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Old 11-04-2012, 07:57 PM   #701
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What would you top 5 yeast selections be (or is there a consolidated post about your results thus far)?
I havent got around to a consolidated post yet, but here's the recipes for the 2 pressings so far this season, which are pretty much my favorite yeasts these days:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/resu...ml#post4412245
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/resu...ml#post4503829

Other than these, I also like US05 - I just havent got around to using it yet this season. Also S23 is good if you are planning to bottle pasteurize because it tastes great crashed between 1.002 (semi dry) and 1.012 (semi sweet) range and because its a lager yeast, you can cold crash the cider for clarity before bottling and still have enough of the yeast left after the crash to carb the bottles.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:37 AM   #702
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Great- thanks for the response!

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Old 11-07-2012, 08:47 AM   #703
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Did you go about this with a design of experiment!? If so, kudos to you good Sir! Also, if so, what criteria did you use for your responses? Were they all qualitative measures or did you have quantitative responses as well?

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Old 11-16-2012, 06:19 AM   #704
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I just whipped up a batch that is 5 gallons cider with 2lbs of light brown sugar and 1lb of dark brown sugar. Those brought it to 1.08 at 82 degrees. Pitched in Nottingham yeast and will probably have it sitting at 65 degrees on average.

The idea here is to get something that's not wimpy but 8-9% tops. I plan to crack the primary open in a week to see where the fermentation and taste are at and stop the process when it seems the time is right with potassium sorbate.

This is the point where I'm uncertain what to do. I make wines but am familiar with beer brewing timelines. The two ciders I've done have been in a wine style: 8+ months bulk aging before bottling. I was happy with both. This one is meant for a keg asap. After I get this to where I want it ABV and taste-wise, am I going to need to let the 60 days a beer kit takes accumulate before it's drinkable? Is there another timeline for a cider to mellow under the conditions I'm working with?

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #705
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I did 11 days primary to get from 1.060 to 1.010 - cold crashed (for 8 days moreso because I was out of town), and then kegged 6 days after that (moreso because I did not yet have the keg space). So I could have done 11 days primary, 2 days cold crash, 2 days to make sure fermentation stopped and to drop anything else and then kegged. As it is, I kegged 25 days after pitching. My cider was drinkable flat at kegging time, really tasty after about a week kegged at 12 PSI - At almost three weeks kegged, it is amazing now.

You could probably force-carb (I've heard 30 PSI for 30 hours) for faster results. So I would say a month is a good middle-ground timeline if kegging. Others with more experience might have better advice though.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:19 PM   #706
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SoTempe here is a pretty insightful post from the beginning of this thread from the OP regarding kegging time.

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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
My keg batch process has been evolving since I started reading this forum last year. Before then I just used fresh local UV pasteurized juice and Nottingham ale yeast. No extra sugar, but sometimes 3lbs of honey for cysers. Cold crash when it gets to about 1.002 to 1.008, keep an eye on it for a couple days to make sure fermentation doesn’t start back up again and then put it in a keg and carb at 25psi and a day or two later it is good to go. A few extra days of settling and carb generally improves the taste, but it doesn’t need much aging. Sometimes a pasteurized cider will clear up after an extra week or two in the secondary, but usually not. Cysers usually do.

Since reading this forum last year I’ve started adding sugar to most batches, to pick the sg up to 1.060 or 1.065 max. I’ve found that starting with slightly higher sg gives more control over stopping at a good final sg and still leaves a lot of apple taste. I shifted to using mostly unpasteurized juice because it clears faster with no additives, so can be kegged sooner as long as you don’t mind waiting longer to drink it.

For the most recent 5 keg batches I cut the k-meta dosage in half (1/8 tsp in 6gal). I expect this will make them drinkable sooner. For four of the carboys I added 18 oz turbinado and 9oz corn sugar to bring the sg to 1.060. For the fifth, I added 3lbs of orange blossum honey to take the sg to 1.065.

I usually use dry ale yeast, mostly Nottingham and S04. This year I also did a few with US05 and S23 and in the keg batches I justed started, I’m using two liquid yeasts – Wyeast 3068 and 4184, along with Nottingham and S04. I’m also using S04 for the Cyser. S04 seems to do the best for unpasteurized cysers. The 3068 is producing a lot of foam and I’ve had to clean up that carboy a couple of times. For the dry yeasts I don’t use a starter – just pitch the yeast right on the surface of the ¼ the packet of yeast at a time, floating it on the surface until it sinks. After all 4 pitches of yeast have rehydrated and sunk, shake the carboy to make sure none of the sugar or honey is settling on the bottom.

