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Old 09-26-2008, 12:17 PM   #1
littleshinydemon
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Default some silly begginer type q's

Hey I just had a couple of questions which I haven't been able to find a firm answer to...so i thought I would just go ahead and ask

Firstly I am fermenting cider (no other shenanigans in there just juice from the apples) in 1 gallon demijohns with plastic airlock.

So what I was wondering, I have been reading a lot about measuring the OG regularly. However what I want to know is, to do this do you jsut go ahead debung your demijohn and take a sample each time? Because I wasn't sure if doing that would spoil the cider in some way with because of the air contact?

Secondly, do you bottle straight after the fermenting has done? Or should you leave it in the demijohn for a few months to let it clear?

Thirdly, when you bottle it, do you have to use a syphon? I mean couldn't you just pour it into a funnel or measuring jug then transfer to the bottle?

Fourthly, I have one demijohn that is only half full due to a lack of apples. I have added some water, what do you think is the best plan of action? To add some good quailty apple juice that is pure, or just add more water, or do nothing and ferment (but i think this would probably make vinegar judging from previous comments etc).

Finally what is the best type of bottle and cap to use if you are going to carbonate it? Since i just read you shouldnt use wine bottles with corks for this.

I am really sorry if all these questions have been covered somewhere else in the forum. I have been looking around a lot but couldnt find any definitive answers. Also i know a lot of the process is down to personal preference, I just want to know that I amn't going to bugger up my six gallons of potential cider that is all

Finally I just wanted ot say thanks to everyone that runs and posts stuff on this forum, cause you guys have already helped me do the sorting, the milling and the pressing and bottling so thanks

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Old 09-26-2008, 12:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by littleshinydemon View Post
Secondly, do you bottle straight after the fermenting has done? Or should you leave it in the demijohn for a few months to let it clear?
If you don't let it clear before you bottle it, it will clear in your bottles, and you will have sediment.

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Thirdly, when you bottle it, do you have to use a syphon? I mean couldn't you just pour it into a funnel or measuring jug then transfer to the bottle?
You could, but that would oxidize your cider. My understanding is it would taste like apple flavored cardboard. Go to a pet store and pick up about 6 feet of aquarium air hose. It's cheap, and it'll work. Cheapest way to sterilize that is to boil for a minute or so, before you start racking.

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Fourthly, I have one demijohn that is only half full due to a lack of apples. I have added some water, what do you think is the best plan of action? To add some good quailty apple juice that is pure, or just add more water, or do nothing and ferment (but i think this would probably make vinegar judging from previous comments etc).
Do nothing. Yeast doesn't produce vinegar. 1/2 gallon of room above your cider won't hurt it. If you are determined, then add preservative free apple juice.
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:01 PM   #3
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hey thank you very much for that...apple flavoured cardboard now avoided does that mean then though that if i debung the demijohn during fermentation oxidisation will occur then as well?

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Old 09-26-2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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Oxidation takes a significant amount of time. Unless you actively add oxygen AFTER fermentation has stopped. You can do that by pouring it.
BEFORE fermentation has begun, yeast needs oxygen to get started. Again, you added some by pouring it into the bottles.
And carbon dioxide has a nice property. It's heavier than air, so there will be a nice cushion of it between the cider and the air. You can open the carboy, take your sample, and measure it. I'd ask YooperBrew how she tests 1 gallon batches. Just DON'T pour the sample back in. (See a pattern?)
Drink it instead.

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Old 09-26-2008, 02:14 PM   #5
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You do not need to take hydrometer readings often. You should have taken an OG (original gravity) and when the cider appears to be done fermenting and is clear you can start taking FG (final gravity) readings. FG's are the only time you need to take a few readings, it is best to take several readings over a week or two for FG. If the gravity remains the same over that week or two long period, then your cider is done fermenting.

Siphoning brew allows its transfer without the additions of air. This is to prevent oxidation as was already pointed out. A good way to bottle is to siphon your cider into a new, clean, and sanitized bucket once it is clear and done fermenting. Then go ahead and siphon it once more into bottles. This allows you to get rid of as much sediment as possible.

The biggest problem with 1 gallon batches is racking losses. When you rack or siphon off into new containers, be them secondary/tertiary aging carboys or your final bottling bucket, you won't be able to siphon all of the brew. If you top off with water, either to make up for siphoning losses or to reduce headspace, you are both reducing the abv and reducing the flavor by watering it down.

Finally any standard beer bottle should work fine, just make sure that they are crown cap bottles, not twist offs. You can either order beer bottles from a local home brew store, or you can just save the bottles from the brew you drink. You will have to make sure you sanitize the bottles prior to bottling either way. You can pick up crown caps and a capper relatively cheaply.

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Old 09-26-2008, 03:33 PM   #6
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Im sorry i posted this by accident but couldnt find any way of deleting it!

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Old 09-26-2008, 03:36 PM   #7
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And there was me under the impression that the hardest bit was going to be pressing the bloody apples...now theres all this darned oxidisation interfering with my getting drunk at Christmas Great that has all really helped me from totally buggering up my cider (Though I did return the sample to one demijohn... ).

When you are leaving the cider for a week or so, while checking FG, does anything need to be done? I read about adding a campden tablet to stop the fermentation process. Or should I just leave the airlocks on it and leave as is?

So would more demijohns be ok as the secondary bucket then?

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Old 09-26-2008, 04:37 PM   #8
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Pressing the apples is difficult. I'd say waiting is hardest. Remember, people have been making alcohol for thousands of years, and was discovered by accident.

Demijohns are find if you want to do a secondary. Since you pressed the apples yourself, how much sediment do you have? If there's more than 1/2 inch, then I'd move to secondary once the streams of bubbles stops.

*** BLASPHEMY WARNING: NOT CONDONED ADVISE ***
I've never measured gravity. I know what the numbers mean and what they're used for, I just don't bother. In your case, you might want to consider just bottling after Thanksgiving. There shouldn't be much sugar left after 2 months.
PS: I also bottle into 1 liter plastic bottles, so I don't worry about exploding bottles.
*** END BLASPHEMY ***

I also suggest that you age some longer than Christmas. Save some for the Super Bowl, maybe?

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Old 09-26-2008, 05:59 PM   #9
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all very fine advice but as I live in Scotland neither Thanksgiving or Superbowl exist for me i'm afraid

I like your idea about plastic bottles though, maybe I will bottle in plastic then put it into beer bottles afterwards.

If I was to do a secondary fermentation, how long do you think that should take? and you dont need to add more yeast do you?

I have five demijohns going at the moment, and totally agree with you about waiting until after Christmas. I will open the first batch or two during Christmas and save the rest.

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Old 09-26-2008, 06:26 PM   #10
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Secondary is mostly called that because it's the second bottle the drink is sitting in. It's generally used for aging and clarifying. You don't add more yeast. Some recipes call for adding flavoring when you rack to secondary. (Fruit, hops, honey, depends on what you want.)

I suggest lurking around the forum for a month or two. You'll pick up a lot of info.

Last year, I bought a gallon of sweet cider for a recipe that only called for 1/2 gallon. I threw in some extra yeast, attached an air lock, and didn't touch it until spring. The result was better than any cider I'd bought. I currently have 2 gallons fermenting, one with brown sugar mixed in. As I said, the hardest part is waiting. Since you have so many small batches, you might want to consider just forgetting about one until Easter.

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Fermenting: Blackberry Wine
Aging: Mulberry Wine, Mint Mead, Dandelion Wine, Mesquite Mead
Drinking: Apfelwein
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