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Old 02-03-2013, 07:49 PM   #1
Shish
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Default Bottle Aging Dry, Carbonated Cider That Used Wine Yeast?

Hello All,
I'm brand new to this site. I recently bottled my first batch of cider... well my first batch of anything to be exact. I had watched a few friends brew beer, and since there was so much homebrew beer in my life, I decided to diversify a bit and try a cider.
I'm ashamed I didn't do a lot of research. I used the basics of santizing and brewing I'd learned from watching the beer-making and used this simple, hard cider recipe as a guide.

My process went a bit like this:
-On December 13, I simmered my 5 gallons of unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider that I got at a local orchard. I'm not certain what kind of apples were used. That's something I'm going to investigate before my next attempt. I dissolved in 2lbs of orange blossom honey at about 200 degrees for 45 minutes, using two pots, one large and one small, stainless steel pasta pot. The small pot formed a cloud of gunk in the middle. I believe this is called a "break"? The large pot did not have this happen. I didn't filter out any of the solids.
-I cooled it to about 90 degrees, using an ice bath in the sink, and my yeast starter of Red Star Cote des Blancs and Simply Apple from the day before was added, already fizzing away.
-I used a "brew bucket" rather than a glass carboy, since it was in good shape and what I had available to me.
-Several hours after seeling up the bucket, I cracked it open, and my boyfriend helped me take the OG, 1.07. We tasted the concoction. It tasted like apples and honey and already smelled like booze.
-After 24 hours, there were no signs of bobbing in the airlock and a distinct sulphur smell. I started to panic, but my boyfriend told me the plastic buckets sometimes loosen up and release the co2 so bobbing doesn't happen, and a quick google search called the sulphur smell "rhino farts", and told me they were pretty common in cider brewing. I calmed down enough to leave it the heck alone for a few weeks. The thermometer on the bucket remained pretty steady between 60-65F.
-I opted not to secondary, largely do to the fact that I didn't have a second fermentor, and on January 10, 4 weeks later, I bottled, adding about 2/3 a cub of honey dissolved into boiling water to the bottling bucket for carbonation. The TG was .998. If the math was right, that gives me about 9% alc. I tasted it. It was still very green, very tart, bordering on sour and a bit watery, but with a rather nice, fresh apple aftertaste. The bottles are stored in a pantry that does not have any radiators, and we keep the house between 60-65F.
-On January 28, after 18 days in the bottle, I cracked one open. It was effectively carbonated. Not a heavy carbonation, but a nice fizzle. A lot of the watery taste it had was gone, and the harsh sour bite it had on bottling day had mellowed quite a bit. It was still tart rather than sweet. It'll be interesting to see how time treats it. Decidedly drinkable, it gave me a buzz comparable to a large glass of red wine.

I've already picked up a few ideas about what I could have done differently such as finding out what kind of apples are used in the cider press and using a different yeast next time around. It also looks as though I could have used a lot more honey. I'm interested to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

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Last edited by Shish; 02-06-2013 at 12:30 AM. Reason: title change
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:03 AM   #2
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it sounds like it turned out well, my only suggestion would be to not heat the cider unless it is not pasteurized.

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Old 02-04-2013, 01:33 AM   #3
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It was a fresh, unpasteurized press from a small, local orchard. They do special small batch presses for people who want unpasteurized cider for brewing, etc. I believe it was also unfiltered.

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Old 02-04-2013, 01:42 AM   #4
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Even if it was unpasteurized, you should still not heat it. Campden is much better solution for killing off any baddies in the juice. Heating fruit juices can set the pectin which can lead to a permanent haze in your cider and also changes the flavor profile of the juice leading to more of an apple sauce flavor than fresh apple.

That said you didn't do anything horrible, you will still end up with good cider.

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Old 02-04-2013, 01:45 AM   #5
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The idea of using chemicals/tablets ruins some of the fun for me. I like the idea of going old-school as much as I can. I didn't boil, just heated, so I hope that helped. I had heard that boiling was what really set the pectins into place, and you were better off keeping it just below a boil. Next time, I might risk it and let the yeast and wild yeast duke things out and see who wins.

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Old 02-04-2013, 02:25 AM   #6
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I've been poking around some more, and I came up with a few more specific questions. Am I right in thinking the cider I made is dry enough that I don't have to be concerned about overcarbonation if I don't kill off the yeast? Will aging/storing/cellaring this type of cider in bottles improve it, and if so, what temperature is usually ideal?

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Old 03-09-2013, 03:12 AM   #7
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So, rather than cluttering up the forums with another post. I'll just tack a question onto this one. In reference to my above batch of cider. How long should I bottle condition? I read somewhere a week per point of alochol. So, this was about 9% abv, meaning 9 weeks, which is coming up next week. I believe I read somewhere else that a dry cider needs at least 3 months... I think someone else said 6 months. Then I read something else that said pasteurized cider can get off flavors when left in the bottle for too long... well mine was unpasteurized, but I heated it... so in a sense, I pasteurized it myself. See why I'm unsure where too go? I've learned enough to know that my next time around I'm going to bulk age rather than bottle age, though I'm still not sure about the correct way to kill bad things in unpasteurized cider without using chemical tablets or heating...
But back on this question: How long should I leave it in the bottle before drinking?

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Old 03-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #8
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It's up to you. Mine was pretty good after 3 weeks or so, but I didn't add any additional sugar. Not much apple flavor though - apparently that comes back with time, but I don't know how much time.

You don't have to worry about overcarbonation as long as you waited to bottle it until it fermented dry, and you didn't add too much priming sugar.

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Old 03-10-2013, 11:23 PM   #9
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Was it a sweet cider or dry? 3 weeks seems fast for a dry cider.

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Old 03-11-2013, 12:30 AM   #10
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Dry, but I bulk-aged it for several weeks before that.

I just bottled a batch that I started in November, I'm hoping this one will be noticeably improved.

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