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Old 11-26-2012, 12:14 AM   #1
banana
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Default My first apfelwein batch! A couple questions...

So, after wanting to make my own beer for a while I finally caved and purchased some brewing supplies. I decided to start with something simple, and saw EdWort's apfelwein recipe.

When I was putting the juice/sugar in the carboy, I believe I overfilled it a bit. The liquid fills the carboy up into the neck, about two to three inches below airlock. The juice started to ferment, and the airlock was bubbling pretty good for a day, then all of a sudden the vodka in the airlock got milky brown. I took the airlock off/ dumped the crap out/ re-sanitized the airlock with idophor solution, and re-filled it with vodka. Was this the correct thing to do?

Second, is my juice level too high? I put some tape on the outside of the bottle to mark the level of the juice, as well as another marker to mark the level of the foam to see if they rise over the next couple days. I was wondering if it is normal for a sort of "head" to form, and if it does, will it all spew out the top of my airlock? What can I do to make sure that this does not happen?

Thanks in advance

Ross

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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I used Montrachet wine yeast, which doesn't seen to build a krausen. It stays level with a few small bubbles on top.

IMO you handled it perfectly though. You're probably fine now and on your way to good apfelwein.

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:32 AM   #3
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yup, cleaning an refilling is fine, your juice sounds like its a bit high, i do 5 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy or i do 4.5 gallons in a 5 if i know its not going to have much krausen (foam), then after i rack to secondary i top it up with juice to 5 gallons then let it finish fermenting and clearing and rack it again and do any other steps depending on what the final product is intended to be.

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Old 11-27-2012, 01:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies! I've got another quick question... I keep my house heated to 60*, and when I initially made the cider, the juice was pretty cold so I heated up around a liter of juice to put the yeast in to get it going. I put the yeast into the cold juice/sugar mix and put the carboy in my down jacket, with a heating pad under it for a couple hours to warm up the mixture. Now the heating pad is obviously turned off, but the down jacket is still wrapped around it, and the carboy is pretty warm. My only thermometer is a floating one, I was wondering if I could run into any problems if I sanitized the thermometer, tied some dental floss around it, removed the airlock, and dipped it in for a minute to get a reading? I'm worried that it will get too warm, what is the desired temperature range that it should be fermenting at? I'm so worried that my first batch will get spoiled! She's still bubbling vigorously though..

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Old 11-27-2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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Edwort's recipe is fairly resilient..... I brew mine with Lalvin 71b, and it generally tastes like crap at bottling but after a month or so it is awesome .

At any rate, if the carbon is warm to the touch you may have to let it sit a little longer. Which yeast did you use?

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Old 11-27-2012, 02:50 AM   #6
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I used Red Star montrachet wine yeast. What do you mean by "let it sit a little longer"? Like let it ferment for longer than 6 weeks? How long would you suggest? That was my initial plan - 6 weeks. I know that the longer you let it sit, the better it will taste. I'll grab a temperature reading when I get home, what's the upper end of the temperature range I should keep it in?

I'd like to get this batch bottled, because I have some plans for another batch

Thanks for the reply!

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Old 11-27-2012, 03:08 AM   #7
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That particular yeast has a temperature range of 59 to 86, so I would shoot for something at 70-ish. The upper end and beyond of the temperature range is usually where yeast start throwing off weird/bad flavors. Within reason those things will condition out it you leave it be for a while.

Like I say, mine tasted bad like mothballs at bottling, but after a month in bottles it was really good. I don't know enough about fruit fermentation a to comment as to why that was the case, though.

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