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Old 12-07-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
Archigram
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Default My first batch of cider, started yesterday

This is my first post, but I've been reading these forums quite a bit... Thanks to all of you for your collective wealth of knowledge. The information I've found here has been invaluable. I feel like I completely know what I'm doing, even though I'm completely new at this...

My first batch:



Sorry for the poor quality, this was taken with my cell phone, and the lens is all scratched up.

I started with five gallons of fresh, unpasteurized cider from a local orchard in CT. I didn't realize until I got it home, but it says on the jugs that this batch is 5-10% pears. I'm interested to see if that adds anything to the final flavor. Right now the cider is very sweet with a strong apple flavor up front, but after a second or two you can detect a little bit of the pear. It's only slightly tart on the tongue, and finishes with a slight hint of lemon. Now that is probably wayyyy too much analysis for cider, but I'm interested to see if any of those qualities carry over into the final product. From what I've gathered by reading these forums, as well as my own experience drinking cider, I'm not expecting that it will. But it's better to be thorough, I guess.

I mixed the must in a bucket with 1 vial of White Labs 'English Cider Yeast' and 5 tsp. of LD Carlson yeast nutrient. Stirred it up well, then poured it into a five gallon carboy and I'm now patiently waiting....

I measured the specific gravity at somewhere between 1.050 and 1.051. I couldn't find a thermometer, and the cider might have been a little cold, so maybe it's really 1.049... I'm going to just call it 1.050 and worst case scenario I'll only be off by only about two tenths of a percent when I calculate ABV. Does that make sense?

I'm planning on letting it ferment all the way down to 1.000 or below. I've seen that it's common to get it all the way down to 0.990. The lower the better as far as I'm concerned. I like everything dry. Then I'll rack it to a clean carboy to let it age in 'secondary' (can you even call it a secondary fermentation if it's not fermenting any more?). I'll leave it for as long as I can, but this is my first batch, so I'm very excited. I don't know how long I'll be able to last before I feel compelled to bottle it up to drink and share.

Everything went extremely smoothly thanks to all that I was able to garner from reading this site and others. Only thing I felt was less than ideal was when to of the plastic rings from the caps on the cider jugs fell into the bucket as I was mixing. I guess that could be a possible contamination? Also, I didn't give the cider of the yeast very much time at all to warm up before I pitched. Hopefully that wasn't a mistake.

Anyway, Thanks again everyone for your help! I'll be updating as I go. If anyone has some tips for beginners, I'm all ears!

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Old 12-07-2013, 02:42 PM   #2
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seem to be having trouble with the image....

cider-01-12-6-2013-sm.jpg  
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Looks awesome. The pears I'd think would end up gone, but might have an after taste. I was in KC and they had a pear cider on tap. It was better than most apple ones I drink. Good luck and keep us updated...

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Old 12-07-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archigram View Post
I feel like I completely know what I'm doing, even though I'm completely new at this...
Congrats on your first batch! If you understand the process of fermentation and sanitation, you will have years and years of pleasure! Unfortunately, Mother Nature always seems to mock us, even if you use the same ingredients and recipe every time.

I find that if I make cider/beer/wine to suit MY personal tastes instead of what the description of a style says, I enjoy the whole process that much more. Kind of takes the pressure off.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #5
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Default After 20 hours

Just checked on it, and it seems happy. Bubbling away every 3-4 seconds, and looks like there's a lot of action happening in there. Hopefully there's enough head space.... I don't mind switching to a blow off tube if I have to, but hopefully I can avoid the hassle... I'm so excited I want to drink it now! hahaha

some pics:

cider-01-12-7-2013-b.jpg   cider-01-12-7-2013-.jpg  
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Randzor View Post
Looks awesome. The pears I'd think would end up gone, but might have an after taste. I was in KC and they had a pear cider on tap. It was better than most apple ones I drink. Good luck and keep us updated...
Yeah I might agree. There's one company around here that makes a pear cider which is maybe 50/50 apples to pears and I like that one better than their apple versions.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pickled_Pepper View Post
Congrats on your first batch! If you understand the process of fermentation and sanitation, you will have years and years of pleasure! Unfortunately, Mother Nature always seems to mock us, even if you use the same ingredients and recipe every time.

I find that if I make cider/beer/wine to suit MY personal tastes instead of what the description of a style says, I enjoy the whole process that much more. Kind of takes the pressure off.
Thanks! Yeah this cider is for me! One reason I decided to make it myself is because it's hard to find a good cider without any added sugars. I'm a fan of dry cider (and wine, etc.) so I don't plan on back sweetening at all. Not everyone will enjoy this, but that's fine, more for me!
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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Gonna have to deal with all that headspace eventually... Looks good bubbling!

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Old 12-07-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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There's enough CO2 in the primary to not have to worry about the headspace. If you rack to a secondary, you can always just add a little juice to produce more CO2 or rack it before it reaches your final gravity.

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Old 12-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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Gonna have to deal with all that headspace eventually... Looks good bubbling!
Meaning there's probably not enough? Or do you mean there's too much headspace for when I rack into the same size carboy and it's no longer producing CO2?
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