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Old 10-05-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default New to pressing apples and making cider

I finally got the wild hair to do this. I am using a store bought press for the time being, but I have plans drawn up to build my own, bigger, better cider press. Along with cider, I am also planning on venturing into the world of wine making.
One of the things I have been trying to find information on, is what an average yield is on grinding and pressing apples, to how much fresh cider is produced.
Last night I pressed my latest batch of cider. Here are the results of this round :
Four large grocery bags of apples @20# each
By my math that translates to 80# of apples. After grinding and pressing, I ended up with 5 gallons of fresh cider. 5 gallons @ 8 pounds per gallon makes 40 pounds of cider. This translates to a 50% return (so to speak) on the apples.
As I stated before, I am new to this, but I think that is a pretty good press on the apples, and that doesn't count for the amount of waste I had to remove from the apples. So the less waste, the more cider you should get from a pound of apples.

I just thought I would pass this along, and see how many others chime in with their respective pressing results.

Happy brewing

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Old 10-05-2009, 08:47 PM   #2
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50% sounds pretty good, I get about the same. I think that pressing at home you won't get above 60%. A farmer near me said this year he was offered $80/ton for his second grade apples by a juicing operation, they get 85% yield.He sold the apples for stockfeed instead, says very cheap juice is being dumped by china on the world market.

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Old 10-05-2009, 08:52 PM   #3
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I built a rack & cloth type press over the last few months and have been impressed with the yields that I have been getting - close to 5 gallons per bushel. I will try to remember to weigh them before pressing next time to see what kind of efficiency I am getting. I should be pressing again the next two weekends.

From what I have read, 70% efficiency is good.... to go any higher requires much more pressing pressure - good 'ol law of diminishing returns. My press racks are about 120 in^2 and I have a 6 Ton bottle jack so I have the capability for 100 psi of pressure, but I don't usually go that high. My current setup gives me about 2.5 gallons/press.... but I could easily double that by using larger racks.

I have also read that the most important factor is the grind quality. I am using a garbage disposal (new!) to grind my apples. After pressing, my pomace is about like a mat of wet sawdust.

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:03 AM   #4
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Another interesting factor in pressing is the rate of production. I can get 12-15L/hr (3-4gal/hr) which includes the grinding with a garden mulcher. Its pretty slow and hard work with my little home made press but rewarding in the end. I plan to make a better press next year.

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Old 10-06-2009, 04:23 PM   #5
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I find that the apple prep is what takes the most time of all. Especially if you are doing it alone, like me. If I didn't have to inspect every apple for bugs, and cutting out the bad spots, it would take a heck of a lot less time to press 5 gallons. I bet I could cut, grind and fill the press, getting the cider flowing in 20 minutes. Two press fulls for 5 gallons in under an hour. Then attend the press as the cleanup goes on, which always seems to be the worst part of anything in brewing. The final cleanup!!!

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Old 10-06-2009, 07:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombo80 View Post
I find that the apple prep is what takes the most time of all.
I guess it depends how fussy you are and how bad your apples are. I don't worry very much unless there is a rotten apple, then it gets chucked. In big operations there is no inspection at all, just a wash and straight in the mill. Bugs are good protein to help the yeast.
Yeah, clean up is a pain, in wineries they spend more time cleaning than anything else, how romantic!
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:19 PM   #7
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I agree on not worrying so much about apple quality. I sort all my apples into 3 categories: Eating/Baking, Sauce and Cider. Cider being the lower quality apples. I cut each apple in to quarters or halves and take a quick look for rotten spots (which get removed or tossed), then its into the grinder.

Working by myself, I get about 2.5 gallons - a single press- per hour. If I had one person washing and cutting apples, one person running the grinder and another pressing I could probably get 3 or 4 presses/hour. I think my grinder would be the bottleneck at that point. But this is kinda a moot point for me as I am not doing huge quantities just yet. In another 5 years or so I will have 40 trees coming into bearing and I will have to build a larger press.

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Old 10-06-2009, 11:25 PM   #8
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when you built your rack and cloth press what are you using for your cloth? it siad in brew your own magazine to use cheese cloth but i was wondering if there was a less expensive alternative

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Old 10-06-2009, 11:50 PM   #9
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I am using just nylon netting material that I bought at Walmart. It was $.97/yard and I used 3 yards to make 6 cloths. I don't think I will get more than a season of use from it, but at that price who cares? My grandparents used duck cloth with their larger cider press. When you do small batches you loose some yield with any material that is going to absorb the cider, which is why I went with the nylon netting.

I bought some scrap Corian pieces (sink cutouts) to use for my racks.... easy to clean and you can cut them pretty easy with carbide tipped saw blades.

I will try to snap and post some pics when I press this weekend.

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:39 AM   #10
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I visited a small operation that does fruit winemaking and distilling. They used a large garden shredder, like contractors use for pruning trees,to shred their fruit. could shred apples really quick I expect, might be worth getting for 40 trees.
I use nylon mosquito netting for my cloth, and slabs of wood for the racks. Corian sounds like a good idea, i might investigate further.

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