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Old 09-11-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
boatcapt
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Default It was raining and I was bored...HELP!!

Well, boredom, the internet and a very little bit brewing knowledge (along with a few IPAs) caught up with me this weekend and with the encouragement of some "friends," I decided to make a hard cider. Woke up the next morning and realized I was outside of my limited brewing element so I'm turning to the experts.

Here is what I "found" sitting in my "beer cellar" (closet in the spare bedroom) when I woke up Sunday:

One gallon of Martinelli's unfiltered apple juice (no concentrate, sweetener or preservatives).
One cup of brown sugar.
Danstar American West Coast BRY-97 cleaned from by last IPA.
Balloon with a pin hole as an "air lock."
Temp is 70 degrees.

My foggy memory is that I'm good on all the sanitation issues.

This concoction has been bubbling fairly well for the last three days.

My plan (yea...let's call it a plan...that sounds like I have a clue what I'm doing!!) is to leave in the primary for two weeks then rack to a secondary for another two (will add one cinnamon stick). Rack again and prime with a cup of brown sugar, bottle and condition for a week. I'll finish by doing a stove top pasteurization per the instructions on this site.

Soooo...Do I have a chance at producing something that is going to be palatable?

Am I missing any critical steps?

Will I be creating 12 or so bottle bombs that will blow holes in my roof the second I start to pasteurize?

Should I pitch the whole thing and go back to the "safety" of beer brewing??!!

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:17 PM   #2
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Go buy an actual air lock. After its done fermenting, the balloon will let in air, that will oxidize the cider and make the batch bad. Or right when it stops bubbling, bottle it.

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Old 09-11-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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The problem is that cider usually needs plenty of time to age. It seems like it's not even palatable until a month after starting fermentation.

Take a look at Graham's English Cider recipe. It's got an easy, cheap recipe, great results, and lots of info in the comments.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/grahams-english-cider-107152/

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Old 09-11-2013, 09:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randzor View Post
Go buy an actual air lock. After its done fermenting, the balloon will let in air, that will oxidize the cider and make the batch bad. Or right when it stops bubbling, bottle it.
Thanks Randzor. I've got airlocks but I don't have a stopper that is the right size. Would I be relatively safe to pull a switch while the cider was still off gassing? The balloon is taught so it is putting off gas.

All...Do my time estimates (2 wk primary, 2 wk secondary, 1 week bottle condition, pasturize) look OK?

Knowing myself, I'll probably crack open the first bottle right after it chills after pasturization. I would imagine it will taste rough at best at that point. How long should I age the other bottles before I should expect a reasonably product (four weeks, four months...four YEARS...)?
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
One gallon of Martinelli's unfiltered apple juice
...
prime with a cup of brown sugar
...
Will I be creating 12 or so bottle bombs?
Yes that's WAY too much priming sugar for one gallon. Use the following calculator which has brown sugar listed as one of the priming agents: http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/

Depending on how much co2 you're looking to impart, you should be in the 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce range.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:44 PM   #6
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Hahaha! Been there, done that. I was left to my own devices one Friday night (a questionable decision on my girlfriend's part), and a 12 pack of Yuengling later...brewing sounded like a pretty good idea. It was 3 am before everything was done, and after waking up, I could only half recall the nights events - though I was still pretty sure that my sanitation was done correctly. The moral of the story? It was the BEST beer I've brewed so far!

I also just switch my 1st batch of cider over to the secondary it was still fermenting, but the ABV was 5.25%, so I'm happy stopping it there. I know they take a while to mature in the bottle, but I have no intentions of waiting anywhere NEAR that long. I'm not sure what you mean by "pull the switch." If you're referring to taking off the balloon and adding a stopper, then you're perfectly fine. Just do it quickly, and make sure everything is sanitized, of course.

Also, I wouldn't worry about pasteurizing it AFTER you've made alcohol. Pasteurizing is something you would do to the apple juice/cider BEFORE fermentation. I didn't pasteurize mine, and I'm quite happy with it...but then again, I used apple juice, not fresh apple cider like I would have liked.

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Old 09-11-2013, 11:39 PM   #7
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Pasturizing is to kill off the yeast so you don't have bottle bombs...

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Old 09-12-2013, 03:33 AM   #8
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Ok, come on now lets be honest. Who hasn't had the late night "experimental" batch? That's my main reason for starting home brewing. Sounds to me like you have a pretty good plan, except I would definitely cut down on the priming sugar, and try to get an airlock that fits. I have been wishing for years I could recreate a brown ale we made in college. 4 guys... you would think at least 1 of us would have a recollection!

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Old 09-12-2013, 04:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
My plan (yea...let's call it a plan...that sounds like I have a clue what I'm doing!!) is to leave in the primary for two weeks then rack to a secondary for another two (will add one cinnamon stick). Rack again and prime with a cup of brown sugar, bottle and condition for a week. I'll finish by doing a stove top pasteurization per the instructions on this site.
With that much brown sugar added for "priming" (and to make a sweet hard cider, obviously), I think a week prior to pasteurizing may be long enough to make them all bottle bombs. I'm still VERY new at this, but I don't think I'd let it go past four days at the most. And even then, I'd be careful while the bottles are heating. Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in on timing that.

To MrPhillips: Pasteurizing after bottling will kill the yeast and allow some of the "priming" sugar to remain sugar in the final product, which will make it (in my opinion) dramatically more drinkable than dry ciders.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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Ooops! I was only thinking of pasteurizing to kill WILD yeast, not stop fermentation all together. I never thought about adding sugar to sweeten the cider (seems obvious, but I didn't think it was possible as long as there was yeast still in solution). Think I might do that with my batch. Thanks for the correction!

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