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Old 07-16-2013, 07:49 PM   #781
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I've been reading through a lot of this thread and there is really some great information here.

Has there been talk about pitch rate somewhere earlier in this thread? For a 5 gallon batch of cider at around 1.060, is an 11g pack of dry yeast like S-04 a typical pitch rate? Also, do I need to worry about aerating the must before pitching like I would with beer?

It sounds like we want the yeast to use up all the nitrogen so that when we stop fermentation, there is not any left for any wild yeast or bacteria growth. I don't know if pitch rate is an important factor in this. Likewise, I'm not sure if yeast nutrient would be a good or bad thing.

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Old 07-26-2013, 01:25 PM   #782
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I haven't been doing this for long, but I've been experimenting and taking crazy amounts of notes as I go and I've experimented with both things you're asking about.

Aeration is always good, although it's much more important with beer than cider. Boiling removes much of the suspended gases in your wort making aeration much more necessary. I never aerated until my fourth batch, and when I did, I made the exact same cider as my second batch only I aerated it. Batch #2 had no noticeable sulfur smell when it was fermenting, but when I cleaned the airlock there was a lot of sulfur trapped in that water and it stunk. Batch #4 had no sulfur smell during ferment or in airlock water and it finished a full 24hrs faster than batch #2.

On yeast starters... I found out I'd been underpitching my liquid yeasts so on batches 5 and 6 I used starters. Batch #5 was a dry yeast with starter, 6 was a liquid yeast with starter. My starters were as ghetto as they get. A couple tablespoons of yeast nutrient and a couple tablespoons of table sugar in a glass of warm water. I tented them with foil and let them sit overnight. One finished in two days, the other finished in 3. Similar recipes in the past took 5 to 6 to ferment. But even better, batch 5 was a ginger cider that I had made previously with just a packet of dry yeast and some nutrient. On the first run, It had a hot flavor that was horrible until it had conditioned about 4 weeks. Last night I kegged the one that I had done with a starter. Only 9 days after pitching, it was already super clear and the hot flavors were practically non-existent. I'll be using starters for everything from now on. (i'll probably do a better quality starter for anything that's going to yield more than about 6.5% abv though)

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Old 08-12-2013, 11:29 PM   #783
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I am a newb here, just bottled half my first batch of beer, the other half is cold crashing.

I do not have much interest in cider, but my girlfriend does. I was thinking, since I am learning some brewing and would have most of the stuff needed, of brewing up a cider for her. She hates beer, and only drinks sweet white wines, so it won't be anything dry or bitterish.

Just joined the forum a few days ago and after thinking of the cider, I decided to look at this thread. As I am reading your wonderful post (thanks a bundle), I see that you mention the apples available in central VA for cider. I thought, neat as I am in central VA. Then for some reason I look at you name (hadn't before), and see CvilleKevin. I too am in cville!

So, before asking any newbish specifics about cider brewing, I would like to ask you, is Carter's Mtn a good place to get fresh cider from? And do they UV/Pasteurize? I think for safety sake my first batches would use pasteurized cider. It would be perfect as my girl already wants to pick apples there this fall.

Again, thanks for the great info (can't wait to read the rest of the thread, but its loooong). And if you like beer, I think my new local fave is DB's Turbo Cougar, even though I am normally an IPA/APA freak, try it if you haven't!

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Old 08-18-2013, 10:33 PM   #784
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Amazing thread and work here. Thanks!

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Old 08-21-2013, 04:10 PM   #785
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Noticed this at the bottom of my AHA email today.

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Cider Yeast Comparison Research
The American Homebrewers Association Research & Education Fund is up and running, and the first completed report is live. Ever wondered if you could use a different yeast in cidermaking than the usual English cider strain? Well, you aren't alone. Our first report examines the difference among a variety of White Labs yeast strains to ferment apple juice. You can download this exclusive members-only content on HomebrewersAssociation.org.
One particularly interesting note from the report was that WLP775 didn't come out on top for "consumer preference" in any of the tastings they conducted.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #786
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Quote:
For a 5 gallon batch of cider at around 1.060, is an 11g pack of dry yeast like S-04 a typical pitch rate?
Yes, thats plenty.

