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Old 11-08-2011, 12:34 AM   #1
lroset
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Hello! This is my first post here, and I've never done any brewing before so please bear with me. I've started my first jug of cider with apple juice, bread yeast and sugar, but I made a mistake when following the recipes I had.

All of the recipes simply said to add the yeast in, but I did not know I was supposed to 'hydrate' the yeast before dropping it in. I just poured one pack of dry yeast straight into the juice. It seems to be fermenting anyway (maybe from the air..I don't know), but will the fermenting stop early or will there be problems because I didn't hydrate the yeast?

Another question I have is about hydrometers. Are they really necessary, or can I go by taste? There are no brewing stores around here but if it's recommended I can order one. I was thinking of adding extra sugar in a few days to prevent the sugar content getting too low.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-08-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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Hydrating the yeast is preferred but not necessary. It increases cell viability when you hydrate. For example if you have a fresh pack of dry yeast you may get 80%+ live yeast if you rehydrate and only 60% if you don't.

A hydrometer is a very handy tool. A time will come when you wish you had one.

If you add sugar back in fermentation will just start up again. If you want a sweet cider you will need to wait until fermentation is finished and sulfites and sorbates before racking and back sweetening.

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Old 11-08-2011, 12:55 AM   #3
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Can't say for sure about the yeast, but when we do EdWort's Apfelwein, the recipe calls for no rehydration.

Hydrometers are important because you want to be able to calculate the ABV (compare pre-fermentation spcific gravity to post-fermentation) but the most important reason is to avoid the one of the most dangerous things in brewing, the bottle bomb. Bottle bombs happen when the fermentation isn't done and the stuff is bottled. Fermentation continues in the bottle, CO2 pressure builds, until KABOOM! Glass flying so fast it penetrates drywall, the brewer, etc.

If you know that you've reached the projected final gravity, you're out of the woods for bottle bombs and can safely bottle. The best way to know if you've reached final gravity is with a hydrometer.

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:11 AM   #4
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What if I kept an airlock on the bottle for a while to be sure it's finished and won't blow up? I'm just curious, I probably will end up buying one anyway.

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:11 AM   #5
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The yeast will do fine, I'm guessing you have 1 gallon of juice- 1 pack of bread yeast, even poorly rehydrated will be fine. The yeast will rehydrate if you put it in any liquid, some methods (temp, liquid type, etc) are better than other, but really you should be fine with this.

A hydrometer is very useful, these can be mail orderd if you don't have a local home brew store(lhbs) near you. The 2 main uses of a hydrometer or other measuring device (like a refractometer) are to determine if the fermentation is done, and get an accurate measure of the acohol content - often called abv.

You can get an idea about finishing by taste and by other signs - like bubbling, but they are no where near as effective as a hydrometer. For your first ferment it is fine to not bother. But if you get hooked into doing this, it is very useful. I did many a beer kit without one, just letting time take care of things.

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:19 AM   #6
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Alright thanks for the help everyone! I will just keep a close eye on it and I'll go with a hydrometer next time.

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