will get you to 1.015, then you should be laughing. I'd leave leeway for backsweetening though, just in case. Most sugar is the same in taste, it's what ingredients you use that change. Any sort of thick, sticky syrup in cider is going to be great.

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Just ensure EVERYTHING is sterilized and you're likely to be good. After all, most cider comes down to juice in an airtight fermenting vessel, so meh, it's all good. Something nobody seems to mention is to always syphon rather than pouring to avoid oxidizing, which is very easy to do with cider. Just a tip!
Much appreciated! I would have thought siphoning was to be used to avoid picking up the dead yeast from the bottom of the pail, but now it makes sense to always use it.

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I wouldn't personally rely on unfermentable sugars. I'm not saying it won't work, but in anything but malt, there isn't really much info about them. If you're confident the sugars will get you to 1.015, then you should be laughing. I'd leave leeway for backsweetening though, just in case. Most sugar is the same in taste, it's what ingredients you use that change. Any sort of thick, sticky syrup in cider is going to be great.
I've just did a bit of googleing and in wine, a sg of 1.010 is "Doux" aka sweet while semi-dry is closer to 1.003 ! I guess I really should cut on the maple syrup to 0.5 lbs total instead of 1.5lbs and then backsweeten with more syrup if needed. Maybe I can drop a few oak chips in the secondary fermentation to compensate?
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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perceived sweetness depends on more than just the amount of sugar present; acidity among other factors, so you really need to taste it rather than go by the numbers

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Old 09-15-2011, 05:04 AM   #9
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I would also advise some test batches. I have been doing 1 gal test batches with store bought juices and it has taken me 5 gallons to get to a point where I like my basic recipe enough to buy real cider.

But I do understand your rush.

My suggestion would be to get the cider now and freeze it. I just bought cider from my local orchard and they had frozen it from last season. I have a batch just about ready to bottle. But it is looking to be my best batch.

Couple of other thoughts. For some reason this batch fermented and cleared very fast. I am at day 8 an it is at 1.005 and is clear. This stuff was far from clear since it was real cider to start with, so this is suppressing. Not sure why, perhaps the amount of yeast I added initially?

Also, I do all of my sweetening by taste and add small amounts and do sg readings along the way. I did read that woodchuck is 1.030 and that seams about right from my experiments.

I have also found that adding citric acid really enhances the apple flavors and over all flavors of the batch. I added 2tsp/gal but I am not completely finished yet so I can't report fully yet.

I prefer the taste of the champagne yeast over ale yeast. The ale yeast gave it more of a beer like flavor. And the Champagne yeast more of a champagne flavor. Go figure. I do not like beer so I did not like any of the batches made with ale yeast. But you might be opposite. I have not had any problem with the champagne yeast foaming up.

Hopefully I have confused you enough to want to test your recipes. It looks like u have a good start, but I would tweak it to your liking before making 110 bottles of stuff you don't like. Try the freeze and small test batch method.

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Old 11-01-2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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Well, I've racked both these batches to secondary after delais due to stuck fermentation (Recipe A was stuck at around 1% alcohol content, Recipe B didn't start at all !) Adding some yeast nutriment to A and repitching + nutriment to B solved the issue.

The recipies were also altered with OG in the range of 1.05 to 1.062 respectively. They both fermented dry but they tasted great once I added a drop of maple syrup.

Now I know I want to backsweeten and I know I want to carbonate in a keg (which I already bought). Recipe A will be backsweeten with frozen apple juice, Recipe B with maple syrup.

I've just racked to secondary, so in a month my dilema will be this :

-Should I keg the cider, backsweeten, then pasteurize the open keg prior to force carbonating it ? I have a 34L turkey fryer I could put 20L of boiling water in it which should raise the keg's temperature to close to pasteurizing.

-Or should I cold-crash and simply use k-meta and sorbate ?

I'm looking for the option that will have the lowest impact on the taste of the final product. Pasteurizing 2 kegs really isn't much of an hassle so I don't mind going that way if I don't end up with apple pie cider ;-).

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