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Old 02-09-2011, 05:22 AM   #451
CvilleKevin
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Do you have some of your best recipes listed somewhere?
They're sorta scattered around this thread. The general process I use is described on page 3. I havent changed it much since then, other than I've stopped using k-meta completely and I've started blowing CO2 on the cider whenever I rack and to fill headspace (not really necessary if drinking withing 6 months, but helps prevent oxidation for 12+ month storage). Starting with good juice is key, which is a challenge if you dont live in apple country.

A list of some of yeasts which I've had good results with is on page 33. My current favorites are S04, Brupack Ale, US05, Notty, Wy3068 and Wy3056. I also like Wy1010, although it tends to get a little stinky during the ferment. Wy3333 is good for bottle carbing a sweet cider via nitrogen reduction, but I really do not recommend doing this until you have a couple of seasons of successful cold crashing under your belt and are prepared to deal with potential burst bottles.

Speaking of which, earlier this eve I sampled the 4th bottle of a Wy3333 batch that I bottled in late October. It is just now getting a decent carb to it. I bottled it at 1.010 and its probably dropped about a point and a half. The taste is still a little on the sweet side, so hopefully it will carb up just a little bit more when the weather warms up. I just crashed another batch that was made with Wy3333 (Pink Lady/York mix, pressed on 12/20/10). I let this batch go a little drier, to 1.008 and am planning to bottle 2 or 3 days after the crash instead of waiting 5 days like I did last time.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:02 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
The sediment in the untreated pasteurized juice was much more solid and I was able to get almost all the clear juice out without sucking any sediment up. When the jug was empty, the sediment on the bottom looked like a solid rubbery mass, with little craters and holes in it - sorta like a pancake looks before you flip it.
I had a batch give me the holey pancake as well. I am in TX, so no fancy fresh juice like you use, just Tree Top or Simply Apple and WLP775. It was my first time using a metal keg to ferment/crash in (no pre-crash rack), so I thought it may have been due to the more rapid crash from the metal, but maybe not. That idea came from something I read that, theoretically at least, crashing is supposed to work better with a more rapid initial temp change. I am going to try to submerge my crashing vessel in a tub of ice water next time to see.

Adding to the confusion, I also ran out of pectic enzyme, so I only used 1/4 the usual in one keg, and none in the other. Something else I read said that using pectic enzyme (in the presence of pectin) may cause the creation of more methanol. I got clear enough cider last time without the pectic enzyme and crashing in metal, so I may simplify things and leave out the pectic enzyme.
Cliff
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:06 AM   #453
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I searched the thread (and forum) and didn't get a hit but I thought I would double check anyway, has anybody done any tests with WPL500 Belgium Trappist yeast?

Cheers

HW

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:19 AM   #454
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I liked it, wasnt real popular with friends. Try searching for WLP500

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:05 PM   #455
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Kevin,

I keep thinking of something. You say you no longer use k-meta, but with the orchard juice there is bound to be a decent amount of wild yeast that makes its way into the batch from the apple skins.

Do you feel like this is an issue, or do you just pitch enough commercial yeast that the effect of the wild stuff is made insignificant?

Also, really appreciated your thoughts on sourcing an apple blend in terms of what to look for. Thanks for that!

Also wondering if your experiments have taken into account fermentation temperatures. Have you done any identical side by side batches fermented at different temps? If so, have you found a golden zone for cider? I imagine higher temps are gonna through in more esters and spicy notes while lower temps would be a bit cleaner. This could be a matter of preference of course.

Those bottles look great!

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Old 02-16-2011, 08:49 PM   #456
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This is the most informative and interesting post I have read on this forum. Thanks for sharing!

Slainte

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:35 PM   #457
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You say you no longer use k-meta, but with the orchard juice there is bound to be a decent amount of wild yeast that makes its way into the batch from the apple skins. Do you feel like this is an issue, or do you just pitch enough commercial yeast that the effect of the wild stuff is made insignificant?
It seems to be dependent on the type of cultured yeast. Generally, ale yeasts like S04, Notty, US05 and Brupak take over pretty fast. There may be a bit of taste from the wild yeast, but not a lot. The wheat yeasts (3068, 3333, 3638, WLP3xx, etc) seem to be improved by the wild yeast because it gives them a little more bite in the finish - I think because the wild yeast produce a bit more malic acid, but I'm not sure exactly.

Much of that will depend on what type of wild yeast is present. I've found that the wild yeast in the two orchards that I mainly use ferments fairly well by itself - at least for the first part of the ferment, down to about 1.020 the cider tastes really good. Its only at the end of the ferment that the wild yeast gets finicky, and in almost all cases, the cultured yeast will have completely dominated the wild yeast by then. If one was dealing with some sort of wild yeast strain that didnt taste very good even at say 1.030, then it would probably be a good idea to knock the wild yeast out before introducing the cultured yeast. Otherwise, the cultured yeasts seem to be a lot happier, start faster, smell better, etc if I skip the k-meta and pitch as soon after the pressing as possible.

The only downside I've run into so far from keeping the wild was with a batch that I did early this season with a packet of Gervins English Ale (which I believe is from the same strain as Notty) that had expired. The ale yeast got a slow start and the wild yeast took over, with the result that it would not crash and fermented out fairly flavorless. So now I'm a lot more particular about expiration dates. In the past, I would buy yeast that was past its date for half price and never had any problems, but with wild yeast present, its not worth trying to save a few bucks.