Quote:
Also, do I need to worry about aerating the must before pitching like I would with beer?
No. I also always pitch dry and have never had any issues. Less stuff to clean

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Is Carter's Mtn a good place to get fresh cider from?
The quality is OK. They are pricey and they dont press on premises, which means no quantity discounts and the cider may have been sitting for weeks. OTOH, if you already there picking apples its easy enough to pick up a gallon

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And do they UV/Pasteurize? I think for safety sake my first batches would use pasteurized cider.
Yes they do. Although its not something you really need to worry about. The alcohol will kill any e coli.

Starting in mid September, I'll be doing some juice runs to Showalters Orchard, which has great quality juice and very reasonable price for 100+ gallons. If you have a carboy and want to get in on a juice run this fall, PM me with your email address and I'll send you the details.

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One particularly interesting note from the report was that WLP775 didn't come out on top for "consumer preference" in any of the tastings they conducted.
Yep, that doesnt surprise me. It also doesnt surprise me that an English ale came out on top, although IMHO Notty, S04 or Brupaks are all better choices for that style. Cheaper, easier to store, and faster starts.

I was also surprised that they used Kirkland brand from Costco as their base mix. That would be like saying "we are going to compare these 7 wine yeasts and to have a consistent baseline we will use Welsh's concord grape juice". edit - in fairness, I have tried to make cider from supermarket juice in a long time. maybe Kirkland's kicked it up a notch since then

I've tried a couple dozen of the White Labs yeast, including all the yeasts in their list except for the WLP862 Cry Havoc. The best one IMHO is the WLP041 Pacific Ale yeast. It ferments slow and is easy to crash. Its the only WLP yeast that I still use. edit - Its a good one for early in the season when temps are warmer, but too slow and prone to wild yeast takeover once the average temp gets below 60. I've had really good results with WLP005, but it is also hit or miss when wild yeast is present, regardless of temp. I might try WLP005 again this season with some sulfited juice.

After giving up sulfites for the past 5yrs, I experimented this year with adding sulfiting to 4 keg batches: 3 before and 1 after the ferment. The juice was nice and tart to start and I used 1/8tsp in 5 gal. For the first several months the sulfited batches were decent but not as good as the unsulfited batches. S.O. could not drink the sulfited batches at all for the first 4 months. After about 6 months it started to turn around and now the sulfited batches taste a lot better a year later. The unsulfited batches have similar flavor but a noticeably more acidic finish. Usually that will turn around over the next year. The sulfited batches finish a lot smoother at yr 1. This coming season I'm planning on sulfiting about a third of the batches and see how that goes
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:32 AM   #787
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin
Yep, that doesnt surprise me. It also doesnt surprise me that an English ale came out on top, although IMHO Notty, S04 or Brupaks are all better choices for that style. Cheaper, easier to store, and faster starts.

I was also surprised that they used Kirkland brand from Costco as their base mix. That would be like saying "we are going to compare these 7 wine yeasts and to have a consistent baseline we will use Welsh's concord grape juice". edit - in fairness, I have tried to make cider from supermarket juice in a long time. maybe Kirkland's kicked it up a notch since then

I've tried a couple dozen of the White Labs yeast, including all the yeasts in their list except for the WLP862 Cry Havoc. The best one IMHO is the WLP041 Pacific Ale yeast. It ferments slow and is easy to crash. Its the only WLP yeast that I still use. edit - Its a good one for early in the season when temps are warmer, but too slow and prone to wild yeast takeover once the average temp gets below 60. I've had really good results with WLP005, but it is also hit or miss when wild yeast is present, regardless of temp. I might try WLP005 again this season with some sulfited juice.
I wish they had done a few more yeast strains myself for the tasting panel. It's great info, especially since WLP862 is my house strain, so I can just make a nice batch of cider from a washed batch. I would probably get some Notty dry if I didn't have the WLP002 or the cry havoc handy over the S04. The S04 gets very bready very quickly if its too warm where Notty is more forgiving.

As for the Kirkland brand cider, it's very good and not available everywhere. They must source it regionally. It's the brown fresh pressed cider like you get if you go to an apple orchard. i do t know how it is pasteurized though. my only question would be I have heard that the bitter apples that aren't for eating make the best cider and all of those are pretty sweet. Would there be a better source? It seems most people get juice very similar to this (sweet drinking cider) and put up good results.