Fermentation usually starts in less than 12 hours, airlock bubbles after 24 hours and strong fermentation for 6 to 8 days. When the fermentation starts slowing down a week or so later, check the sg and taste periodically to determine when to stop fermentation. I usually cold crash when the sg is between 1.004 and 1.010, depending on overall taste. Rack the carboy into a spare, put it in the fridge at 35 degrees for a day to settle and rack it again back to the original and let it settle.

For pasteurized juice, its pretty much good to go at this point if you don’t mind drinking it a little cloudy. For unpasteurized juice, I let it sit for a few more weeks to clear out a little more, usually until six weeks after I got the juice, because by then I need the carboy to get new juice. I generally let unpasteurized juice sit in the keg for at least a month and sometimes much longer for the tartness to mellow out, however I’m pretty sure that will be changing now that I’m cutting back on the k-meta at the beginning.

I’m hoping to find a good balance of k-meta and sorbate that can stop the fermentation without cold crashing and not effect the taste. That will allow a single racking between primary and secondary, which will save a step. I’d also like to get rid of adding k-meta before fermentation if it doesn’t adversely affect how long it keeps. That would save time as well. Right now I figure it takes me about 15 hours total to make 5 kegs from picking up the juice at the press to putting it in kegs. Most of the time is cleaning and sanitizing the vessels each time I rack. I’d like to get it down to 10 hours for total processing time on 5 kegs and put away 25 - 30 kegs a season, which ought to last until next season.

My best recipe so far depends on who you ask. I personally prefer something in the 1.004 to 1.006 range with a body that is more like an ale than a wine, with a semi-tart apple finish and not a lot of non-fruit flavors. Most of my friends tastes range from something more like a dry white wine at 1.000 to something that tastes more like a Woodchuck at 1.010. I’ve found that when serving cider its nice to have at least two kegs, one on the sweet side and the other on the dry side. Cysers are popular, and usually get finished first at a party, although I’m not crazy about them myself. Last year I did a couple of kegs where I added raspberries to the secondary, which came out really good.

Other than that, its all about matching the juice with the yeast, which is a constantly changing thing because the juice changes throughout the season. Everything made with the above yeasts has come out good. The first seven keg batches this season were with Jonathan juice which is good and tart, and so far the S04 and Nottingham taste the best of those. The five batches in secondary were made with Stayman, Granny smith and Golden delicious, and the US05 and S04 cyser are the most promising so far. Too early to tell with the most recent batch which is Staymans and Winesaps. There are a couple of local orchards that sell “vintage” apples that are supposed to be really good for cider – Albemarle pippens, Northern Spys and Russetts. I’ve thought about buying some and doing a custom pressing, but that would be really expensive, so for now I’m using whatever is readily available at the commercial juice presses.

My favorite batches from last year came from 12 gallons of unpasteurized juice that was a mix of half Granny smith and half Yorks. It had an sg of 1.060, and was insanely tart because of all the Granny smith, so I split it up into 5 kegs with slightly different amounts of juice and filled the rest with pasteurized juice that was mostly Staymans, then added 12oz turbinado and 6 oz corn sugar and Nottingham yeast for all five batches. They were all slightly different and all really good.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:49 PM   #707
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Very interesting. Thanks for the input. I think I'll let it get to six weeks from pitching since that's around where CvilleKevin kegged and since yours has continued to improve in the keg as of just over six weeks (if I'm doing the math right). I'm considering using the fining agents left over from a J.Spagnols wine kit to clear it faster but not certain I want to put that much "stuff" in my cider. If I do I'll post on how that turns out. Thanks again!

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Old 11-23-2012, 03:48 AM   #708
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Just read all this. Great.

