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Old 09-30-2009, 10:52 AM   #1
benbull
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Default PLEASE HELP! Newbie questions...

Hi there, need some help with my first attempt at cider...

My friend has a small orchard at the end of their garden and we keep missing the opportunity to gather the apples each year...this year we managed to organise ourselves!

So, collected a wheelbarrow full of apples...mushed them...squeezed them...and ended up with about 20 litres of juice. put this into a clean foodsafe bucket.

Following some very basic instructions on the web... we believed we just had to leave the juice uncovered inside for a few days whilst it begins to froth-up...then when the activity slows...put in demijohns with airlocks and wait a few months.

The juice has been sitting for 3 days now and small mould spots are appearing on the surface...but nothing much else is happening. After reading more on the web...I see the safe route is to add campden tablets and then yeast... is it too late for us to do this? or should we stick with what we are doing? mould cant be a good sign!???

Any help would be much appreciated... we plan on collecting another batch of apples this weekend...but lots of work went into getting the first 20 litres...and we would much rather save this batch!

Thank you all for your time.


Ben.

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Old 09-30-2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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It should still be ok to pitch some yeast. rehydrate the yeast first in a bowl of warm water at 35c for 15 minutes. Taste the juice to see if it tastes ok. Have you been taking hydrometer readings? You should check every day or 2 until it stabilises at or just below zero.

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Old 09-30-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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Hi, thanks for the quick reply...

we first tested the juice the day after and it read 1.050, it is still the same 3 days later... is this because the fermentation has not started?

where should I go from here? should I buy some of the campden tablets and put them in? and yeast? if so..which yeast...so many kinds!

thanks for your help...really dont want to do it wrong!

Ben.

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Old 09-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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I'm also a noob, but I've done a lot of research and it looks like you can use any yeast, but in order of most common/desireable they would be:
Champagne
Dry white wine
Any wine
Ale
Bread (you have to be really desperate, haha)

I list them all because I had a hell of a time finding champagne yeast near me.

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Old 09-30-2009, 06:19 PM   #5
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do i need to do any of the camden tablet business???

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Old 09-30-2009, 06:20 PM   #6
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I've only done 1 cider using champagne yeast; it took a very long time and came out very dry/tart. I had to keg it and after adding 2 cans of frozen apple juice concentrate it is actually pretty good -- something like a woodchuck cider.

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Old 09-30-2009, 06:27 PM   #7
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Doing a natural fermentation - which is what the first poster described - is possible, but you really have to be careful with sanitation. Natural ferments can take from 1 to 7 days to start. If you do this again, I'd recommend using fresh pressed juice, filling a demijon up so that there is very little air in the top and use an airlock.

Normally for fresh pressed juice I would recommend not using campden, just be careful with sanitation, but in this case where the juice has been sitting open for 3 days, I'd use the campden and pitch the yeast 24 hours later

if you want a dry cider that you sip by the glass, use champagne or wine yeast. If you want to drink it by the pint, use ale, lager or wheat yeast. Read the sticky for more details

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Old 09-30-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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ok, many thanks...so...

do i add the campden tablets...leave for 24hrs, add the yeast...then leave open still?
i have the demijohns and airlocks, just not sure when to transfer to them? once the level drops from 1.050 to 1.000?

thanks,

ben.

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Old 09-30-2009, 07:06 PM   #9
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I use carboys like the ones on the last page of the sticky for primary fermentation. I know a lot of recipes just call for leaving the cider in an open pail for a while, but this seems like adding a lot of unnecessary risk to the process.

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Old 09-30-2009, 07:13 PM   #10
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Once you pitch the yeast put an airlock on it right away to avoid letting any more bacteria and oxygen into your brew. Rack it when the hydrometer reading stabilizes over a period of a few days (my ciders usually finish anywhere from 1.005 to 0.990, sometimes lower). Depending on the temperature and the yeast you use it should only take a couple of weeks.

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