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Old 10-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #1
jamessh
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Default primary fermentation for cider

I am relatively new to brewing and have just bottled my first beer. I am now fermenting some store bought, pasteurized (Whole Foods "apple juice") cider. From what reading I have done it appears there is a pretty standard divide between people who either 1) advise that you do NOT leave the cider in the primary for > 10-11 days (i.e. once the SG is about 1.005 rack into secondary) or 2) say that leaving the cider on its lees is probably beneficial and does not appear to impart any off flavours.

for e.g. see this post:

As is the case in most aspects of life, it seems that this would be context dependent so I will describe the "recipe" I gleaned from the world-wide-web.

2 gallons of cider into sanitized 5 gallon plastic carboy
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1/4 tsp wyeast nutrient
(starting gravity: 1.059)
sit for 24 hours and while this was going on
rehydrated yeast in a dash of honey and 3 Gala apples that I pressed ("pasteurized" this via a bit of heat, but not boiling)
1/2 package of 5.0 gram "Red Star" Pasteur Champagne yeast
let this bubble for 24 hours and then pitched into plastic carboy with air-lock

It has been 11 days and I am just curious what you all think. It appears that bubbling has stopped but I have yet to take a gravity reading (because I will probably have to thief it or be creative to get the cider out of the carboy since I am not using a bucket). Do I rack it or it let it sit on the lees for a month?

Its future holds modest amounts of xylitol (sugar-alcohol that yeast can't eat) plus some corn sugar for bubbles.

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #2
midfielder5
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You need to get a gravity reading before thinking of racking it. If it were me, I'd let it sit for 30 days, like edwort's apfelwein [then give it 1 year n bottles for the rocket fuel to mellow out, lol].

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Old 10-26-2011, 12:00 AM   #3
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Am I reading this correctly? You have 2 gallons of cider in a 5 gallon carboy? That sounds like an awful lot of head space.

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Old 10-26-2011, 06:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple_Jacker View Post
Am I reading this correctly? You have 2 gallons of cider in a 5 gallon carboy? That sounds like an awful lot of head space.
I don't understand? It is in a primary and the CO2 is presumably pushing out what oxygen would be filling the head space. I was going to rack back into the 1 gallon glass bottles that they came in and fit with an air lock. Is that a problem?
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:05 AM   #5
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it's not a problem but you will still come up a bit short since you will lose liquid in racking. you can top off with the same juice you started with or just any old juice, which will just ferment out pretty quickly

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Old 10-26-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinnerstick View Post
it's not a problem but you will still come up a bit short since you will lose liquid in racking. you can top off with the same juice you started with or just any old juice, which will just ferment out pretty quickly
And if I were to cut this with some boiled water I could lower the (potentially 7% ABV) high alcohol content. Also when you say "top off" do you suggest going to the base of the neck (the neck is about 2-3 inches X 1 1/2 inch diameter)? This latter fact is going to force me to make or pick up some different air locking bungs.

I suppose I will just let it sit on the lees for about a month.
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