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Old 01-14-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Default "Newbie has lots of questions" thread!!

Here goes, folks. All the questions I have, even after reading through the last two months of topics here on the cider forum. I have some Nottingham yeast on the way as well as some drilled bungs and airlocks (hope they arrive for the weekend). I have access to pasturized cider as well as plenty of canned and bottled apple juice. Plan to make 3 individual gallons my first time around, all with slightly different ingredients from recipes I've gotten here and elsewhere.

So here goes the questions:

1- How much yeast is needed per gallon? I ordered three "packets" and how far will each packet get me?

2- I understand my "primary" ferment is my first run in the carboy of choice. What exactly is meant by a "secondary?"

3- The above being said, I undestand that "priming" my bottles means to add some suger for carbonation. Must all cider be primed when bottled?

4- What containers may be used for bottling? Plastic cider jugs? Mason jars? Used and cleaned wine bottles? Whatever?

5- Some recipes I see calls simply for cider, honey, suger and yeast. Others that get more complicated calls for "acid blends" and pectin enzymes to be added at some point. Why? Am I taking flavor away? Alcohol content? Shelf life?

6- Carboys... why can't plastic be used? I see an issue being made about using glass containers. is there a reason behind this?

7- Last question... I think. What alcohol levels can be obtained with cider? Should I figure about the same level as wines?

Sorry to bore you great folks with this. I hope to get my first batch started in a few days. Thanks in advance for the replies.

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Old 01-14-2011, 08:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Here goes, folks. All the questions I have, even after reading through the last two months of topics here on the cider forum. I have some Nottingham yeast on the way as well as some drilled bungs and airlocks (hope they arrive for the weekend). I have access to pasturized cider as well as plenty of canned and bottled apple juice. make sure it is not apple juice cocktail, 100% juice is the stuff Plan to make 3 individual gallons my first time around, all with slightly different ingredients from recipes I've gotten here and elsewhere.

So here goes the questions:

1- How much yeast is needed per gallon? Pitch one per container.I ordered three "packets" and how far will each packet get me? Apple Juice is easily consumed by yeast. it will go to 1.000 on a hydrometer when it is done. A cider should be fully fermented in about 3 weeks, but probably sooner.

2- I understand my "primary" ferment is my first run in the carboy of choice. What exactly is meant by a "secondary?moving to another container helps make a more clearer finished product, basically it just removes extra yeast. It is not required.

3- The above being said, I understand that "priming" my bottles means to add some suger for carbonation. Must all cider be primed when bottled?if you want sparkling, then add approx 3 oz. of corn sugar, or 2 oz. white sugar to the total three gallons. Not 3 oz. per gallon. Still, like wine is good too.

4- What containers may be used for bottling? Plastic cider jugs? Mason jars? Used and cleaned wine bottles? Whatever?I use beer bottles. Wine bottles could be use too.

5- Some recipes I see calls simply for cider, honey, sugar and yeast. Others that get more complicated calls for "acid blends" and pectin enzymes to be added at some point. Why? Am I taking flavor away? Alcohol content? Shelf life?Sugar ups the alcohol, for this batch just use yeast. Spices will add different flavors, go easy on them though, Honey does both.

6- Carboys... why can't plastic be used? I see an issue being made about using glass containers. is there a reason behind this? this is huge debate, plastic is fine.

7- Last question... I think. What alcohol levels can be obtained with cider? Should I figure about the same level as wines? with out adding sugar the Alcohol By Volume should be around 5%.

Sorry to bore you great folks with this. I hope to get my first batch started in a few days. Thanks in advance for the replies.
Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:27 PM   #3
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Another question... what about using table syrup instead of honey? I have a lot of that right now!!

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Old 01-15-2011, 01:59 PM   #4
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So here goes the questions:

1- How much yeast is needed per gallon? I ordered three "packets" and how far will each packet get me?
One package will work for 1-6 gallons

2- I understand my "primary" ferment is my first run in the carboy of choice. What exactly is meant by a "secondary?"
"Primary" is where the bulk of fermentation occurs. After fermentation slows down, the cider/wine can be "racked" (siphoned) into another sanitized vessel to get it off of the spent yeast/pectin other debris in the bottom called "lees"

3- The above being said, I undestand that "priming" my bottles means to add some suger for carbonation. Must all cider be primed when bottled?
Priming is simply the word used for adding sugar to the cider to cause carbonation when bottled. It has nothing to do with fermentation (primary). If you don't want bubbly cider, you don't add the priming sugar to it. I don't like carbonated cider, mine is still, so it's not primed.

4- What containers may be used for bottling? Plastic cider jugs? Mason jars? Used and cleaned wine bottles? Whatever?
Well, if you want it carbonated, you'll want to use something that can hold pressure, like soda bottles or beer bottles. Mason jars and wine bottles will explode if you try to carbonate a liquid in them. For still cider, wine bottles, beer bottles, etc, are fine.

5- Some recipes I see calls simply for cider, honey, suger and yeast. Others that get more complicated calls for "acid blends" and pectin enzymes to be added at some point. Why? Am I taking flavor away? Alcohol content? Shelf life?
Pectic enzyme helps clear the cider by breaking up the pectin that is in it. It's not necessary. Acid blend, tannin, etc, are all for flavor. You can go simple or add more ingredients- it is personal preference.

Alcohol content is determined by the sugar content. Fermenting just cider will give you about 5-7% ABV. And also a more appl-y flavor. Adding sugar/honey will give the yeast more to eat, and boost the ABV but since it won't leave behind any flavor, the cider will be more wine-like. I'd try just plain cider and yeast in one batch, and one batch with cider and added honey or sugar, to see the difference.

You need a hydrometer. You'll have to buy one, but that's how you determine the ABV and can balance the cider. If you just randomly add sugar, without knowing the amount of sugar already in the cider you can accidently make rocket fuel!


6- Carboys... why can't plastic be used? I see an issue being made about using glass containers. is there a reason behind this?
Plastic is ok- but you want something "thick" and non oxygen permeable, so those cheap plastic water jugs probably aren't the best.

7- Last question... I think. What alcohol levels can be obtained with cider? Should I figure about the same level as wines?
Plain cider should get you 5-7% depending on the amount of natural sugar in the juice. Adding sugar or honey can boost that. Depending on the yeast strain you use, you could easily go up to 18%. That's why you need a hydrometer.

Sorry to bore you great folks with this. I hope to get my first batch started in a few days. Thanks in advance for the replies.
Answers in bold.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Another question... what about using table syrup instead of honey? I have a lot of that right now!!
Table syrup? What's that?
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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the basic equation behind all of fermenting is:

Sugar --> ethanol + CO2.

Adding more sugar and letting the yeast eat it will result in more alcohol in the end. If you seal up the container and there is still sugar and active yeast in it, you'll also get a buildup of CO2 because it can't escape.

Do you have to add priming sugar? Well, if there is no other sugar around, you won't be able to make any CO2, so if you want a still (flat) cider, no priming is needed, but if you want it carbonated, yes. On the other hand, if you put the cider into a bottle and it still has yeast and sugar left, priming sugar is not necessary, etc etc.

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Old 01-18-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great replies!! Keep 'em coming!

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