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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > The necessity of 2 stage fermentation with hard cider
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Old 04-04-2006, 08:12 PM   #1
RogersDad
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Default The necessity of 2 stage fermentation with hard cider

Just got into home brewing and I decided to make a batch of hard cider since it looked a heck of a lot easier than the last 2 batches of beer I've made.
I used a simple recipe of 5 gallons pasteurized cider (no preservatives) and 2 cans of frozen concentrated apple juice. I used Wyeast Sweet Mead liquid yeast and everything seems to be going well with fermentation.
Will I really have any benefit using secondary fermentation? I'm fine either way and I realize I will have to age this stuff longer than beer to get the best flavor but I figured I should ask if this step is really needed.


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Old 04-04-2006, 08:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogersDad
Just got into home brewing and I decided to make a batch of hard cider since it looked a heck of a lot easier than the last 2 batches of beer I've made.
I used a simple recipe of 5 gallons pasteurized cider (no preservatives) and 2 cans of frozen concentrated apple juice. I used Wyeast Sweet Mead liquid yeast and everything seems to be going well with fermentation.
Will I really have any benefit using secondary fermentation? I'm fine either way and I realize I will have to age this stuff longer than beer to get the best flavor but I figured I should ask if this step is really needed.


Thanks
I've only made cider once. I had to pitch it. It tasted so foul, I involuntarily spit it out as soon as the sample I drew touched my tounge.

The reason, in my opinion, was that I did NOT rack it off of the cake of yeast that settled to the bottom. I'm quite certain the batch fell victim to autolysis (when the yeast run out of sugar to eat and turn cannibal) and it produced a wretched, rubbery flavor.

If you plan to keep your cider in the fermenter for longer than 3 or 4 weeks, you'll probably want to rack it to a secondary to avoid this.

edit: my cider sat in the primary on top of the yeast cake for about 3 months.

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Old 04-04-2006, 11:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperial Walker
I've only made cider once. I had to pitch it. It tasted so foul, I involuntarily spit it out as soon as the sample I drew touched my tounge.

The reason, in my opinion, was that I did NOT rack it off of the cake of yeast that settled to the bottom. I'm quite certain the batch fell victim to autolysis (when the yeast run out of sugar to eat and turn cannibal) and it produced a wretched, rubbery flavor.

If you plan to keep your cider in the fermenter for longer than 3 or 4 weeks, you'll probably want to rack it to a secondary to avoid this.

edit: my cider sat in the primary on top of the yeast cake for about 3 months.

-walker
Well I can't keep it in the primary too long I have more beer to brew.
I'm thinking a total of 2 weeks in the primary and then I have an opening in the secondary market at my house. This hobby is really fun.
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Old 04-05-2006, 12:09 AM   #4
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Definitely rack it off the cake at two weeks. Ciders without too much "boost" can ferment in a couple days, but bulk aging really seems to help and I don't leave mine on the cake. If I plan on adding sugar or honey, I'll do the initial ferment, rack it and add the boost.

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Old 04-05-2006, 01:56 PM   #5
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I am not convinced that it is absolutely nescessary but I always wrack mine to a secondary (and often a tertiary if I backsweeten). I do it to help it clear as much as anything. If you want to see how much yeast there is in a "clear" secondary, give it a week of cold clearing and see what you end up with. Those little guys are tricky.

Having said that, I have read and found with my first batch that if you use D47 for your yeast, you don't have to worry about wracking it off the lees (autolysis). It is a very dense flocker. So far I can detect no detriment from leaving it in the primary long term with this yeast.

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Old 04-25-2006, 04:38 AM   #6
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My very first brew was hard cider, I found the secondary really helped. We did about a week in primary, then about 4 in the secondary- it cleared a lot, threw a lot of sediment out there (our cider was from the Amish, and I think we may have had pectin issues- it never quite sparkled, until we added carbonation!)

So ya- I don't know about that one yeast the above poster mentioned, but definitely secondary ferm was a good idea for our project.

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Old 04-25-2006, 11:38 PM   #7
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Since I keg, I'll just wait two weeks and can it. Most of my ciders ferment down in 3-4 days. My friend, Tom, will add a pound of sugar per gallon and his ciders take 3-4 weeks. But, at that point, in the can it goes.

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Old 04-27-2006, 03:21 AM   #8
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Update.
The cider has been on secondary for 2 1/2 weeks after 2 weeks on primary. I'm going to bottle in a week-and-a-half.
I want to prime with apple juice concentrate. Has anyone done this before?

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Old 04-27-2006, 03:35 AM   #9
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Nope, just used some sugar-water (probably too much sugar, in fact, it got whoa-bubbly, like champagne).

Is there a particular kind of apple concentrate to look for?

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Old 05-15-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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What is, if anyone can compare, homebrew hard cider suppose to taste like?

I made a 1 gallon with 100% cider, and it fermented out in 3 days, I then racked it to a secondary and it was darn clear in less than a week.

All excited that I was I took a sip and almost heaved. It's been almost a month and a half, and frankly, its only taking up space.

I split it in two and back sweetened one of them, but as noted above, no luck.

It has a sour smell, and almost a sulfur aroma and taste. I did use Lalvin 71b -1122 yeast, as it was what I had on hand.

Suggestions?

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