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Old 09-10-2009, 04:30 PM   #131
CvilleKevin
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Monday I’m picking up the first juice of the 2009 season, which looks like its going to be a mix of Galas and Cortlands (hopefully with some Jonathans if the press gets some over the weekend). I’m planning on picking up 60 gallons and doing 7 keg batches (current 7 favorites, more or less in order):

S04 with no sugar
S04 and wildflower honey
US05 with turbinado/dextose
Wild yeast
S23 with turbinado/dextose
3068 with turbinado/dextose
4184 with turbinado/dextose

I’m planning to let the 4184 go all the way dry and keep it till next year. The rest I’m planning cold crash and tap as soon as drinkable.

For all of these, I’m not going to add k-meta prior to pitching yeast, I’m planning on adding 1/3 dose to the 4184 after fermentation for storage and might add some to others if it looks like I might save them for a while.

The rest of the juice I’m going use for single gallon batches. After reading all of the graff posts, I’m looking forward to experimenting with some DME, so I’m planning to do a 3 x 5 experiment with three types of DME, (light, dark and wheat) with five yeasts (Nottingham, S23, SO4, 3068 and US05). I’m planning to use enough DME to bump the sg to 1.060 or 1.065 (depending on what I’m starting with) and let them all ferment out without cold crashing, to see what sort of residual sugar I get with the DME.

I also have a few more dry yeasts I want to check out (RHST, Safale K-97, Enoferm AMH Assmannhausen, Vintner's Harvest MA33 and Safbrew T-58). Later in the season, I’ll be checking out some more liquid yeasts

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Old 09-15-2009, 01:45 AM   #132
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First Juice of the season!



I picked up 60 gallons from the press this morning. It’s a mix of Cortland, McIntosh, Gala and Jonathan. Sg was 1.050, pH 3.7. Great smell, the taste starts appley and finishes tart. Could use a little more body in the middle, but for the first juice of the season, I’m happy.

I decided to hold off on checking out the five new dry yeasts, and do a second keg of S04 with no sugar instead. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew with too many experimental batches this early in the season. I’m hoping the 15 DME gallon batches will ferment out with some residual sugar so I don’t have to cold crash them – otherwise I’m going to have my hands full in about a week. I ended up putting 6oz of DME in each gallon. I just mixed it straight into the juice like I was adding sugar. The wheat DME was a little clumpy at first, but after sitting about an hour, it dissolved pretty well. I’ve never used malt before. The stuff smells great. The dust from it gets everywhere tho.

The S04 batches were fermenting with airlock activity within 4 hours after pitching the yeast. The US05 was next with airlock activity after 5 hours. The 3068, S23 and 4184 kicked in about an hour later. The only thing not fermenting now is the wild yeast batch. Those usually take a few days to start. Temps in the basement are still a little too warm – around 72, although temps are supposed to drop to 60 tonite. Tomorrow, I’m going to move the desk and put an AC unit in the window to see if I can keep the daytime temp to 65.

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Old 09-15-2009, 01:56 AM   #133
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That's awesome. If you don't mind me asking, what do you pay per gallon of cider? I went to the closest orchard here a few weeks ago and they wanted $9 per gallon. My parents live in upstate NY where apple growing is/was one of the main industries and I think Cider there is between $4 and $5/gallon.
I'm assuming from your handle that you live in Charlottesville. I'll be up visiting my brother there sometime this fall and I was also wondering where you get your cider and if there's anyone at the mill I can talk to if I do go up there.

Thanks,
Brad

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Glass will settle out faster than yeast. I'd just leave a little extra on the bottom if it really worries you.
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Old 09-15-2009, 02:24 AM   #134
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Carboys and growlers and airlocks, oh, my!!

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Old 09-15-2009, 03:46 AM   #135
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YEAH KEVIN! Looks awesome. I am excited about DME cider... just picked some up this w/e, and I hope to set something sometime this week.

Hey, are you going to the cider workshop this w/e?

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Old 09-15-2009, 05:29 AM   #136
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Brad - $5 bucks for a single gallon is about right for retail. I've been paying 2.85/gal for minimum 30 gallon pickup. I've paid as little as $2 for minimum 25 gallons, but that was before the State started requiring pasteurization for retail sales. Upstate NY or any place with a large apple industry will likely be cheaper. Where are you located?

When you call around to orchards, ask them if they have their own press. A lot of them dont - they get someone else to press the juice, and store it in a fridge, so they are less likely to cut you a break because they have already paid for packaging, distribution and storage. If they dont have a press, ask them where they get their apples pressed. When you find a place with a press, ask them what is their price for bulk juice. Usually there is a 25-50 gallon minimum before it drops to less than $3/gal, but a lot of places will knock a buck or two off the price per gallon if you bring a carboy and get 5-6 gallons or more at a time. It usually helps to let them know that you are making hard cider.