The WLP862 does great all around. It ferments well right at 70 and does great in the mid 50's too. It does put off some mild sulphur compounds at lower temps, but is a clean lager strain too (I make an Octoberfest with it). I kinda like it at about 65 for a lot of reasons. Mostly it just gives me a clean fermentation there, even on an IIPA, and then I can let it rise to 70F for full fermentation and cleanup.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:34 AM   #788
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As for the Kirkland brand cider, it's very good and not available everywhere. They must source it regionally.
Its been a while since I tried to find a decent supermarket juice for brewing. It was all universally pretty bad, even the stuff that tries to emulate fresh pressed. Some of the commercial juicers may have got better, particularly if they have a local processing plant and its apple season. I always thought it would be really cool if one or more of the commercial juice makers put out an apple juice mix that was meant for fermenting. Probably not as good as fresh, but at least it would be more like buying brewers malt extract vs malted milk malt.

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Would there be a better source?
Sure, you're in Ohio, which has plenty of orchards. Any press operator who knows even a tiny bit about apples for hard cider is going to be able to set you up better than supermarket juice. See: http://www.orangepippin.com/orchards/united-states/ohio
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:59 AM   #789
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Default latest cider tasting results

This past Sunday, a bunch of friends came over to help me rate a bunch of ciders from last season and a few from previous seasons. We made it through 25 bottles, as well as making a dent in a couple kegs



Most everyone filled out rating sheets and 16 folks remained coherent enough to remember to give them back to me, including half dozen or so intrepid (and/or crazy) folks who managed to make it through all 25!

The top three scores were all from the same batch of juice - Stayman, Albemarle Pippen, Winesap, pressed 11/19/12. Not sure if that was a particularly great batch of juice or maybe because we had already put away a dozen bottles by then.

The winner of the evening, with an average score of 8.17 was #14, fermented with Bavarian Wheat yeast (Wy3056), no sulfites, and crashed at 1.012. It scored a bit higher than an identical batch, which was sulfited before pitching the yeast to kill the wild yeast. The sulfited batch scored 7.375. Personally, I liked the sulfited batch better. It didnt have as much character, but tasted cleaner to me - I was in the minority.

Close behind, with a score of 8.125 was #13, fermented with Brupaks Ale yeast, after sulfiting to kill the wild yeast and crashed at 1.008. The unsulfited version of this was really good as well, but unfortunately I didnt save a bottle from that batch for comparison

Third runner up, with a score of 7.71 was #16, fermented with WLP041 Pacific Ale yeast, no sulfites, crashed at 1.012.



In general, I'd say that the sulfited batches were not quite as good as their unsulfited counterparts. However, all three sulfited batches managed to survive almost a year and still score at least in the mid 7's. There were a few unsulfited batches that scored better (and IMHO were better), but also quite a few unsulfited batches from last year that didnt even make it to this tasting because they got acidic, probably from the residual wild yeast working. Once they get acidic, it can take another year for them to mellow out enough to be drinkable again. This season I'm planning on doing more sulfited batches to get some more side by side comparisons.

Interestingly, cider #3 (Cortland, Grimes Golden, Empire, Gala, Summer Rambo, Jonathan - pressed 9/13/12, fermented with Weihenstephan Wheat yeast , and crashed at 1.010) only scored a 6.1, despite having won gold at the Dominion cup a few weeks ago. I'd have to agree that it wasnt as good as a lot of the others and it wasnt as good as I remembered. It seemed to have become more acidic with age. It may have been the bottles - this was from the first batch of juice last year and the ones that I entered in the Dominion Cup had been stored in brown 12 oz bottles since last December, whereas the one we drank on Sunday was stored in a clear one liter bottle

Lots of others scored in the low to mid 7s, so overall a pretty good night....although not without a few duds. There was a batch from 2008, Stayman and Winesap apples, fermented with wild yeast and stopped at 1.000 with sulfite and sorbate, that got a whopping 2.67, which was probably more than it deserved. I only used half the recommended amount of sorbate, but 5 years later, you could still taste it. There were 3 other dry ciders and they all got average scores of under 5, although a few people liked them.

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Old 09-05-2013, 04:59 PM   #790
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You need to write a book dude. The amount of information here is staggering.

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