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Old 10-31-2012, 12:12 AM   #691
CvilleKevin
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As far as cold crashing goes...is it better to hit my target gravity/sweetness and put the fermentation bucket into the refrigerator and then rack off the lees after a few days, or should I rack off the lees in to a carboy after reaching desired gravity/sweetness, crash and then rack to another carboy after a few days?
It depends on your goals. I rack before and after the crash because that is the most reliable way of getting all the yeast out. I've tried putting the primary straight into the fridge and it gets the cider clear but doesnt stop the yeast as well - but if you want to keep some yeast viable to bottle carb and pasteurize, it seems like a more reliable way to go for your purposes.

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Would you recommend using peptic enzyme in my next attempt if I plan on cold conditioning for two weeks after crashing? I do want to bottle condition and pasteurize after two weeks. Would you recommend using yeast nutrient? I just want to make sure the yeast can stay viable for the bottle conditioning phase.
I'd skip the pectic enzyme unless you are sure you need it. Usually the juice clears out nicely on its own in the crash. If its not clear enough for your liking you can always add enzyme on the next batch. If you want a slower temp controlled fermentation then skipping the yeast nutrient will help. Unless your juice comes from old growth unfertilized trees - which is hard to find - it has plenty of nutrient for most ale and lager yeasts


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Old 10-31-2012, 01:36 AM   #692
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
I'd skip the pectic enzyme unless you are sure you need it.
Is there any advantage to not adding enzyme?


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Old 10-31-2012, 02:58 AM   #693
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Duly noted.

Using campden tablets...Do you prefer to let the must rest 24 or 48 hours before pitching the the yeast? After adding the campden tablets, do you cover and use a stopper an airlock, or do you leave uncovered (or maybe cover loosely with plastic or foil) so it can off gas?

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Old 10-31-2012, 02:18 PM   #694
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Is there any advantage to not adding enzyme?
I found that adding pectic enzyme made the cider ferment faster and it was harder to crash. So for my purposes, those are two good reasons not to add it. Plus, I dont like to add anything I dont need to my juice or do any unnecessary steps, just on general principle. OTOH, if you wanted the cider to ferment out ASAP and/or you want to bottle carb and pasteurize, then the enzyme might be worth the extra step

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Using campden tablets...Do you prefer to let the must rest 24 or 48 hours before pitching the the yeast? After adding the campden tablets, do you cover and use a stopper an airlock, or do you leave uncovered (or maybe cover loosely with plastic or foil) so it can off gas?
I havent used campden tablets in several years, except on a couple batches last year that tasted like they might be starting to turn post fermentation. IMHO, the cider tastes better without it. However, I am planning to add it to a few batches on the next juice pressing for a few reasons: (1) I doubt that I will be able to tell the difference after 6 months and expect that it will improve how well the ciders keep, so I am contemplating adding it to some of the batches for longer term storage (ie to get me through next summer). (2) My experience has been that the ciders from the last pressing of the season (usually January) are the most likely to turn - probably because the apples have been sitting in storage for longer and more likely to pick up acetobacter. So I may start sulfiting the last batch of the season as a matter of course. (3) My girlfriend's all time favorite batch was a Wy3068 batch from a few years ago that I added half a dose of sulfite before pitching the yeast, and I want to see if I can exactly replicate that recipe.

When I do use sulfite, I only use half the recommended dose. The recommended dosages are for wine and in my experience, half a dose is plenty to knock out the wild yeast and protect against acetobacter. The yeast are happier (ie less sulfur) and the bitter tang from the sulfite wears off sooner so the cider is drinkable earlier. I wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast and use a stopper in the meantime.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:48 PM   #695
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Default Almost done fermenting - getting ready to crash



16 days of fermenting, and the ciders are almost ready to start crashing.

After the initial krausen fell, I replaced the blow off tubes with regular air locks and put a couple of brew balls in each carboy so I can tell how the ferment is going without having to take samples and introduce air into the carboys. When the first ball drops, I know I'm getting close and when the second drops, its time to start taste sampling for the crash. For some reason, the balls like to hang out on the side of the carboy, which is a good thing, because otherwise they would be hard to see. I dont think the brew balls are on the market anymore, but if you can pick up a used set they are really handy for cider. Saves a lot of time and reduces chance of air contamination.

Since pressing on the 15th, temps in the basement have ranged from a low of 58 to high of 68. Most of the time was at 64-66. We had some hot (80+) days, but luckily it has been getting cool at night, so I've been able to keep temps in range by opening a window in the basement at night. Now that the weather has cooled off and the heat is on, basement stays a fairly steady 62.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:57 PM   #696
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So I have my pasteurized cider I that pitched with some Notty and I just have a couple questions...... 1. If I wanted to carb it could I check for when the gravity is close to 1.020 then bottle it, test one per day until it reaches desired carbonation, then pasteurize the bottles with the stove top method?

2. Do I have to keep the carboy blocked from light for any reason like you have to with beer?

3. What temp would you say is best to ferment at? Right now its at about room temp but I can easily bring it down to the low-mid 60s.

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Old 10-31-2012, 09:22 PM   #697
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1. If I wanted to carb it could I check for when the gravity is close to 1.020 then bottle it, test one per day until it reaches desired carbonation, then pasteurize the bottles with the stove top method?
yep

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2. Do I have to keep the carboy blocked from light for any reason like you have to with beer?
I keep mine out of direct sunlight when fermenting, but I dont cover them or anything. My guess is that it would be better to keep them dark if you can, although putting a cover on the carboys would interfere with keeping them cool, so I dont do that. It definitely a good idea to keep finished bottles in a dark place. My basement gets up to 90 degrees in the summer which hasnt been a problem, but once a couple years ago I left the cover off of my stack o' cider bottle cases and they got direct sun from the window and I lost 2 bottles.

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3. What temp would you say is best to ferment at?
For ale and wheat yeasts, 60 to 65 works best for me. For wild yeast, 45-50 is better
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:49 PM   #698
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Thanks

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Old 11-04-2012, 01:28 AM   #699
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CvilleKevin- thanks for consistently posting your progress.

My local cider mill will be doing their heritage apple blend tomorrow, so I'm a little pressed for time, so I'll just ask- What would you top 5 yeast selections be (or is there a consolidated post about your results thus far)?

Thanks!

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:05 PM   #700
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I just split a batch of scrumpy into 3 carboys & fermented with different yeasts at ambient temperature of 13ºC.

Wyeast 2565 - fermented quickly, tastes "rough" when crashed at 1.010. Will probably have to bulk age or blend to make it palatable.
Safale S-04 - solid ferment, tastes quite nice crashed at 1.015.
WLP 041 - Very slow ferment at these temps, still going at 1.025.



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