The website All About Apples has a pretty good listing of orchards in each state.
All About Apples | Apple Orchard and Farm listings

The place I get most of my juice from is Showalters Orchard which is in Timberville (near Harrisonburg, a little more than an hours drive from Cville.). If you are coming up from the South, there are some other mills in Southwest VA which are probably closer. I'll be getting more juice about once a month, through the end of the year. If you are in Charlottesville next time I go to Showalters, I'd be happy to pick up an extra carboy or two. I dont know how much flexibility you have visiting your bro, but the press runs on Monday and Thursday. Staymans should be ripening in about a month, and I'll be making another trip as soon as those are available. Also, there is an orchard just south of Cville - Vintage Virginia - that has great cider apples. Their juice retails for $10 gal, but is very good. Depending on how their harvest goes, I may be able to get with some of the other local homebrewers later this Fall and put together a big enough buy to get some of their juice at a decent rate, but that is still TBD. If you dont find a reasonable price local source, PM me when you are getting close to visiting your brother and I'll try to hook you up while you are here

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Old 09-15-2009, 05:43 AM   #137
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Hey Marc - I didnt know there was a workshop this weekend. I went to one last weekend at the Heritage Harvest Festival. Great apples and juice blends. Unfortunately the presenter didnt know of anyone who is selling them. I dont have the patience to plant an orchard.

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Old 09-17-2009, 04:04 PM   #138
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Three Day Update



Three days in and all of the yeasty boys are chugging along. The wild yeast batch started airlock activity after about 24 hours, which is a little early for a wild batch, but it has been going nice and slow which is a good sign. Its the carboy on the back shelf which is still close to the original color.

I was able to get the temp down to 68 with the AC. Not as low as I hoped, but we had a string of days where it hit 90 outside, so I'm glad I moved it to the basement. Now its cool again, so no longer needed, but I'll keep it in place until Oct, just in case it warms up again

I had to put blowoff tubes on all of the 3068 and US05 DME batches. I should have expected that for the 3068, but usually US05 is pretty mild mannered. I ended up adding honey instead of sugar to the 4184 carboy, and that one needed a blowoff tube also. I had to change the water in the 3068 blowoff glasses several times because foam would come through the tube, collect on the top and start to reach the top of the glass. I've found for the 3068 keg batches that it is good to use a deep blowoff container - that way there is more pressure from the water column, which helps keep the foam in the carboy. In retrospect, I should have used something deeper than these pint glasses for the 3068 DME blowoffs because I lost about a cup of juice from each jug from the foam escaping. Hopefully I'll still have enough to fill three liters after racking.

Between not adding any k-meta and the DME batches, the basement smells great! Usually, 2-3 days into a new ferment, the basement is really stanky, but this batch is really quite pleasant.

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Old 09-20-2009, 08:40 PM   #139
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Kevin, thanks for starting this thread and posting all of this great information! I am very new to this and without this thread I would be lost. I do have a few questions I was hoping to have answered before I get started.

1. Can I add the K meta and then pitch the yeast right after, or should I wait 12-24 hours after?

2. I purchased EC-1118 dry yeast based on some prior reading I have done. I have two 5gram packs. Should I only being using one of these per 5 gal batch? (I bought it before reading this. I will being trying some of the other yeasts mentioned here for my next batch)

3. I do not have a keg system and I plan on cold crashing the cider. I would, however, like to have carbonation in the bottle. If I understand this correctly, this is not possible. Do I have any other options for this? Priming sugar will not work when I bottle?

I was going to do this today, so any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Scott...

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Old 09-20-2009, 10:54 PM   #140
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Scott,

1. If you add k-meta, wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast. You dont need k-meta unless the juice is unpasteurized. If the juice is fresh and the press looks like they run a clean operation, I'd recommend skipping the k-meta and pitch the yeast now. If any doubts, use no more than half the recommended dose of k-meta and pitch the yeast tomorrow.

2. You only need one pack. Pitch 1/3 of it at a time, wait for it to sink and then pitch a little more until it is gone. When the last bit sinks, give the carboy a shake to distribute the yeast before putting the airlock on.

3. The point of cold crashing is to get the yeast out of your cider, so if you are successful, you wont be able to get a bottle ferment.

Bottle carb is tough. You have a couple of options. In either case you dont want to cold crash: You can let the cider ferment all the way dry and then use priming sugar. That will give you a very dry, but sparkling cider.

If you have fridge space and dont mind taking a few risks, you could bottle as soon as you have just a little more than the final level of sweetness you want. Let them sit at room temp for a couple of days and then start drinking one a day. When they get to the level of carb you want, put them all in the fridge and keep them cold. You run a few risks here tho - if the yeast is not evenly distributed in each bottle, you might end up blowing one before you get them all in the fridge. And if a housemate or SWMBO decides to make space in the fridge by putting your ciders somewhere else, that could be bad news.

I'm pretty sure that it would be possible to bottle ferment a sweet cider by nitrogen deprivation - using a yeast such as 3068 that uses a lot of nitrogen and purposely inducing a stuck fermentation, followed by a secondary fermentation with a yeast like EC-1118, that is tolerant (but not too tolerant) of low nitrogen. That would take some time to work out tho.

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