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Old 03-27-2013, 04:44 PM   #741
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Kevin...did I buy a few kegs off you through C-list like 2 years ago, at a gas station in C-ville? I had driven down from Baltimore for meetings...the guy said he made hard cider for a living...
No, that sounds like either Tim or Dan from Potter's Craft Cider. When they moved their operation to Cville, they had hundreds of corny kegs, but have been switching to Sankes, which are a lot more expensive but easier for bars and restaurants to handle. The switch was a real boon to local brewers, as they sold their surplus kegs at very reasonable prices. Nice guys, great cider.

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Would you suggest those amounts/types of sugar
Sounds about right. I usually shoot for a starting gravity of about 1.065. To my taste a mix of 2/3 turbinado and 1/3 corn sugar tastes more like the natural apple sugar when it ferments out, but it depends what you are going for. The brown sugar will give you a more caramel taste.

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Would you suggest a lower ferm temp around 65? And this is to slow fermentation, right?
I've found that 60 to 65 works best for me. Partly this is for convenience. You can ferment at higher temps and it will taste OK but you will have a much smaller time window from when it goes from too sweet to too dry.

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In your experience, to get a nice not too dry taste what do i want my FG to get down to and how long would it take?
The target final gravity depends a lot on the juice you are starting with and personal taste. I usually shoot for about 1.010 for myself, 1.020 for SWMBO. That would take about 2-3 weeks at 65F. I'd check it at about 10 days

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my plan is to cold crash/rack/cold crash/keg. Do you agree?
That would probably work - I usually do rack/cold crash/rack to 5 gal/let clear and make sure ferment doesnt restart/keg

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let's say I carbed this up and decided to bottle some later. Could this stuff get warm and not dry out?
That depends on how successful you were on the crash. Its definitely possible - I've got bottles of semi-sweet carbed cider that have been stored at room temp for several years with no problems. However most people on this site havent had as much success. I suspect that using low nutrient juice - ie low or no fertilizer on the trees - helps a lot. I also keep an eye on my carboys after the crash for at least a month to make sure that they dont start back up. For example, in the above pic, I've got 9 carboys clearing on the back shelves that I crashed about a month ago. 8 are still dead still, but one has a few tiny bubbles coming up now and then. Its barely enough to move the airlock so I'm not worried about it drying out before I keg it, but I'll definitely cold crash that one again before kegging, so it doesnt become a problem in the future. If you keep the keg cold and drink off the tap, then you dont have to worry about whether you really got every last bit of yeast.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:54 PM   #742
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just got a gravity off of the cider started morning of the 25th, already at 1.012. 36 points in about 2 days.
Wow! good thing you checked it. Sounds like Muntons Gold works even faster than their regular Ale yeast.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:50 PM   #743
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Thank you for the good info!

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I usually do rack/cold crash/rack to 5 gal/let clear and make sure ferment doesnt restart/keg
How long, after you reach your desired gravity and rack/crash/rack, do you usually let it clear or make sure ferment doesn't restart prior to bottling or kegging? And how do you know? Do you just go by sight/clearing or bubbles or do you take a reading every day? And then, if fermentation happens to restart, I guess you rack and cold crash again?
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:06 PM   #744
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How long, after you reach your desired gravity and rack/crash/rack, do you usually let it clear or make sure ferment doesn't restart prior to bottling or kegging?
I usually let them sit and clear for a month after the crash, although sometimes if I'm low on cider (usually after first pressing of the season) I'll go right into the keg after the crash.

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And how do you know? Do you just go by sight/clearing or bubbles or do you take a reading every day?
I go by sight. If there are any bubbles, then I'll check with a hydro once a week or so to make sure its not just malolactic fermentation (which it often is).

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And then, if fermentation happens to restart, I guess you rack and cold crash again?
If that happens, I'll crash again and then rack after the crash. I always rack before the first crash because its best to eliminate the vast majority of the yeast which will at the bottom of the carboy before crashing. If the ferment starts back up again, then the pre-crash rack doesnt buy you as much, because there will be a lot less trub on the bottom and the yeast could be anywhere.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:18 PM   #745
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I mentioned this in a couple of earlier posts - but if you can find a used set of "brew balls", these are really handy for tracking when its time to crash without having to take lots of readings. They have saved my butt a few times when batches fermented out a lot faster than what I was expecting. I dont think they are being sold anymore but sometimes you will see them on CL or ebay. You can also use them after the crash to make sure that the gravity isnt dropping any more.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/resu...ml#post4546814

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Old 04-01-2013, 03:53 PM   #746
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...but if you can find a used set of "brew balls",...
Pretty cool invention. I wonder why they aren't making them any longer?
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:47 PM   #747
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They're still being sold but are out of stock at the moment.


The place to get BALLS if you don't have any...


I'm not crazy about the gravity options of them but they're still a great idea.

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Old 04-01-2013, 09:16 PM   #748
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They're still being sold but are out of stock at the moment.
Sadly, their website has said the same thing for the past several years. I dont think its been updated since 2009 - although I'm hoping that they are not gone for good. Maybe if enough people emailed them, there might be enough interest to produce another run.

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I'm not crazy about the gravity options of them but they're still a great idea.
Yep, the stock gravity options were a weak spot, which I think gets to PP's question as to why they are not being made any longer. The range just wasnt useful for most beer makers, so no one took them seriously. I only found out about them because some guys in my local brew club were making fun of them. If they had made a set in the range of say 1.006 to 1.014, in 0.002 increments, that would be a lot more useful for things like high gravity beers and meads which take longer to finish out (and of course, cider). There needs to be an advantage for the serious brewers, because if a product gets a rep as 'for noobs only' its not going to last long in the market. I was fortunate to find out about them while they were still in business and got them to make me a whole range of useful values. I mostly use 1.018 and 1.012 for ale yeasts. 0.020 and 1.015 for most wheat yeasts. When the 2nd ball drops, I'll do a taste test. Based on the time between when the two balls drop, I'll have a pretty good idea of how fast the ferment is going and how long I want to wait before crashing.

Using the 1.020 and 1.010 balls from the stock set would be worthwhile for cider, particularly if you can pick them up cheap, because yeah, the other values are not all that helpful. Maybe the 1.005 if you like em dry
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:43 PM   #749
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Well I don't think they should replace the hydrometer, but a neat idea to know when you are in the neighborhood of a reading. That way you don't have to pull samples all the time.

The "cool" kids can go get stuffed..haha

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Old 04-01-2013, 10:32 PM   #750
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Well I don't think they should replace the hydrometer, but a neat idea to know when you are in the neighborhood of a reading. That way you don't have to pull samples all the time.
Exactly! its a huge time saver and reduces oxygen contact.

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The "cool" kids can go get stuffed..haha
Agreed, but if you are trying to sell a product, its a lot easier if the cool kids are on your side.
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