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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Newbie cider questions, of course
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:49 AM   #1
tf2
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Default Newbie cider questions, of course

Hi -- I'm new here, but impressed by the depth of the cider wisdom I've seen so far. I sent some of this to AHA's tech-talk email list before exploring homebrewtalk.com, so apologies if anyone's getting it twice.

I've brewed beer and one batch of mead, but never cider. On a whim I decided to ferment a gallon jug of cider I bought at a fresh market. It's been fermenting since Aug. 25, and I racked it into a secondary on Aug. 30. Since then, the bubbling in the fermentation lock has slowed quite a bit -- I would guess it's a few an hour at most; if it were beer, I'd prime and bottle, but I'm using Lalvin 718-1122 wine yeast, which I've never used before. (It was recommended by the LHBS; I also used 1 tsp of yeast nutrient at the outset.) The temp in the brew room has been a pretty consistent 73-75. The question: When do I bottle? Also, the cider is still pretty cloudy -- do I just have to wait for it to clear, or is there some way to do that? Is it too late to add pectic enzyme? And is it likely to be drinkable by Thanksgiving? Christmas?

Plus, I'm about to start a second batch using another jug of the same very cloudy cider. Does anyone recommend pectic enzyme? Something else? I'm planning to use ale yeast, in the hopes of having it ready by Thanksgiving/Christmas if the other won't be. Can I still add spices, or will that require longer aging? (If spices would work, I'm thinking of a couple sticks of cinnamon, a half-dozen cloves and maybe chunk of (peeled?) ginger; any advice is welcome, however.)

Meantime, a friend who's also making his first batch of cider, tasted it while bottling (he's a week or two behind me, but decided to bottle after a sharp temperature drop halted fermentation). He's using a different yeast (Lalvin RC-212). He described it this way: "quite dry, you could clearly taste the alcohol, and still a very tiny bit sparkly (carbonated). Not enough to foam, but enough to feel a bit prickly on the tongue. More disappointingly, there was a strong flavor of something almost like a petroleum product - benzene or lighter fluid or something like that. I'm hoping that's something that will mellow with age, but it was definitely not a pleasant drink (yet)." Is there any hope for his brew?

OK. I'm sure I've gone way past a polite number of questions for a newbie. Thanks for your patience, and your help!

tf

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Old 10-16-2007, 03:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tf2
the bubbling in the fermentation lock has slowed quite a bit -- I would guess it's a few an hour at most; if it were beer, I'd prime and bottle, but I'm using Lalvin 718-1122 wine yeast, which I've never used before. (It was recommended by the LHBS; I also used 1 tsp of yeast nutrient at the outset.)


When do I bottle? Also, the cider is still pretty cloudy -- do I just have to wait for it to clear, or is there some way to do that?
I'm in a similar situation, so I'll answer what I can. I used clearish cider and Red-Star Montrachet yeast.

The bubbling in my airlock has also slowed to about once every hour or so.

It was very cloudy at first and now is suuuuper clear, as if it were in amber glass. I still haven't decided when to bottle, but once it gets clear, I hear you're good to go for bottling (EdWort's apfelwein thread, titled "Man, I love Apfelwein"--a good read). I'm just waiting a bit to age it.

Wait a day or two, people will jump on this thread.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:58 AM   #3
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Not sure if you're talking EdWort's Apfelwein or New England Hard Cider.

As far as Apfelwein goes... Some people wait til it's clear enough to read a newspaper through before bottling. In my experience, that's about 2 months time. I personally let it sit in primary about a month, then rack for a second month, then bottle. If you used montrachet, and followed the 2 pounds dextrose recipe, it will take about a month to finish fermenting.

If you're going to use a cloudy 'fresh pressed' cider, and make a New England style hard cider, you want to use pectic enzyme and put that in before you pitch your yeast. Dump the cider in your fermenter, add campden and pectic, then pitch your yeast 24 hours later. Give it a good 2 weeks or a month in primary (until primary fermentation is finished), then rack and let it sit for another month or so until it clears, then rack again and (optional) let it bulk age for a couple months. The bulk aging will allow malo-lactic fermentation to take place, which will mellow out your cider considerably.

As far as your friend goes, if he didn't wait til it was done fermenting, that would explain the carbination. I don't know what could cause a lighter fluid taste though.

Feel free to ask all the questions you have, that's the only way to learn... and remember, everyone on this forum was a noob at one time or another... RDWHAHB...

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Old 10-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adolphus79
The bulk aging will allow malo-lactic fermentation to take place, which will mellow out your cider considerably.

I'm wondering is introducing a malolactic bacteria culture would speed the process. Anyone tried this?
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:56 PM   #5
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I've thought about it, but haven't gotten that far into my experimentation yet...

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