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Old 06-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
AWKBrewing13
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Default New to Forum and Cidering. (well brewing altogether)

hey guys and gals. I am new to brewing and cidering. I apologize for not reading the sticky's yet. I was too excited to read after registering!

My first cider is in a gallon jug. I used a full packet of nottingham yeast from an ale kit. The cider I used was a pasteruized cider from Whole foods ( first experiment)

How do I get more clarity from my cider?
I have heard a lot about aging from Ocktoberfest beers and ciders. How long is "good" what exactly does it do?

I saw a cool English cider recipe. I would like to learn as much as I can so that I can get few 1 gal batches and let them age till september/october for College football season Is there a 1 gal recipe for this? any good ones for a sweeter spiced cider?

When would I add spices? how long do you add them for?

Also how/when would one use brown sugar or maple syrup in a recipe to bring out these flavors?

Thank you all in advance. I look forward to many posts and great answers.



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Old 06-15-2011, 01:32 AM   #2
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I'll take a stab at it-

First of all, when you select cider/juice, make sure that there are no preservative chemicals in it, such as potassium sorbate. These will inhibit yeast production. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, sometimes) has no effect on yeats though, and is a safe bet.

Nottingham and juice- in my experience, good, but a bit thin and watery. I made it just with organic apple juice and yeast, and drank it after about two months. You might find that adding some acids or tannins, such as lemon juice or black tea, gives your finished product a bit more body.

You can clear some of the solids out of your cider by using a fining agent such as gelatin or irish moss, but I've never made cider with anything other than just apple juice, so I don't know how an unfiltered cider would respond to this. I'm sure other members can chime in.

As for aging- essentially as long as you want. All cider will improve with age, though I don't think the exact scientific processes are known. Mostly age will mellow the hotter alcohol flavors, and bring more of the apple flavor back.

Small amounts of spices go a long way (especially cloves) and should be used cautiously. They can be added during either primary or secondary. How long you add them for depends on how strong you want the spiced flavor to come through, but the flavors will generally grow stronger with aging, even once the spices are removed.

Sugars are usually added for the primary fermentation, though they can be added later (which will restart fermentation). Different types of sugar impart different flavors, though your cider will not be sweet if you do not stop the yeast before they have consumed all of the sugars.

Check out the stickies, and poke around the forum, but above all, experiment- even if you end up with something you didn't expect, it won't kill you, and you still made it yourself. And the best part is, if you are stumped by something, you can always brew another batch and see what happens.

Good luck!



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Old 06-15-2011, 04:27 AM   #3
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First of all, welcome! Be prepared to learn a lot, there a plenty of helpful people around these parts. Don't be afraid to ask what might seem a stupid question, there are no stupid questions.

If you're interested in some different recipes you can check out the cider section in the recipe database. If you are looking at making 1 gal recipes then you can always scale back a recipe for 4 gal by dividing everything by 4, so that you are essentially using 1/4 of the ingredients (this applies to all ingredients BUT yeast and nutrients).

As for aging (which is the best way to achieve clarity in your final product), I leave my cider for up to 3 months in either primary or secondary depending if I am adding different flavours. In my personal opinion this would be the very least amount of time to wait, longer is usually better an will allow for an apple flavour to return to your cider. The reason I prefer to age rather than use fining agents such as gelatin, superkleer and bentonite is that these can impart different flavours (such as an earthy flavour for bentonite) as well as stripping out any flavour that was originally there.

After about 3 months I bottle, and drink whenever I want. They usually don't last long so I'm a bit of a hypocrite telling others to age it longer (they just taste too darn good).

I should also add onto Blanchy's reply in saying that fermentables, such as sugars, syrups and concentrates are most commonly added before fermentation to both increase the % ABV of your cider and to impart flavour (such as malt or maple). This will cause a longer ferment and the need for a longer aging time. You will find that it will taste harsh when it comes out of the fermenter, and needs time to 'mellow' out. It will still taste delicious after aging though!

I might also suggest that if you have ideas forming in your head, the very best thing to do is type it into the search bar to see if anyone else has already done it, their outcomes and go from there. You will find that something you thought would taste really great, really doesn't and you can adapt the recipe. This is subjective though! Let us know how you go!

