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Old 10-29-2009, 06:49 PM   #221
NatureNurd
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@CvilleKevin

Have you used candi sugar in any of your test? I'm curious if it'd add a flavor that would compliment cider.

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:03 PM   #222
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@CvilleKevin

Also, do you suggest clarifiers? Do you rely solely on the cold crash?

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Old 10-29-2009, 07:57 PM   #223
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NatureNurd - I havent used candi yet, dont know how it would turn out. Havent used clarifiers either. Usually if the cold crash doesnt get them crystal clear, a couple weeks in a secondary does the trick. Thats for unpasteurized juice - pasteurized is harder to clear. If you use honey, they will aways get crystal clear on the crash. The only batch that gave me trouble was a Stayman/Rome batch last year. Romes are a popular applesause apple, probably because of the pectin properties. Tasted great cloudy though. I've got a friend who swears by bentonite because it has the least effect on taste, although I've never used it.

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:09 PM   #224
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CK,

I've read through 1/2 of this thread (you should consider doing a book) and have seen a lot of questions brought up about carbonating cider while still maintaining a sweet - apple taste.

Last year a made a three gallon blueberry cider w/ 4lbs dextrose sugar (needless to say it was pretty strong). It was in the primary for about 3-1/2 weeks and the secondary for +/- 4 weeks. From there I bottled into 1/2 gallon & 1 gallon growlers. The yeast continued to work and carbonated the cider nicely. I've managed to keep one 1/2 gallon growler for about a year and luckily haven't had any problems with exploding bottles.

So I was wondering if one way to get a sweet-carbonated cider would be to rack the cider before it completely dries out, bottle & condition for a few days to carbonate, and then store in a very cool place. I realize this might be risky, because there's no way to judge how much the fermentation has been slowed and there's still a chance for exploding bottles.

Your thoughts?

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Old 10-30-2009, 02:24 PM   #225
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Yes - racking is a form of nutrient reduction. If you use a yeast that consumes a lot of nitrogen during fermentation (most ale and wheat yeasts), you can induce a stuck fermentation by racking. If you bottle right after the rack, you could get a bit of carbonation before the ferment completely sticks.

You're right that this would be risky, because you usually dont get rid of all the nutrient with a single rack. I've used racking to stop ferments instead of cold crashing before. Sometimes it takes only one, but usually it takes three or four to get the ferment to stop with some sweetness. This is using juice from an orchard that does not use nitrogen fertilizers and no nutrient added. Its somewhat yeast dependent - 3068 usually sticks with a single rack regardless of juice. I've also done this with S04 and Notty, which sometimes take a single rack and sometimes more.

I think it might be possible to bottle carbonate a sweet cider somewhat reliably by racking enough times that the ferment completely sticks - and leaving it in the secondary long enough to verify that it is indeed stable - and then pitch a little more yeast on it. Theoretically, the yeast should last just long enough in a low nitrogen environment to get just a bit of carbonation. I havent tried this yet and probably wont get around to it this season, as keg conditioning is a lot easier, but if someone is dead set on bottle conditioning a sweet cider, it might be a little more reliable - just be prepared to crack a few bottles while working out how much yeast to add at the end

One of these days I need to go back and re-write this thread so that all of the info is consolidated. When I go back and read the first post, I'm struck by how much I've learned in just a year - a lot of stuff I thought I knew a year ago was wrong. Probably wont be till after cider season. That'll give me something to do in the Spring besides drink this season's cider

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Old 10-30-2009, 06:04 PM   #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
One of these days I need to go back and re-write this thread so that all of the info is consolidated. When I go back and read the first post, I'm struck by how much I've learned in just a year - a lot of stuff I thought I knew a year ago was wrong. Probably wont be till after cider season. That'll give me something to do in the Spring besides drink this season's cider
That would be amazing for new cidermakers! This thread already cuts the learning curve by, oh, maybe five years? It's a couple-days project to read through, though. It's been said many times, but again, Thank You!

Now, a quick question: I have two batches in primary, right now. These are 6 1/2 gal brewing buckets. One is an apfelwein variation that is at 1.000 SG, right now. Just to ensure it doesn't drop any more (unlikely, it's been at 1.000 for a while) and also to clear it a bit more to prepare for aging in bottles, I've put it in the fridge for a cold crash. In its original primary bucket.

I know you recommend racking to cold crash, then racking back. I don't have a secondary, right now. I figured crashing in the primary is still worth the effort, if only for the clarity. Is that accurate?

Edit: incidentally, the other batch is juice, S-04, and a touch of sugar, with the intent to crash at 1.010. You haven't really published a "recipe," but that seems to match your general guidelines. We'll see! It started at 1.060, last night was at 1.044.
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:37 PM   #227
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Since you're already at 1.000, you dont have too much to worry about in terms of a ferment starting back up, so you could just chill to get the clarity

Generally speaking - If you just chill the primary, that will clear it, but you will still have all that yeast and nutrient on the bottom of the primary, so the yeast will start back up if it gets warm. If you siphon off the top of the primary, you will leave most of the yeast behind, but its not as reliable. I've tried different methods to try to save steps, but the only thing that really seems to stop the fermentation reliably is rack, chill, and rack again.

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:57 AM   #228
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what kind of off flavors does adding sorbate do?

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Old 10-31-2009, 04:55 AM   #229
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The taste of sorbate is hard to describe - its like a medicinal version of vanilla - maybe vanilla mixed with baby aspirin. If you have some, or next time you're at your LHBS, put a small bit on your tongue. Thats the taste - it doesnt dissipate in the cider. The recommended dose is 1/2 tsp per gallon, which is a lot. I've tried using less, but you need the full dose to stop the ferment. Also, you need to add k-meta first or it will taste even worse - like geraniums. If you wanted to do a spiced cider, you might be able to build a drinkable tasting mix by adding other spices to complement it, but if you want a clean apple taste it doesnt work.

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Old 11-01-2009, 02:27 AM   #230
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Kevin,

Can i start a five gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy and then when it reaches the gravity im looking for, can i rack these into 1 gallon jugs? i dont have the space to cold crash a carboy but could fit at least 5 1 gallon jugs in the regular fridge and my beer fridge. also im looking to get my cider close to jk scrumpy cider, what fg should i be aiming for? i love scrumpy and i probably drink about 3 cases a month but at 5 dollars a bomber its raping my wallet.

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