Questions. I'm just using wyeast 4766
I remember Kevin was unimpressed. Was this because ferment too quick and bad to clear? What can I do to fix?
Also I read that start pH should be 3.5 or so. Do you know if pH comes back up, ie are fruit acids fermented or is it impossible to tell because co2 drops pH anyway? I added a load of malic acid and had to guess pH by taste. I'll check tomorrow but maybe went too far. 15 tablespoons in 6 us gallons?
I also added fructose 1kg since I read all sugar in apples is fructose and I found a big tub of it at local supermarket sucrose I heard goes apply. How about fructose? Any different or waste of money? Cheers

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Old 11-29-2012, 02:00 AM   #709
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Did you go about this with a design of experiment!?
Sort of - I was getting bored with Notty and was looking to come up with some new alternative recipes, as well as evaluating some different juice options that I had. It took longer than I thought.

Quote:
what criteria did you use for your responses? Were they all qualitative measures or did you have quantitative responses as well?
Each time I bottled a new round of experimental batches, I'd invite a bunch of friends over and have them rate them from 1-10, depending on what they liked. That would be the qualitative part. The quantitative evaluation was seeing which kegs float fastest at parties.

Quote:
Questions. I'm just using wyeast 4766
I remember Kevin was unimpressed. Was this because ferment too quick and bad to clear? What can I do to fix?
Yeah, the 4766 did not work very well for me. End result was bland and not a lot of body. If you search this forum for 4766, it seems like not a lot of people have had good luck with this yeast, but a few have. If you you dont let it ferment out fully, you'll probably get more apple taste. If you let it go dry, you'll want to let this one age for a long time.

Quote:
Also I read that start pH should be 3.5 or so.
Yeah, thats the conventional wisdom, although I've fermented juice that was as high as 4.0 and it tasted fine. Supposedly a higher pH must is more susceptible to infections, but I havent had problems. I just let it go a little drier to get some bite. The key is to start with flavorful juice - preferably with good acidity, but I'd take big flavor at 4.0 over just OK flavor at 3.5.

Quote:
Do you know if pH comes back up, ie are fruit acids fermented or is it impossible to tell because co2 drops pH anyway?
I dont think so, but I've only measured pH after fermentation a couple of times, and it was the same as before fermentation. It might come up a bit during malolactic fermentation. I havent measured this, but tastes like this might be the case. The perception of acidity changes a lot during regular fermentation though, as the sugars balance the acids. The lower you let the sg go, the greater the perceived acidity.

Quote:
I added a load of malic acid and had to guess pH by taste. I'll check tomorrow but maybe went too far. 15 tablespoons in 6 us gallons?
That sounds like a load. My experience with adding acid is that it tastes artificial. Better to just find a better apple blend or just ferment a little drier if you cant find tart apples.

Quote:
How about fructose? Any different or waste of money?
Havent tried it, should work fine though.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:49 AM   #710
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I picked up another batch of juice last Monday. The mix was Stayman, Albemarle Pippen, and Winesap. Tastes great, although for some reason these Pippens were not as tart as last year. Fortunately the Winesaps were plenty tart. The sg was 1.062, so I didnt add any sugar to these batches.

For this round, I added a half dose of k-meta (1/8tsp in 6 gal) to 3 of the batches. I havent used k-meta prior to pitching yeast in the past four years, but I wanted to replicate an old Wy3068 recipe that my GF liked and also wanted to compare Brupaks and Wy3056 with and without k-meta. So far, it hasnt made much difference, probably because the acidity was relatively low to start and I only added half a dose. Adding the k-meta lightened up the juice a bit, but there wasnt a huge difference in the taste. 24 hours later, the juice with the k-meta tasted just a little less sweet, but if I did not have the two glasses side by side, it would be hard to tell the difference. I did a similar comparison 4 years ago and it was easy to pick out the difference with half a dose of k-meta, but that juice was more tart to start with

The new batches are in the foreground:

Two batches with Brupaks yeast, with and without k-meta.
Two batches with Wy3056 yeast, with and without k-meta.
Wy3068 with k-meta
Gervins English Ale yeast (AKA Notty), no k-meta
WLP041, no k-meta
S23, no k-meta

The Stayman, Empire, Winesap batches have all been crashed and are clearing on the back shelf. I crashed the WLP041 batch at 1.022, which is a little sweet for me, but my GF likes it a lot and its kinda growing on me. I kegged that batch over the weekend. Also, crashed one of the Brupaks batches at 1.016 at GF's request. The rest were all crashed at 1.010 or 1.012

The batches from the first pressing are almost gone. I just kegged the Wy3068 batch, which was the last one to clear (took a little over 2 months after the crash). Still have a couple others on tap.
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