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Old 08-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #1
Ubermensch74
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Default My first ever brew - advice and feedback appreciated

G'day,

Greeting from Australia. I'm a big fan of alcoholic cider (I understand it also also known as hard cider), so I thought I'd have a go at making my own.

After a few days researching on the 'net, reading forums, youtube etc., I decided to try fermenting reconstituted apple juice from the supermarket. I've picked up 5x 3 litre bottles (15 litres / ~4 gallons). [On the label: Reconstituted Apple Juice (99.7%), Citric Acid, Vitamin C, Flavour.]

Next, I went down to my local brew store and picked up a 15 litre (~4 gallon) carbouy with airlock and tap; as well as a vial of White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast.

At home I got everything washed, sterilised etc. Left the vial out at room temperature for a few hours (as per label). Whilst waiting for the yeast to warm up I spent a bit more time consulting google. It was at this point that I realised that it's best to kick off the yeast in a starter, and I didn't have any malt products ... After panicking for a while and a bit more web searching I bit the bullet and decided to make a start with some of my juice.

Using the 4 gallon carbouy I added about 2 lt / half gallon of juice, gave the yeast vial a shake, poured it in and then screwed on the carbouy lid and added some water to the airlock. Left the carbouy in a room that's approx 18-21 degrees Celsius (68 - 70 fahrenheit), and I plan to keep it at this temp (well, 57 at the lowest).

When I got up this morning not much had happened. I started to panic again. I then went down to the shops and got some yeast nutrient. At approx 1 PM (approx 12 hours since I 'pitched' the brew) I added 4 grams of nutrient, sealed the carbouy and shook it like crazy. An hour or two later I was hearing my first few bubbles from the airlock. The bubbles were pretty consistent - about once or twice a minute.

At about 5 PM I added another 4 grams of nutrient, sealed and shook. The brew was then pretty quiet for a few hours and now (about 10 PM) I'm back to hearing bubbles once or twice a minute.

OK, so what's next? My current plan is to come home tomorrow night and add the remaining 13 lt / 3.5 gallons of juice straight in to the carbouy, along with another 4 grams of nutrient, shake/stir and cross my fingers.

So, any thoughts, feedback or suggestions?

I'll provide regular updates to this thread.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers.


Oh, and you'll have to forgive me, I'm probably not up with all the correct jargon, and we use metric down in this neck of the woods ...

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Welcome. I think you are worrying too much. I brew beer, but it's the same kind of thing. "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew." I also think you may be shaking it too much. Aeration after fermentation will cause oxidation in beer. Hope it goes well. I'm sure it will turn out great.

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:28 PM   #3
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I have found that making Hard Cider is the ultimate lazy-mans brewing pursuit.

When in doubt just let it sit and do it's thing. And when you've done that and are sure that it's complete then give it even more time.

The best cider I've made basically sits for six months. It goes in a bucket, ferments, and then around five months and two weeks later I actually do something with it.

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Old 08-19-2012, 11:16 PM   #4
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Your fine mate! It takes awhile for it to "take off". I took mine 3 days to start before, it's normal. Good lick

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Old 08-19-2012, 11:17 PM   #5
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Luck, ha ha

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Old 08-20-2012, 01:46 AM   #6
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Agreed, and compared to making beer from all grain its super easy.

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Originally Posted by Skarekrough View Post
I have found that making Hard Cider is the ultimate lazy-mans brewing pursuit.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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Uber, glad to hear another cider lover is giving it a go!

More so than a starter for your vial of White Labs, that yeast nutrient is a big help for your brew. Cider has very little of the 'food' that the yeast want, but at the same time my advice is that 'more is not better' when it comes to nutrient. Just use the reccomended about or the yeast will go crazy and start producing fusal alcohols which give your cider more of a 'boozy' taste.

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Old 08-20-2012, 01:43 PM   #8
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My first was juice + sugar + WLP 775. No starter, no nutrient, nothing. And it came out fine. The vial of yeast doesn't require nutrient or a starter. Of course I now use both, nutrient in the carboy.

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Old 09-03-2012, 04:15 AM   #9
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Default Update - 3 September 2012

OK, it's been about 14 days since I added the remaining juice to the carbouy, so a total of 15 litres. I also added 1 kg of white sugar. OG was approx 1080.

The brew has been fermenting quite well. [I love the White Labs, does well in the colder climates.]

I'm thinking it must be close to bottling time, I'll be checking out the gravity when I get home this evening.

My concern now is secondary fermentation ... I don't want to end up with bottle bombs. Also, I want to keep the yeast.

Couple of questions:

1. Do I need to stir up the carbouy to distribute the yeast before bottling, or is there enough yeast throughout the brew?

2. Should I prime with more sugar? Does this depend on the FG?


Any advice appreciated. Cheers!

==============Edit with current gravity reading==============================

Current gravity is 0.96 (SG was approx 1.05)

Tastes a bit like wine ... and I'm feeling pretty tipsy after drinking half the contents of the hydrometer test-tube ...

Airlock is only popping once every 3 to 5 minutes.


Think it's OK to bottle and prime?


What sugar should I prime with? (would be good to have a touch of sweetness) ...


=============/Edit with current gravity reading==============================

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Old 09-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #10
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You want to chk the final gravity. Priming sugar is a good idea, and as long as you have a cider that's a bit cloudy still(that's yeast for the most part) you've got plenty of yeast for carbing purposes.

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