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Old 10-14-2012, 10:40 PM   #1
ziggy203
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Default Tricks of the trade

Good afternoon. Firstly can I appologies for my pure ignorance because I'm wanting to get into brewing cider at home but have no idea what I'm doing other than the basics. I have ordered a couple of books to get me started but this seems like the best place for me to come along to and just ask : anything that I should know before diving in? I know the books will help but is there anything you think would be good to know that may not be in the books or just from your personal experience of things you wish you had known when you started off?

All advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 10-14-2012, 11:32 PM   #2
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Expect things to not go as planned and still turn out fine.

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Old 10-15-2012, 12:02 AM   #3
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You'll be tempted to obsess over minor issues (real or perceived) and/or freak abut about little issues (e.g. OG/SG off by a couple of points). Don't give in to the temptations. More than likely, if your doing a lot of reading on this forum, things will work out.

That, and sanitize the hell out of everything. If you think you're being too aggressive with the sanitization, you're not.

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Old 10-15-2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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My advice is to start simple. There are an incredible number of different ways to make cider. Think about how you want your cider to be...still or sparkling, dry or sweet, spiced or not...those are starting points. Find a good simple recipe and get yourself some of the best, freshest cider you can find. Go for it.

The other thing I'll tell you is this...don't try to cool a carboy of hot pasteurized cider by setting it on a pile of snow

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Old 10-15-2012, 01:19 AM   #5
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Ferment your cider in a cool area <70F. Don't do it at room temp even if the yeast you're using suggests higher temps.

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Old 10-15-2012, 04:03 AM   #6
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Also try out a few different to see what you prefer, I still like my store bought juice cider better then the unfiltered juice(cider). But it's always a matter of your own taste.

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Old 10-15-2012, 08:02 AM   #7
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Get yourself a hydrometer. It's one of the most important tools you'll need

-Kingboomer

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Old 10-15-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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Thanks alot guys. I think I'm just nervous about my first batch but from what I've seen on here I should just jump right in and learn from my mistakes.

One question I have is can anyone give me a very simple one line explaination of how to make a cider sweet/dry, still/sparkling and most of all (I know it'll be in the books) what exactly is back sweetening?

Sorry for all the ignorant questions but thanks alot for the advice!

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy203 View Post
Thanks alot guys. I think I'm just nervous about my first batch but from what I've seen on here I should just jump right in and learn from my mistakes.

One question I have is can anyone give me a very simple one line explaination of how to make a cider sweet/dry, still/sparkling and most of all (I know it'll be in the books) what exactly is back sweetening?

Sorry for all the ignorant questions but thanks alot for the advice!
I am new to this hobby as well, so I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong....but to reiterate, if you want to get into the questions you are asking, the hydrometer is an invaluable tool.

To that end: Whether your cider is sweet or dry will mostly depend on the final gravity, or, how much sugar has been converted to alcohol. If most of the sugar has been converted, it will be drier, if less has been converted, it will be sweeter. The ways to stop the yeast where you want it are to let it ferment out to a final gravity (FG) of about .980. If you bottle it then, it will be still and dry because there is nothing left for the yeast to eat and poop.

If say you bottle it at 1.005 and let it finish in a room temp spot, it will keep fermenting. The bubbles can't escape through an airlock and gets forces back into the cider so it will be dry and sparking.

If you like it sweeter and still, say 1.020 you can put it in the fridge and the yeast will rest. Be careful though because if it warms up the yeast will wake up and you could have little bottle bombs.

If you want sweeter and sparking, you can bottle it, but put some in a small plastic bottle (like a club soda bottle) when the club soda bottle gets firm you either put it in the fridge (see prior warning) or pasteurize it (see sticky thread)

Back sweetening is when you let the sugars become exhausted, and then add a sweetener like frozen apple juice concentrate or splenda. The AJC will give the yeast more sugars so you either have to refrigerate it after or kill off the yeast through pasteurization. Something like splenda, the yeast can't eat.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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Those all pretty well cover it, if you backsweeten with a non ferment able sugar like Splenda, zyletol or lactose you won't have to stabilize ( kill off yeast) before sweetening. Read the sticky thread on bottle paturization it's really good. I tend to use an ale yeast like Nottingham for my ciders, I let them ferment dry and then add some sugar (a measured amount) to bottle carb. I find the ale yeast leaves a small amount of residue sweetness, just the right amount as I don't like sweet ciders.

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