Quote:
Also wondering if your experiments have taken into account fermentation temperatures. Have you done any identical side by side batches fermented at different temps? If so, have you found a golden zone for cider? I imagine higher temps are gonna through in more esters and spicy notes while lower temps would be a bit cleaner. This could be a matter of preference of course.
I havent done side-by-side at different temps. I dont really have space for a freezer, so I'm pretty much at the mercy of the basement temps. The best batches seem to be around 55-60 degrees, but a lot of that is because the timing is easier. The first batches of the season are usually fermented at 65-70 and ferment out very quickly. If I wait an extra day to crash them, its often too late and I end up with another keg of dry cider to save for next summer. This time of year, the cider is fermenting a lot more slowly, so if a batch tastes ready to crash, I still have several days to do it and life doesnt interfere with the cider operation so much.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:49 PM   #458
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Default preliminary results from clearing experiments

Last weekend I bottled some of the experiments with different clearing agents, as well as a batch that I am bottle conditioning with Wy3333. Here's a shot of some of the bottles for comparison



1) On the far left is a batch from pasteurized juice, with no clarifying agents added. It was crashed for 7 days and remained very cloudy. However after being bottled for another 7 days, it is starting to clear on its own. This throws a bit of a wrench into my experiments, because in my experience UV pasteurized juice usually does not clear on its own for many, many months (which is why I used it for these experiments). But in this case its clearing on its own a week after the crash. You can see from the thickness of the sediment, how much was still in suspension at bottling time

2) Next is the control batch which is the same juice and yeast, but unpasteurized. As you can see, this batch cleared fairly well in the crash - not completely clear, but clear enough that it looks good in a pint glass. If this were a 5gal batch, I'd probably let it sit for another few weeks before kegging it, but if I was thirsty, there would be no problem kegging as-is

3) Third from the left is pasteurized juice with pectic enzyme added before the yeast. As you can see, its a lot more clear than pasteurized juice left to its own devices (far left), but still not quite as clear as plain unpasteurized juice with nothing (but yeast) added.

4) Third from the right is pasteurized juice with pectic enzyme added before the yeast and Super Kleer added after the crash. The Super Kleer worked very quickly - the jug was completely clear in about 2 days. None of the other additives that I used have got this clear - although most of them say to wait a couple of weeks, so I havent bottled them yet.

5) Second from the right is a bottle from the Wy3333 batch, which has unpasteurized juice, with honey added before the fermentation. I crashed it for 4 days, and then bottled. It is noticeably more clear than unpasteurized juice without the honey. The honey seems to work as a universal clarifier, like PE - except that it slows down the speed of ferment, making it easier to work with.

6) On the far right is a bottle from last year made with the same recipe (Wy3333 and orange blossom honey, crashed and bottled at 1.010). It has a nice bottle carb now, with no burst bottles so far (knock on wood). As you can see, it is every bit as clear as the batch with pectic enzyme, followed by super kleer. In about 3 months, the bottle next to it should be just as clear. The only difference is that you see there is a very fine layer of sediment at the bottom.

I plan to bottle the rest of the test batches later this week or maybe next weekend, but at this point it doesnt look like any of the other alternatives are working as well as pectic enzyme before the ferment + super kleer after the crash. This combination seems to work great, although how it tastes is still TBD. I crashed all the clarifying test batches at 1.004, at which point they were just a tad harsh, so they'll all need about a month to mellow before they can be subject to a fair taste test.

At this point, I'm leaning against using the pectic enzyme before fermentation again because it speeds up the fermentation. Even if it has no effect on taste, crashing the ferments at the right point is just easier to manage from a time perspective if the ferments are going a little slower. Of course, this is less of an issue if you are doing fewer batches or have a lagering tank to keep things slow. Also I could certainly see the advantage of PE if you can only get pasteurized juice that does not clear well on its own. The other reason I'm not real keen on pectic enzyme is that its hard to know before the ferment whether it is really needed or not. For example, with this round of test batches, even though I used pasteurized juice which I didnt think would clear, it turns out that I could have just let it clear on its own and it would have got just as clear on its own as it did with the PE.

On the other hand - the Super Kleer does seem to make a noticeable improvement in clarity over my existing process. And I like that it can be added after the crash (and only if needed). Its also a lot easier to work with. It is still TBD how it affects the taste though. If it doesnt effect the taste, then I might try using it to clear a few batches with unpasteurized juice and see how that goes.

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:24 AM   #459
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Thanks for lots of great information as always Kevin Have you ever tried testing the juice for pectin before fermentation using the methylated spirits test? I have never used it myself but I have seen it mentioned many times for both wine and jam testing.

Cheers

HW

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Old 02-21-2011, 02:26 PM   #460
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Nice write up on clairifiers. Just to pass on what I have found is that crab Apple juice clears really fast,,,, like before I add the yeast the next day after I sulphate it can be perfectly clear. I have had a few carboys that got agitated and refused to clear over the winter, come bottling day I know that the crabs in the mix will have it crystal clear when I open my first bottle 3 days later. I even intentionally rouse some yeast when bottling.

Any thoughts on why this is?

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