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Old 09-28-2012, 06:28 AM   #1
Sarsen
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Default Quickest Fermentation time Possible?

Hello,
What is the best way to quicken lag time, first fermentation, and have desirable flavor profiles with cider?

I am going to start with double the recommended amount of yeast in a starter, add a yeast booster/nutrient, and put it in a slightly warmer spot, and brew in 1 gallon amounts.

My goal is to have the whole process under 2 weeks(where the reading is the same for 3 days). I am not against back-sweetening or adding a little lactic acid to mellow out flavors after such a quick process, but I want to try to add honey or maple syrup to the start to try and add more complexity.

But my question i can't seem to find an answer to is; will adding sugar quicken the lag time and first fermentation because the yeast has more food to eat, or will it make it longer because the yeast has more sugar to break down?

I realize with such a quick process I am not making a great cider, but my goal is to just make something drinkable and enjoyable with least amount of time.

I will be using local pasteurized cider with possible vitamin c, but essentially no preservatives.

It's a fun experiment, but any advice or experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.



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Old 09-28-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarsen View Post
Hello,
I am going to start with double the recommended amount of yeast in a starter, add a yeast booster/nutrient, and put it in a slightly warmer spot, and brew in 1 gallon amounts.
Overpitching the yeast isn't going to speed things up any. Pitching the proper amount of yeast is going to get you both the fastest fermentation and the best flavors.

Yeast nutrient is a good thing, especially in a cider, but I don't think it speeds things up much, if at all.

Fermenting warmer will speed up the primary fermentation, but the warmer you ferment the more nasty off flavors you're likely to get. And the time difference is going to be minimal anyway.

The batch size doesn't really have any appreciable affect on the speed of fermentation, or anything else for that matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarsen View Post
My goal is to have the whole process under 2 weeks(where the reading is the same for 3 days). I am not against back-sweetening or adding a little lactic acid to mellow out flavors after such a quick process, but I want to try to add honey or maple syrup to the start to try and add more complexity.
A 2 week old cider isn't going to taste great no matter what, but I'd much prefer a 2 week old cider that's been fermented cool with the proper amount of yeast, than a 2 week old cider fermented warm and overpitched. In fact, I think I'd choose the properly fermented 2 week cider over a 2 month old cider that someone tried to cut corners on.

Backsweetening with honey or syrup will add complexity, but adding it prior to fermentation won't do much, especially if you don't let it age for a very long time. They're both extremely simple sugars, and will ferment out almost completely, making the cider more dry.

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Originally Posted by Sarsen View Post
But my question i can't seem to find an answer to is; will adding sugar quicken the lag time and first fermentation because the yeast has more food to eat, or will it make it longer because the yeast has more sugar to break down?
Adding a little bit of some simple sugars isn't going to change the fermentation time much. If you add enough sugars to get a significantly high OG, then it will slow down fermentation since the solution will start to get alcoholic enough that the yeast won't want to finish the job. The more simple sugars and the higher the OG, the longer it's going to need to age before tasting good.

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Originally Posted by Sarsen
I realize with such a quick process I am not making a great cider, but my goal is to just make something drinkable and enjoyable with least amount of time.
All of these corners you're trying to cut are only going to shave a couple hours from the lagtime, and maybe a day or two from the fermentation. This is the most critical part of the process, and not a place you really want to cut corners. It's going to result in a nasty tasting product, and gain virtually nothing.

If you really can't wait longer than 2 weeks to bottle or keg your cider, fine, but doing the primary fermentation right is going to yield a cider 10 times more drinkable at 2 weeks than if you try to cut corners.

My advice is to get a pipeline going. On top of whatever small batches you want to do now, also fill a couple carboys with cider and hide them in a closet for 9-12 months. Your patience will be rewarded. If you don't have the patience to do that, you might be looking into the wrong hobby.


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Old 09-28-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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My advice is to get a pipeline going. On top of whatever small batches you want to do now, also fill a couple carboys with cider and hide them in a closet for 9-12 months. Your patience will be rewarded. If you don't have the patience to do that, you might be looking into the wrong hobby.
This.

In anything homebrew, time is your best friend and impatience is your worst enemy.
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #4
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Juanmoore, thank you for the help and advice ,but please, don't get me wrong. I am doing this an an experiement to just try and thought someone could answer my few questions before I got started. This different method is not something I expect to do all the time(cutting corners I mean). I usually do things with a proper slower aging process, as you have mentioned.

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Old 09-28-2012, 10:47 AM   #5
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The only things I've found in my 10+ years of experience that really allow you to turn a "product" out in a short amount of time are:

Low ABV and Hefeweizens.

You can have a fantastic Hefeweizen in 3 weeks (drinkable in 2 weeks) if you keep the ABV around 4% or a touch less. Hefes are fantastic for fast turn-around. And in general, lower ABV drinks mature faster.

As I've been getting my pipeline going again, I've been brewing a lot of 3-4.5% ABV beers lately. They are drinkable within a month or so. This has allowed me to fill most of my kegs, freeing me up to brew some other stuff in my fermenters.

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Old 09-29-2012, 06:48 AM   #6
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How long it takes depends on the style and your experience.
It does not take long to finish a batch of cider if you stop it semisweet and pasteurize or cold crash around 1.010 or so.
At that point there is still enough natural apple sugars to balance the acids and give it more flavor
In general, the further the sg goes below 1.010, the longer its going to take for it to mellow
I've got nice kegs in the fridge from juice that was pressed just over two weeks ago.
As the temps cool, my ferment times go to 3 or 4 weeks which are easier to control.
At higher temps, nine days or less from apple to bottle is easily doable, but stopping the cider in the right place is harder

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:21 AM   #7
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My "Original Recipe" Hard Cider ( I brew hard cider exclusively and have 2-3 different recipes) is in primary fermentation for approx. 6 days and in secondary for approx. 24 hrs., i allow approx. 7 days for bottle conditioning. That addes up to a total of two weeks. Depending on your brewing knowledge, experience and technique i believe it is completely possible to obtain a completely drinkable Hard cider from innoculation to drinking in two weeks.

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
Your patience will be rewarded. If you don't have the patience to do that, you might be looking into the wrong hobby.
Pretty much what I was thinking when I read the first post. If you need cider to drink "now", go to the store and get a 6 of Woodchuck, Angry Orchard, Hornsbys, etc...


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