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Old 08-15-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
RobWalker
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Default Options for preventing oxidization?

I'm brewing a 1G apfelwein from real apples. I've no doubt my apples got a lot of exposure to the air during juice extraction, but this really is a trial run for possibly buying a press next year - there's plenty o' fruit around here.

Anyway, due to a low yield my headroom is quite large. I usually let my Apfelwein sit in the primary for 6 months (last time on the yeast cake to be honest, and it was fine) but seeing as I havn't got much room to play with this cider before oxidization ruins it, what's my best course of action? Top up, bottle, or add marbles?

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:12 PM   #2
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As long as you're not opening the bottle up often, you should be fine. During fermentation (and to a lesser extent during aging via off-gassing) the CO2 will push the O2 out. If there is any O2 the yeast will use it up, oxidation is really only an issue in storage post-fermentation. If you let it sit in the primary without messing with it for 6mo, I doubt you'll get much, if any, oxidation.

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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Sounds good. I'm happy to let it sit for a long time because it'll compress the crap out of the yeast cake/leftover apple junk, making it easier to keep the good stuff and lose the bad stuff.

So the inclusion of a few inches of headroom won't be an issue at all? when should I swap the airlock for a solid bung, if at all?

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
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I don't think a solid bung is necessary if you can remember to keep the airlock filled.

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Old 08-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #5
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As long as you're not opening the bottle up often, you should be fine. During fermentation (and to a lesser extent during aging via off-gassing) the CO2 will push the O2 out. If there is any O2 the yeast will use it up, oxidation is really only an issue in storage post-fermentation. If you let it sit in the primary without messing with it for 6mo, I doubt you'll get much, if any, oxidation.
i second the above, just leave it. no need to change to a solid bung, don't even open it. as for oxidation pre-fermentation, i was reading a cider manual from 1685 (the compleat planter & cyderist! what a read) and they recommend scatting the apples and leaving several days before pressing!
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:22 PM   #6
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I guess I"m the only one, but I don't agree that oxidation isn't a real issue.

With real apples, you'll have a ton of sediment, and you'll want to rack off of the sediment within about 45-60 days. When you do that, you'll have too much headspace. You can try topping up with some commercial apple juice or cider, racking into a smaller container (I use growlers, jugs, wine bottles, etc, whatever it takes), using marbles, etc, but I would highly recommend topping up.

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Old 08-15-2011, 10:28 PM   #7
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Top up, bottle, or add marbles?
I vote for bottling it. Bottle-conditioning is an awesome thing!
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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Yooper - a lot of my issue here is that we want to sort of maintain the taste of the original apples as much as possible and not top up with some mass produced supermarket juice, to see how it turns out really. If this goes well I might invest in a small press for next year's season there's also the option of making some juice from the apples themselves and freezing it, but man, getting a gallon from small apples was hard work!

dinnerstick - interesting stuff indeed! I suppose there arn't really many set rules for this sort of thing...but it's good to know that at one point in history, at least, exposure to the air wasn't an issue

LVBen - I'm definitely swaying in that direction, but it's early days yet...

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Old 08-16-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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not to suggest we all follow 400+ yr old techniques, just that it's interesting to know the history of how the stuff was made... so here's an excerpt. i still wonder how they prevented oxidation after fermentation which i think we all agree is a big detriment to good cider


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