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Old 04-17-2008, 02:01 AM   #1
pintocb
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Default Some noob questions

Can I use an ale yeast or do I need to get a specific cider yeast?

What will happen if I do my primary fermentation in a Mr. Beer kit which has no airlock?

I'll be using my only carboy for a batch of beer. Is there any way to "rig" some other container to go to secondary?

I'm using a Mr. Beer concentrate. I'm planning on adding some juice. If I want to carbonate, at what stage to I add sugar?

Thanks!

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Old 04-17-2008, 03:03 AM   #2
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Any yeast will work. It all depends on what you want the flavor to be. There is a thread about different yeast and flavors on here somewhere. if you search you should be able to find it. you will probably like whatever you use.

I have never used a Mr. Beer so I cant say about that. However I would suggest going and getting a 2nd carboy for making this cider (you WILL use it later and be glad you bought it). If you cant do that try hitting up your redemption center for gallon glass jugs. You should be able to put a stopper in them. Worse come to worse you can use tin foil to cover the tops with. All your contaminates are air born and wont be able to get in.

Add all of you juice/concentrate and let it ferment out for a good 2-4 months. When you are ready to bottle is when you are going to add your sugar for carbonation. Look up bottling if you want more info on how to do that.

Good luck. Cider is fun and easy to make.

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Old 04-17-2008, 03:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pintocb
Is there any way to "rig" some other container to go to secondary?


Thanks!
Skip the secondary. You will be glad you did. Just leave your beer in the primary for an extra week or however long you had planned to secondary.

add carbing sugar at bottling.
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:41 AM   #4
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I'll take a shot at answering your questions the best I can...

Quote:
Can I use an ale yeast or do I need to get a specific cider yeast?
Yes, you can use most any yeast, but you need to decide what you want out of your cider in order to decide what yeast to use. There's 3 things to consider when picking your yeast: Attenuation (how much sugar it will leave behind), Alcohol tolerance (how strong of a cider you can make), and yeast strain characteristics (what flavors/aromas the yeast will impart to your cider).

Step 1 Alcohol tolerance: decide how strong of cider you're making. Straight apple just will be around 5% abv, most any yeast (except bread yeast) will handle that.

Step 2 Attenuation: the lower the attenuation of the yeast, the more sugar will be ungerminated, hence the sweeter the cider; or the higher the attenuation, the dryer the cider.

Step 3 Yeast characteristics: look for a 'clean fermenting' yeast, something that won't leave a bread smell/taste, or possibly a yeast with more easterly (fruity) characteristics. Keep in mind that if the yeast is marketed for ale, the description of the characteristics for that yeast are referring to it's response to ale, not cider; a particular strain of yeast may impart certain flavors in ale, but not in cider.

My experience is that most people think they want a sweet cider (because they imagine alcoholic apple juice) and once they brew a batch or two, they realize they prefer a dry/bubbly cider (much more like champaign than apple juice). I would suggest using Red Star Pasture Champaign yeast.

Quote:
What will happen if I do my primary fermentation in a Mr. Beer kit which has no airlock?
I'm not familiar with the MR. Beer kits. I can tell you that if it ferments beer, it can ferment cider. I'm assuming that by not having an air lock, you're not saying it's a sealed unit. It has to have some sort of vent for the CO2 or it would explode. The point of an air lock is to create a water/sanitizer/vodka barrier that keeps bacteria from entering the fermenter, but just having a small vent is enough.

Quote:
I'll be using my only carboy for a batch of beer. Is there any way to "rig" some other container to go to secondary?
Any container that can be sanitized (preferably glass) and isn't oxygen permeable can be used. The trick is to find one that a airlock/stopper will fit into, or you can cover the top with a balloon, or even foil. The main idea is to vent the CO2 without letting in bacteria. The C02 escaping will prevent bacteria from entering the vessel while the primary fermentation is occurring, but if you don't use an airlock or balloon, you'll want to be careful to not leave it in that vessel for too long. Once the wort/cider stops producing CO2, there's nothing to stop the bacteria from entering.

Quote:
I'm using a Mr. Beer concentrate. I'm planning on adding some juice. If I want to carbonate, at what stage to I add sugar?
Add 1 12oz. can of frozen apple juice concentrate just before bottling, and stir the crap out of it. Stir gently, so you don't aerate the cider. Or you could use 3/4 cup corn sugar, but the frozen apple juice concentrate will do just fine, and tends to add more apple flavor.

My last piece of advice is to read the following two links, in order:

1) How to make Hard Cider
2) How to Brew

EDIT: Sorry, I was thinking about 5 gal. batches. If you're doing a smaller batch (I think Mr. Beer dose 2 1/2 gal. batches) you'll want to scale down the priming/carbing sugar/juice concentrate. Otherwise you'll create bottle bombs.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:26 AM   #5
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The Mr. Beer can do cider in fact they sell cider kits which use a clear barrel instead of the brown for the beer because cider is not as concerned with hiding from the light (very cool because you can watch it go). The unit also has little notches around the lid which act like an airlock except they are missing the water to prevent air from coming in but the system does work pretty well. The other thing I change when using Mr. Beer kit is to not use table sugar for priming as it gives a funny flavor to the beer; however you are making cider which may aid in making a sweeter tasting cider if you are looking for it. An alternative to the Mr. Beer is a 3 gallon carboy ($18 at my LHBS) which would give you more control over the airlock but also costs more.

As for the yeast another consideration is your OG especially if you add concentrate or juice to the MRB kit, some yeasts strains will have a difficult time kicking off in a high OG environment and may require starters or other adaptations to ensure the little guys are able to handle your cider as was the case when I made my Apfelwein and I used a Hefe yeast for more fruit like flavor.

Good luck on your cider, I just started a batch of Apfelwein today and can't wait for it to get done!!!

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Last edited by newbeerpig; 01-18-2009 at 06:31 AM.
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