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Old 09-19-2009, 01:51 AM   #1
rrittenhouse
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Default Small Batch Questions

I have been looking at brewing beer lately but I think I want to start with Cider. Is there an easy guide (with recipe) for a small batch of cider? I guess I want to make sure I will even like this stuff before I purchase too much gear.

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Old 09-19-2009, 02:28 AM   #2
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you can use gallon jugs that the juice comes in as the primary fermentor and just add yeast. doesnt get much easier than that. As far as what yeast to use - what commercial ciders do you like?

Regardless of the style, you want to start with the best juice you can get your hands on, preferably unpasteurized or UV pasteurized - not heat pasteurized or with any preservatives. Since its apple season, you might want to check out some fruit stands and orchards this weekend to check out your options

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Old 09-19-2009, 02:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
you can use gallon jugs that the juice comes in as the primary fermentor and just add yeast. doesnt get much easier than that. As far as what yeast to use - what commercial ciders do you like?

Regardless of the style, you want to start with the best juice you can get your hands on, preferably unpasteurized or UV pasteurized - not heat pasteurized or with any preservatives. Since its apple season, you might want to check out some fruit stands and orchards this weekend to check out your options

The farmers market is tomorrow but I have to work early! Doh. I might have to go in late and just go get some fresh Apple Juice. We have a couple orchards here that participate there. Any certain stuff I should look for? I saw you said unpasteurized or UV pasteurized.

To me, honestly, cider is cider as long as its sweet. I've never had any "hard cider" so this would be my first attempt. I like things very very sweet so the sweeter the better. We have a store here with basic homebrew supplies: http://www.shriverspharmacy.com/inde...026b94d4cd2090

Suggestions?

I guess I need to read some more about cider. Do I just mix it (at room temp) or do I have to boil it first (like beer)? Also what is a suggested fermentation temp? My house is about 70-75 typical (including basement).

Thx
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:39 AM   #4
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Procuring cider juice is an acceptable excuse for getting to work late. Just make sure to share some of the end product with your boss.

You are fortunate to have a choice of juice in one place. Taste em all and see what you like. When you are evaluating a juice mix for fermenting, you want to pay attention to at least four dimensions. First the smell – if it doesn’t smell good before the ferment, its not likely to get better. Then the first hit of the taste, which should be appley and sweet. The initial sugar taste should fade out fairly quickly and not be syrupy. The midrange is harder to describe, but want a nice flavor when its sitting in your mouth – preferably multiple flavors.- something that remind you of biting into an apple in an orchard (as opposed to drinking a juice box when you were a kid). Then you have the finish, where a tart note is nice as long as not too tart.

It doesn’t hurt to let them know that you are looking to make hard cider. Most apple growers also make hard cider and have their favorite juice combos for that so if you are lucky and treat them right, they might bring you some of the Good Stuff next week..

Here is the quickest, cheapest way to make a small batch:

Get a gallon of whatever you like the best, or two if you cant decide. Preferably unpasteurized or UV pasteurized - not heat pasteurized or with any preservatives. Don’t heat the juice or add anything but yeast. Keep the jugs cool and don’t open them until you are ready to add the yeast. If you refrigerate them, let them come up to room temp for about an hour before pitching the yeast. Since you like a sweet cider, use ale yeast – preferably S04 or Nottingham. One packet is enough for 5 gal, but it wont hurt to over pitch the yeast. Pour off about 4oz of juice, and pitch the yeast, a little bit at a time. Let it sit on top of the cider for about 10 min, until it sinks, then add some more. Do this three times, then put the original jug top back on, give it a good shake and replace the jug top with a fermentation lock and 6 ½ stopper, which you can pick up when you get the yeast.

You should see fermentation start within 24 hours, usually a lot earlier. Let it set in the coolest part of your house. When the ferment starts to slow down (between 5 and 9 days, depending on temp), start checking for taste. You can pour a little bit out but its better to use a wine thief so you don’t disturb the sediment. When you are happy with the taste, rack it into a clean gallon jug and stick it in the fridge for a couple of days to chill the yeast out. Rack it one more time into bottles or a pitcher and its good to drink. This way, you are arresting the secondary fermentation which is where the more complex sugars break down and you're not adding anything that might alter the flavor of the apples and yeast, which will still be very fresh. Its like a Beaujolais cider. You can wait a few more weeks to let it clear out if you want, but IMHO there is no need to (and often good reasons NOT to will come along).

Once you have this method down, there are a lot of ways to branch out, and as it gets later in the Fall, you should be able to get better quality juice at your farmers market

cheers

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Old 09-19-2009, 04:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
Procuring cider juice is an acceptable excuse for getting to work late. Just make sure to share some of the end product with your boss.

You are fortunate to have a choice of juice in one place. Taste em all and see what you like. When you are evaluating a juice mix for fermenting, you want to pay attention to at least four dimensions. First the smell – if it doesn’t smell good before the ferment, its not likely to get better. Then the first hit of the taste, which should be appley and sweet. The initial sugar taste should fade out fairly quickly and not be syrupy. The midrange is harder to describe, but want a nice flavor when its sitting in your mouth – preferably multiple flavors.- something that remind you of biting into an apple in an orchard (as opposed to drinking a juice box when you were a kid). Then you have the finish, where a tart note is nice as long as not too tart.

