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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Need a mentor for my first batch... anyone??
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
steve-in-kville
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Default Need a mentor for my first batch... anyone??

Okay folks.... I've been gleaning this site for a week trying to get the basics down. I have some yeast on order (3 packs of Nottingham) as well as air-traps and drilled rubber corks. I have access to food-grade pails I will use to ferment. I found a local source for pasterized cider.

Anyways, need someone to help me along, someone who doesn't mind a ton of questions. I hate to clog this board up with questions that may have been asked a dozen times before.

Any volunteers?

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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Questions & answers about beer, wine, mead, cider & related subjects is what this forum is all about; ask away!

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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I am with gratus.... Clog it up

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Old 01-14-2011, 08:45 PM   #4
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Allrighty.... here goes....

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Old 01-17-2011, 02:18 AM   #5
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bump?

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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Ok. Whatever. I'll take over. I'm waiting on a bucket of cider from the local orchard. The orchard is giving me approx 6 gallons of the pressing. I'm planning on using nottingham yeast (unless you guys think another yeast will keep it more balanced and less dry), and possibly adding some brown sugar or molasses for color. Not sure on the sugar, I don't want to make it too dry.

My questions:

1. What OG can I expect?
2. I've heard that cider will ferment right down to 1.000 or less so what FG should I shoot for without making it too dry?
3. Can I ferment this at cellar temp (about 55)?
4. Will I need a blow-off tube? Is this thing going to ferment like hell and make a big mess?
5. How much volume loss can I expect from sediment/trub?
6. How much priming sugar should I add to make the cider a little extra carbonated, and can beer bottles take the pressure? Or should I get some wine bottles?

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:22 PM   #7
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Some good questions:
1. What OG can I expect? - without sugar added, I would guess around 1.055.
2. I've heard that cider will ferment right down to 1.000 or less so what FG should I shoot for without making it too dry? you will have to halt fermentation or add nonfermentable sweetening to get your cider to stop fermenting dry. OR you could cold crash it, rack it off and add sorbate/sulphite
3. Can I ferment this at cellar temp (about 55)? (wouldn't reccomned that low of a temp. Depends on your yeast but I would say keep it in the 65-70F range to start the fermentation and then you can back off to 63-65F)
4. Will I need a blow-off tube? Is this thing going to ferment like hell and make a big mess? How big is your carboy? I would say yes, if you are putting in 6 gallons to a 6.5 fermenter.
5. How much volume loss can I expect from sediment/trub? I would expect 2 quart or so loss
6. How much priming sugar should I add to make the cider a little extra carbonated, and can beer bottles take the pressure? Or should I get some wine bottles? you need to use beer bottles or champagne bottles for carbonation. If you sorbate you can't carbonate. If you want residual sugar, you can't bottle carbonate.

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Old 01-17-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CidahMastah View Post
Some good questions:
1. What OG can I expect? - without sugar added, I would guess around 1.055.
2. I've heard that cider will ferment right down to 1.000 or less so what FG should I shoot for without making it too dry? you will have to halt fermentation or add nonfermentable sweetening to get your cider to stop fermenting dry. OR you could cold crash it, rack it off and add sorbate/sulphite
3. Can I ferment this at cellar temp (about 55)? (wouldn't reccomned that low of a temp. Depends on your yeast but I would say keep it in the 65-70F range to start the fermentation and then you can back off to 63-65F)
4. Will I need a blow-off tube? Is this thing going to ferment like hell and make a big mess? How big is your carboy? I would say yes, if you are putting in 6 gallons to a 6.5 fermenter.
5. How much volume loss can I expect from sediment/trub? I would expect 2 quart or so loss
6. How much priming sugar should I add to make the cider a little extra carbonated, and can beer bottles take the pressure? Or should I get some wine bottles? you need to use beer bottles or champagne bottles for carbonation. If you sorbate you can't carbonate. If you want residual sugar, you can't bottle carbonate.
This begs more questions:

Besides the carb/noncarb difference between the cold crash method and the complete fermentation, is there a big flavor difference? Or are they both about the same?

Sounds like the safest bet to keep bottles from bursting would be to ferment completely and then sweeten and control carbonation with priming sugar. Is there any reason to not do this and if I do it this way, do I work it the same proportion of sugar to ferment as with my beer (1 pkg of corn sugar/5 gal...I think it's about a pound)? Or can I keep some of the original cider for priming and if so, how much?

Also, I have heard that I will need to rack to a secondary and tertiary to keep off flavors away. Is this true?
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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Sounds like the safest bet to keep bottles from bursting would be to ferment completely and then sweeten and control carbonation with

You mean sweeten by an artificial sweetener? If yes,... yes this would be the safest route. You would carbonate the same way you do for beer (priming sugar packet).

For teh first question you get a lot of differing views on that. when it ferments dry, the apple esters can seem a little less that when sweet. When you backsweeten those flavors seem to come back a bit. I have never done two side by side.

You can back sweeten with fresh cider (my usual method) or back sweeten with apple juice concentrate (tastes sort of like woodchuck) or other fruits. With all those, you can't make a sparkling cider, unless your have a kegging setup
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:51 PM   #10
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Now, if you back sweeten with anything but the artificial sweetener, don't you have to filter it or kill off the yeast so your bottles don't burst?

Here's what I'm thinking is the best route.
1. Ferment completely
2. Backsweeten with artificial sweetener and prime with corn sugar
or
2. Backsweeten with cider, keg and crash cool and KEEP COLD or fermentation starts over.


edit: I just realized how stupid my question was. Can't bottle condition if you kill off or filter the yeast. Force carb would have to be the route if filtered and then if I really had to bottle it would have to be bottled from the keg (honestly, too much work)

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