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Old 12-23-2012, 04:20 AM   #1
drewmey
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Default Stopping Fermentation/Bottling

First time cider brewer here. I'll give you a quick run down of what I have, what I am looking for, and finally the questions.

Don't have any measuring equipment yet such as a hydrometer but here is what is in my carboy.

-2.5 gallons local (Roanoke VA) pressed apple juice
-Half cup brown sugar (wanted a little fallish mollassis taste, I know it probably isn't normal)
-Half cup honey
-Champagne yeast

It has currently been fermenting for 3 weeks in my house that stays about 68-72 degrees.

I am looking to have a hard cider that is somewhere between a beer and a wine in terms of alcohol content so that is why I added some sugar instead of just straight juice.

I want the cider to not be carbonated. Therefore, I was going to stop the fermentation/make sure it is done before bottling. I was then going to let it sit for several weeks/months until ready to drink.

In order to make sure my bottles don't blow, what would be recommended? I have read what looks like four different options...
1) Wait until all the sugar is used up by the yeast (may be a strong ABV that needs to sit for a while before drinking)
2) Use potassium sorbate to kill all the yeast (may give a slight sulfur taste)
3) Use a form of heat pasteurizing to kill the yeast yet not burn off the alcohol
4) Cold Crashing for 3 or 4 days (not sure if this will only slow down the yeast and then make my bottle blow later once it heats back up and starts fermenting again)

Is there another option? Or would someone recommend that I do one of these? Keep in mind I'm not interested in carbonating, so I do want to go ahead and kill all the yeast I believe.

Thanks for any advice!

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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Go with option one (fermentation should be close to done) and an educated guess says you are going to be around 7% abv with those ingedients. Hope that helps!

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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Thanks. My plan is to keep an eye on it for the next week and then bottle it once the bubbles stop coming through my stopper/U-trap.

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Thanks. My plan is to keep an eye on it for the next week and then bottle it once the bubbles stop coming through my stopper/U-trap.
That's a very dangerous way to do it. If it's not bubbling, and totally clear, you can rack it (siphon it) to a new vessel. If it's no longer dropping ANY lees at all (sediment), then it might be safe to bottle.

It would be much safer to get a hydrometer.

For a still non-sweet cider, it would be much more beneficial to rack it off of the lees, top up, and let it clear. I would wait until it was in a fresh vessel, and no longer dropping lees after at least 60 days before bottling.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper

That's a very dangerous way to do it. If it's not bubbling, and totally clear, you can rack it (siphon it) to a new vessel. If it's no longer dropping ANY lees at all (sediment), then it might be safe to bottle.

It would be much safer to get a hydrometer.

For a still non-sweet cider, it would be much more beneficial to rack it off of the lees, top up, and let it clear. I would wait until it was in a fresh vessel, and no longer dropping lees after at least 60 days before bottling.
I let my one gallon batch go for nine days in primary before racking to sec. It had little to no airlock activity before racking, and now I have about half an inch from where the bottle starts to curve in of head space. Is this to much empty space? I don't want to top off with extra juice cause I like the taste for the most part and its been a week already. Should I drop some campden in and bottle?
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:59 PM   #6
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I let my one gallon batch go for nine days in primary before racking to sec. It had little to no airlock activity before racking, and now I have about half an inch from where the bottle starts to curve in of head space. Is this to much empty space? I don't want to top off with extra juice cause I like the taste for the most part and its been a week already. Should I drop some campden in and bottle?
Campden will help prevent oxidation, but it's not magic! If you've got too much headspace, you can try adding some sanitized marbles to take up some headspace.
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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Campden will help prevent oxidation, but it's not magic! If you've got too much headspace, you can try adding some sanitized marbles to take up some headspace.
Neat trick! Thanks!
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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Yooper: Thanks for the advice. Since this is my first time I am not really willing to take too many risks. Because you say it is a little dangerous, I have decided to kill the yeast by bringing it up to 180-190 degrees in boiling water. Should be easy considering I am rebottling them back in their original half gallon glass containers. According to the sticky at the front of the cider forum, sounds like ten minutes at that temperature should do the trick.

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Old 12-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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Yooper: Thanks for the advice. Since this is my first time I am not really willing to take too many risks. Because you say it is a little dangerous, I have decided to kill the yeast by bringing it up to 180-190 degrees in boiling water. Should be easy considering I am rebottling them back in their original half gallon glass containers. According to the sticky at the front of the cider forum, sounds like ten minutes at that temperature should do the trick.
I've never attempted that. But I think ethanol (the alcohol in the cider) boils off below those temperatures.

What's the issue with waiting for it to be done, though? I don't get that. If you bottle now, even if successful, there will still be a ton of crap that settles out in the bottom of the bottles and each pour will stir that up again. I guess some people wouldn't mind it, but I would find it gross. Just waiting a month, until the cider is completely clear and no longer dropping sediment, means a "cleaner" finished product, no heat to damage it, and no risk of bottle bombs. There isn't any disadvantage to waiting.
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Old 12-23-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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I've never attempted that. But I think ethanol (the alcohol in the cider) boils off below those temperatures.
Agreed. I'm thinking that if you bring up the temp in your cider (after fermentation) you might lose your alcohol. You'll just end up with Apple-O'doul's. I like mine to give me a sense of invincibility and the charisma of Robert Dinero.
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