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Old 11-19-2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Newbie Questions

My buddy made some cider and gave me the itch for it but have never done it before. Have a few questions that I was wondering if someone can answer.

I would like to make carbonate it since I want to bottle it and make it with a fairly low alcohol content...sorta like hornsby as an example. I plan on doing a 3 gallon batch.

Questions I have:

1. I want to use both brown sugar and honey...how much of each for 3 gallons? Or are those 2 combos bad?
2. My LHBS had a brewers yeast and a "multi-purpose" yeast...which would you suggest?
3. How long should I let it sit in the primary?
4. Is there a need for a secondary? If so, is a 6.5 gallon bucket that has already been used for beer ok?
5. What do I use to carbonate it? The beer kits that I have done have come with priming sugar so I am not sure what to use and how much?

Thanks for any help you can give!

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Old 11-22-2011, 04:23 PM   #2
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I'm still working on getting the whole sweet and bottle carbed thing working right but here's my advice anyway.

1. The sugar and honey will actually increase the alc content and dry out the cider. I.e make it less sweet. If you're looking for Hornsby I'd stay away from them.
2. I'd need more information to tell but either will work. I like Nottingham ale yeast myself.
3. Cider fermentation takes a while, plan on at least a month, longer is better. I just racked one that I think I started back in June.
4. There is no need for a secondary but I use one anyway to help remove yeast. That being said, I plan on force carbing this batch so I don't need any yeast around for carbing.
5. Priming sugar is fine, I've also used additional apple juice. The juice is a little tricky since the sugar content varies a bit. The real difficulty if you want sweet and bottle carbed cider is keeping it from drying out. There are whole threads about this but the crux of the matter is that most things you would add to sweeten it will wake up the yeasts which convert the sugars to alcohol leaving your cider dry again. Bottle bombs are also a concern.

Do some research on here before you bottle. There are lots of discussions on this subject.

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I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:45 PM   #3
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ravenshead hit the nail on the head.
the only other thing i would mention is that brown sugar has unfermentables in it and, at least to me, leaves a taste that i don't enjoy. Many people do enjoy that flavor though, just wanted you to be aware.
also, if using honey, use light colored honey as dark honey has similar unfermentables and i honestly don't know how it would taste combined with brown sugar.
i add honey to pretty much all my ciders though (which makes them cysers) adding corn sugar tends to make it taste cidery, ha.

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Old 11-23-2011, 12:21 AM   #4
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I ended up doing 3 gallons of cider to 2/3 pound of brown sugar. Pitched Red Star Champane yeast in it. Has been fermenting since Monday morning. OG was 1.062.

My concern is bottle bombs. I plan on racking to a secondary around week 3 and allowing the fermenting to stop and the cider to clear. Then carbing with about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. If I let the fermenting stop and get a reading of approximately 1.000, I can store it at room temps without concern of bottle bombs, right??

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:16 AM   #5
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Just read the sticky on the stove top pasteurizing and I think I will let it ferment to about 1.010, rack to bottling bucket with 1/2 cup of brown sugar as primer, let carbonate, and pasteurize. Thoughts?

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:20 AM   #6
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That should be fine, but be careful about how much to let them carb before pasteurizing. That sticky talks about this. Too much carbing and the heat could be bad.

When oyu add the sugar, do it slowly. Taste it frequently. You want to make sure that it's palatable.

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:23 AM   #7
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when I sweetened up my batches (one with stevia, one with apple/cranberry frozen concentrate), I sweetened to taste. But... the carbonation and chill of the fridge brought out a little more sweet in it once I was finished. Next batch I plan on sweetening just enough to get my mind into its sweet mode, and then prime and bottle from there.

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smh View Post
That should be fine, but be careful about how much to let them carb before pasteurizing. That sticky talks about this. Too much carbing and the heat could be bad.

When oyu add the sugar, do it slowly. Taste it frequently. You want to make sure that it's palatable.
I am not gonna do any sweetening other than adding the primer for carbonation.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:25 PM   #9
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If you're going to pasteurize in a pot be sure to put a lid on it. Every time I try to do that I have a few bottles explode. You may want to try using a rack of some kind to keep the bottles of the bottom.

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I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWavs View Post
Just read the sticky on the stove top pasteurizing and I think I will let it ferment to about 1.010, rack to bottling bucket with 1/2 cup of brown sugar as primer, let carbonate, and pasteurize. Thoughts?
Use weight instead of volume when measuring your priming sugar. Sugar density varies, especially with brown sugar. About 4 oz should be good.

You won't have any bombs, but your cider will be dry.
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I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
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