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Old 06-15-2011, 02:25 PM   #4
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wow thank you guys. thats a lot right at first. I have a bunch of ideas so I need to do some searching like you guys suggested.

I have heard that Sodium Metabisulfite makes hangovers. Can you make cider without using this chemical? if so how long would it last.

When you add in these other fermentables, do you have to heat anything up or is it mix it all together in the cider? Is creating cider much like doing beer in which you need to aerate your cider (wort for beer) to help with fermentation, or will that impart odd flavors?

I had this idea for making a Maple, Molasses or Brown Sugar cider but using a little dry malt extract either light or amber to see if I could get more body out of it. Like a cider beer with more cidery taste and slightly spiced.

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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Well, I'll tell you right now that if you want a cider/beer cider look no further than Brandon O's Graff It's delicious, relatively easy (compared to beer) and sound just like you describe because of DME and a small hops addition.

Now on to you other questions!

1.) Sodium Metabisulfite is a preservative that is used to help stop an active fermentation or prevent re-fermintation later on when sweetening. I don't use it at all in my Cider recipes (but some might depending on how they like their cider.) I need there to be some active yeast left for bottle conditioning (where the cider carbs in the bottle by adding a little priming sugar.)

AFAIK, you don't need this for a Cider. I age mine for about 3 to 4 months, then bottle and age in the bottles and I don't have any problems with the cider not keeping.

2a.) When adding fermentable (or most other things) I find it easier to dissolve them into solution. So for the main sugars I do boil them in a little water (about 4oz per cup) just so they dissolve easier in the juice. It's important to let this cool as adding hot liquids to apple juice can cause cloudiness due to pectin setting. You can buy petic enzyme to prevent or reverse this, but if you never heat up the juice or add hot liquids you don't need it.

2b.) When you are adding your juice and sugar solution to the primary it is a good idea to aerate at that time. I believe that yeast always like oxygen and in the beginning its a safe time as the fermentation will create Co2 to push out any lingering o2.

If I am wrong on any of this, someone please correct me (this is what I have gleaned in my 4 months on the board it might be a tad off). I don't want to pass along false information

Oh, and welcome to cider brewing...it's a lot of fun and tastes great.

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:48 PM   #6
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thanks again. i like the idea of making this more "natural". Ill look up that Brandon O'graff cider and maybe manipulate it a bit.

Do the cider guys here do a shake method for aeriation or use aquarium stones?
I read in a book about using a 25-30 dollar filter to make it more clear. Has anyone heard of this or use a budget filter method to help clarity?

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
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It doesn't really matter how you aerate, whatever you find the easiest or most convenient. I myself use my trusty whisk and stir the living hell out of it. You definitely won't need a filter, every single one of my brews has turned out clear (even my chocolate mead, slowly but surely). All you need to do is age it for the appropriate amount of time and the yeast will fall out of suspension. If you find that the resulting cider is too yeasty for your taste (may happen, but unlikely) then you could look at using a filter.

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:09 AM   #8
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My poor mans aeration was to get a plastic rod (maybe like a stake for a garden plant) that would fit in my drill chuck, heat the end in boiling water then shape it into a paddle (flatten it). I would chuck it to my drill and run that thing at full speed whipping around in the container.

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:22 AM   #9
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I just read Brandon O's recipe and I have something vert similar, about 3 wks old in bottles now. It's a very easy brew, and his comment is dead on about going easy on the hops. I used a 4% AA hop (about .5oz for about 45min) and I wish the hop flavor was a bit less pronounced, but it's still good. Part of me wonders what some cinnamon or some other earthy fall flavor could add to this brew. Possibly a citrus/acidic addition would be part of my next try. Just my thoughts on the Graff.

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Old 06-16-2011, 02:46 PM   #10
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cinnamon was exactly what i was thinking. for my hops (i just picked up all supplies yesterday) was kent goldings... I got one ounce but i thinking of using a third instead of .5.The yeast I got English cider yeast because I heard it would give more complexity. The kent goldings i was told would compliment the spices i was looking to use. I was also told spices need heat. So he said use it in the last 15 min of the boil and crush the cinnamon stick a bit. Thoughts?



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