It doesn’t hurt to let them know that you are looking to make hard cider. Most apple growers also make hard cider and have their favorite juice combos for that so if you are lucky and treat them right, they might bring you some of the Good Stuff next week..

Here is the quickest, cheapest way to make a small batch:

Get a gallon of whatever you like the best, or two if you cant decide. Preferably unpasteurized or UV pasteurized - not heat pasteurized or with any preservatives. Don’t heat the juice or add anything but yeast. Keep the jugs cool and don’t open them until you are ready to add the yeast. If you refrigerate them, let them come up to room temp for about an hour before pitching the yeast. Since you like a sweet cider, use ale yeast – preferably S04 or Nottingham. One packet is enough for 5 gal, but it wont hurt to over pitch the yeast. Pour off about 4oz of juice, and pitch the yeast, a little bit at a time. Let it sit on top of the cider for about 10 min, until it sinks, then add some more. Do this three times, then put the original jug top back on, give it a good shake and replace the jug top with a fermentation lock and 6 ½ stopper, which you can pick up when you get the yeast.

You should see fermentation start within 24 hours, usually a lot earlier. Let it set in the coolest part of your house. When the ferment starts to slow down (between 5 and 9 days, depending on temp), start checking for taste. You can pour a little bit out but its better to use a wine thief so you don’t disturb the sediment. When you are happy with the taste, rack it into a clean gallon jug and stick it in the fridge for a couple of days to chill the yeast out. Rack it one more time into bottles or a pitcher and its good to drink. This way, you are arresting the secondary fermentation which is where the more complex sugars break down and you're not adding anything that might alter the flavor of the apples and yeast, which will still be very fresh. Its like a Beaujolais cider. You can wait a few more weeks to let it clear out if you want, but IMHO there is no need to (and often good reasons NOT to will come along).

Once you have this method down, there are a lot of ways to branch out, and as it gets later in the Fall, you should be able to get better quality juice at your farmers market

cheers
Thank you for the very detailed reply!

I will need to get a few things from the store I listed:

SAFALE S-04 DRY ALE YEAST
Racking Cane + Tubing
Drilled Stopper
Fermentation Lock
Sanitizer
Possibly a thief? Not sure if they carry them or not! Sanitized straw? haha.

I believe that's about all I will need aside from the juice and an empty (sanitized) one gallon jug for a secondary.

Let me know if I missed anything!

Thank you btw.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:32 AM   #6
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That should do it.

You can use your racking cane with your thumb over the tube if your LHBS doesnt have a thief. But a thief is easier.

After a few batches you might want to get an auto siphon, hydrometer and a few swing top bottles, just to make things easier, but the list you have is all you need

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Old 09-19-2009, 11:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
That should do it.

You can use your racking cane with your thumb over the tube if your LHBS doesnt have a thief. But a thief is easier.

After a few batches you might want to get an auto siphon, hydrometer and a few swing top bottles, just to make things easier, but the list you have is all you need
Just to make sure i'm not crazy we are referring to apple juice, correct? Or do you start out with a cider and make it a hard cider?

Thanks
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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Fresh pressed apple juice - which a lot of people refer to as sweet cider. When

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Old 09-19-2009, 02:55 PM   #9
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I went to the farmers market and bought a ($5) gallon of Apple Cider. It was fresh pressed on Tuesday and it tasted pretty good. (Had to taste it after I bought it). It states no preservatives etc.

I then went over to the pharmacy and bought Nottingham yeast (11g); they didn't have the S-04 but they had the S-05 type.

I bought an autosiphon (3/8") and 5' of tubing. A stopper that should fit in the gallon jug, Fermentation lock (the round type), and a little 8oz bag of one step sanitizer. I also bought a half-assed looking thermometer that looks like this: http://www.ldcarlson.com/public%20ca...hermometer.jpg but mine has a red "handle" on top and the beads in the bottom are bigger (im guessing its no as accurate as the one they had for $2-3 more which had smaller beads?

I believe that's all I purchased. Man oh man I wanted to purchase all the better boys and hydrometer etc but I told myself to wait! LOL I eventually want to experiment with beers, wine, and even cider (which im trying first).

Thank you for your help. I'll make a new thread when I go to brew later.

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Old 09-19-2009, 11:37 PM   #10
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Alright I took a few minutes to sanitize the three-piece airlock, the cap to the jug, and the rubber grommit thing with a hole drilled through it.

I took about 30 minutes and split the yeast up in 1/3 increments and let it sit for 10 minutes each time. My wife, who is kind of bitter about my new hobbies at times, she came home in time so I let her shake it up and put the plug and the airlock. She thought that was pretty neat I'm hoping I can get her support so if this turns out she will push me to go make wine or even beer.

I have the jug sitting in a close that is semi cool. I should go put it in the basement where I know it's at least 72-73 and not 75. Is cider as picky as beer is when it's fermenting?

Robert

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