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Old 09-12-2009, 09:22 PM   #1
cwhill
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Default NY Brewer and First time Cider

Greetings from Upper, NY. We are getting ready to enter the great apple seaon up here before the cold winter settles in. I have many all grain beer brews under my belt and have lots of equipment not getting used. I also keg and use a chest freezer for the kegs. So now I'm ready to try something sweeter! I'd like to try and get some fresh cider from one of the many local apple orchards here. They have all kinds as far as fresh pressed and or pasteurized etc. I'd like to keep it simple. So any suggestions on what to get?
1. Do I just go and get 5 gals of pasteurized cider in my 6.5 carboy and put champagne yeast in it?
2. Does using apple cider get as clear as using apple juice?
3. Can it be kegged with CO2 just like beer?
4. How long to let it ferment? Same as beer until the gravity stops dropping?

Thanks in advance for any advice!!

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Old 09-12-2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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The apple cider isn't going to have enough sugar to produce the ABV you will be looking for (6-8ish?). You're going to need to add few pounds of sugar, corn sugar would be great.

I have used montrachet yeast with good success, it tastes like apple flavored champagne. You can use white wine yeast as well if you like.

You'd probably want to shoot for 1.5-2lbs corn sugar. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't get as clear as if you used filtered apple juice, but if you kegged it it would eventually clear up realtively well, although clear or not the cider probably tastes better than juice.

Yeah just keg it like a beer. CO2 it to your liking and you are g2g.

Fermentation is just like beer. However you're going to want to let it age for as long as humanly possible. Cider tasted ok at 4 or 5 months, better after 6, and great around a year. Just let it sit in the primary until you can't stand it anymore. Longer is better.

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Old 09-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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The apple cider isn't going to have enough sugar to produce the ABV you will be looking for (6-8ish?). You're going to need to add few pounds of sugar, corn sugar would be great.

I have used montrachet yeast with good success, it tastes like apple flavored champagne. You can use white wine yeast as well if you like.

You'd probably want to shoot for 1.5-2lbs corn sugar. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't get as clear as if you used filtered apple juice, but if you kegged it it would eventually clear up realtively well, although clear or not the cider probably tastes better than juice.

Yeah just keg it like a beer. CO2 it to your liking and you are g2g.

Fermentation is just like beer. However you're going to want to let it age for as long as humanly possible. Cider tasted ok at 4 or 5 months, better after 6, and great around a year. Just let it sit in the primary until you can't stand it anymore. Longer is better.
Awesome...Thanks for the great feedback. I'll get a few pounds of the corn sugar from the brew shop. I assume dextrose is fine as usual? Should I dilute it in water to liquify it it. Hot water that is?
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:10 PM   #4
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dextrose = corn sugar so that's what you need yeah. Try 2 lbs, with 5 gallons of cider.


I'm guessing you're getting the cider in 1gal milk jug type containers. Pour half of one gallon into the carboy then pour a pound of sugar into the cider jug, put top back on and shake like hell. the sugar will more or less dissolve into the cider, pour that into the carboy. Repeat for the second gallon. Sprinkle in the yeast then wash it all down with the last gallon.

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Old 09-12-2009, 11:04 PM   #5
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Please dont use champagne yeast! sorry to disagree with the other responses, but if you want something sweet and appley you DONT want to use champagne or wine yeast.

i recommend 2 lbs light brown sugar to up the abv and use Wyeast Sweet mead yeast 4184. that produces great results. if you cant get the wyeast sweet mead yeast, or dont want to pay that much for liquid yeast, then use safale s-04. if you read the sticky at the top of the cider section, you will see kevin and other experts get great results with s-04 and other ale yeasts.

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Old 09-12-2009, 11:13 PM   #6
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Agree with poster above about champagne yeast. However what are your tastes? do you like sweet or dry? body or no body? have you had any commercial ciders you like? I'm also getting ready for apple season here in NY and after trying a bunch of different cider/juice/sugar/yeast combos over the past couple years i'm actually going to try a cider yeast for once lol. Also depending on the type of apple juice, you're gravity can be anywhere from 1.035 to 1.06 so adding sugar is not always a necessity.

Do you have an idea of which orchard you'll be getting your cider from? Also its a bit late but goulds orchard just started having cider competitions, this year is the second year, i believe its sometime in november.

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Old 09-12-2009, 11:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JoMarky View Post
Agree with poster above about champagne yeast. However what are your tastes? do you like sweet or dry? body or no body? have you had any commercial ciders you like? I'm also getting ready for apple season here in NY and after trying a bunch of different cider/juice/sugar/yeast combos over the past couple years i'm actually going to try a cider yeast for once lol. Also depending on the type of apple juice, you're gravity can be anywhere from 1.035 to 1.06 so adding sugar is not always a necessity.

Do you have an idea of which orchard you'll be getting your cider from? Also its a bit late but goulds orchard just started having cider competitions, this year is the second year, i believe its sometime in november.
I think I like the champagne yeast as I tend to prefer the drier less sweet ciders. If I'm correct the champagne yeast yields that type generally? As far as using the safale 04 doesn't the ABV get too high for that type of yeast or no? I have tons of that on hand as well as nottingham. I've seen a few posts using that I think. Anyway as I said I prefer it a bit drier.
I'll be getting some of the cider from up in the Saratoga County area. Saratoga Apple in Schuylerville or even from a place in Argyle. Not sure what types they currently have.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:58 PM   #8
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if you like dry i'd recommend the white labs cider yeast, it ferments quite dry but keeps the flavors of the cider, attenuation is greater than 80%, it can handle the alcohol, and it doesn't take forever to develop a good profile. where do you go for your homebrew stuff? hennessey in north greenbush has a great selection of yeasts(including all that have been mentioned in this thread).

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Old 09-13-2009, 01:45 AM   #9
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if you like dry i'd recommend the white labs cider yeast, it ferments quite dry but keeps the flavors of the cider, attenuation is greater than 80%, it can handle the alcohol, and it doesn't take forever to develop a good profile. where do you go for your homebrew stuff? hennessey in north greenbush has a great selection of yeasts(including all that have been mentioned in this thread).
I can certainly get to Hennessey. That's about an hour drive maybe a bit less. We have a home brew shop up here too, EBI. They closed the shop for awhile the NYSLA (Liquor A$$holes) said they couldn't sell the stuff in their beverage center. They reopened it next door in a little building so they are back in full swing. Not aure if they carry the cider yeast or not. I'll stop in and check. They are just off exit 15 on the Northway; Right near me. Thanks for the advise!!
What kind of ciders are you making?
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:46 AM   #10
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Hopefully EBI has the yeast, i'm sure they could use the business after getting dicked around by our wondrous liquor board, they probably had to throw up a good amount of cash just so they could sell some malted barley. I have three ciders going right now, EdWorts Apfelwein (using 5 gal apple juice, 2lbs dextrose, montrachet), Brandon O's Graff (4 gals cider, 1 gallon wort of 2lbs DME and 1lb C60, 1oz aged leaf Saaz with S-05 yeast) and a plain cider; 5 gallons cider, 2 lbs brown sugar, and whitelabs cider yeast.

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