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Old 02-07-2012, 06:29 PM   #21
Inflames
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Started a 5 gallon batch of this back in October, after 3 months in bottles one of them exploded. The FG was .998. I added an ounce of priming sugar per gallon just like you would in beer. Any thoughts on reasons for the bottle bomb?

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Old 03-06-2012, 07:38 PM   #22
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My most recent cider was a spiced apple-cranberry for new years.
5 gal of 100% apple juice, no added sugars, not from concentrate.
1/5 gal of 100% cranberry juice, no added sugars, not from concentrate.
1 lb honey
1 lb corn dextrose
3 TB ground cinnamon
1 TB ground ginger
1/2 TB allspice
1/2 TB nutmeg

yeast was from the cake of a Belgium IPA. I let it sit a while so there was practically no hop smell or taste.

I simmered 3 gal of apple juice and spices, then dissolved dextrose and honey. I added all of the juice, save the cranberry and a 1/5 gal of apple, to bring to temperature and pitched.

After 2 weeks in the primary I racked and added the cranberry. Then a week later I racked, added the last 1/2 gal of apple, and kegged for new years eve! (which was a day away)

It came out only slightly sweetened with a little cranberry-spice. Another friend made heavily back sweetened cider with organic pressed apples for the same party. I forget exactly how much but he kept adding a 1/2 gal at a time afraid that all of the sweet was going to ferment out. He even put an extra 3/4 gal in the last day! Though mine didn't really look it on it's own, it was VERY red by comparison! We could add or cut the sweetness by mixing them ;-) Both were a hit, especially with the ladies.

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Originally Posted by Inflames View Post
Started a 5 gallon batch of this back in October, after 3 months in bottles one of them exploded. The FG was .998. I added an ounce of priming sugar per gallon just like you would in beer. Any thoughts on reasons for the bottle bomb?
If only one of them exploded, I might guess it was close to the last one bottled and there was some undissolved sugars in the bucket. Or it might have been filled too high and there was no room for the gas to expand, or if could have been the unlucky one!

I've only bottled cider once, and that was some time ago but I remember using 3/4 oz of corn dextrose per gallon, not 1 oz. All but one of the bottles was emptied by 3 months and that one had stayed in a fridge for about a year--no problems. After that I've force-carbed and filled as I wanted. I have three favorite things from my brewing kit number 2 and 3 are a 6.5 gal ported Better Bottle and a 15 gal circular cooler mash tun. My most favorite are my cornies! There's nothing like showing up at a friends house, party, (the beach) with your tasty brews on tap! Not to mention a walk to the kitchen
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #23
JamesR
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For those who say use the same amount of priming sugar as for beer, what style of beer? Some beers are best with 1.2 volumes of CO2, and some with more like 3 or more. TastyBrew suggests 1.0 to 3.5 volumes of CO2 for cider. So, how much do you use?

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Old 03-23-2012, 06:47 PM   #24
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Default THANKS a thoudsand times over!


I hope this isn't a duplicate post but I didn't see it as a new post!

First I am a reformed home brewer (I brewed for 7 or so years in the late 90s - early 00s) and new to the forum. I have quite a few apple trees of various varieties and have done some hard cider in the past with iffy results. Only one batch has turned out like I wanted. So this time I got a couple books on cider making and they were either too simple (like stupid, wrong simple) or really advanced (that was Craft Cider Making by Andrew Lea). I winged one of his suggestions for apple varieties, 1/2 dessert (sweet) apples and 1/2 obscure English cider apple varieties that apparently don't do very well just about anywhere else. If you are interested I used about 1/2 sour apples (Granny Smith and Honeycrisp), 25% Gravenstein (my personal fav multitasker LOL) and 1/4 dessert apples - a mishmash of Jonathan, Fuji, and Gala.

I found this recipe the day I pressed my apples in late Oct. (fortunately) so I ran down to the local brew shop and picked up the ingredients, with the exception of 2 cups of honey which is ours and is mostly wildflowers (it's raw, we don't do anything to it, and the taste blows away everyone we give it to).

So I did as directed with a couple changes. I added Campden tablets to hopefully kill off the wild yeast, let them work a couple days then used the White Labs strain in the recipe. I re-racked after almost 3 weeks since it was burbling happily after 2 weeks and I didn't want to re-rack based on my homebrew experience with meads (a couple of which were absolute heaven and did very well in our state fair competitions). After it cleared up in a week or so I racked it again for a tertiary malic acid fermentation (technically I suppose it is a conversion, not really fermentation) using freeze dried LAB.

Then I left it sit in a cool room (temps of 40s - 50s all winter) until this week About 5 months to the day, 2 months later than I was planning on, unfortunately). I read this recommendation in the advanced apple cider book (craft cider making) vs. the 3 weeks or so in the recipe, I suppose that is a bit longer than is necessary but it didn't seem to have any ill effects and the taste is as stated below - very dry, dominant but not overpowering "sour apple", almost no sweet flavors and fairly light on the palate. Exactly what I was shooting for since I don't at all like either pucker your mouth dry English style or sweet hard ciders (sorry Sam Adams and the like but their ciders taste like fizzy hard apple candy to me!). So off to bottling today with some honey for priming & champagne yeast which is all I could find used specifically in any sparkling cider recipes (and is all I can get at the moment).

So after all that I wanted to say that it looks like this recipe will turn out quite excellent (it already tastes 100% better that my previous attempts none of which used cider yeast or a 3rd racking for malic acid fermentation). I wish I had thought to take the SG at each step but according to my old and probably miscalibrated hydrometer I hit the mark almost spot on, OG 1.055 & SG .995 as compared to 1.05 and FG 0.996 below. I make that out to about 7.75%, a little off the 8% I was shooting with the addition of the honey for but what I would expect given the 7% in the recipe.

I am going to try 1.5 oz. honey/gal. as suggested in 2 other posts here - about 2/3 cup for 4.5 gal (an estimate but I think it's pretty close). Unless someone has a better suggestion? I see that it won't effect the taste at all and that's fine with me.

So after all that blabbing .....THANKS FOR THE RECIPE!!! I'll use it next year if our bees survive the very late snow we have had for a week now that can wreak havoc with kept bees. We also keep mason bees for a backup in nasty spring weather so we are crossing our fingers that they aren't going to be affected.

BTW one thing I heard long time back was to let a bad batch of cider sit a couple years completely exposed to the air to make cider vinegar if you don't want to waste it. So I let my first disaster (or the second, I forget now LOL) to see what happened. I thought this was silly but what the heck I left it in a glass carboy I didn't need since 2002(!) When I went to make the current batch I followed the standard procedure of not letting anything I touched get anywhere near the new batch (A nail biter but it worked) and siphoned it off.

The gross "mother of vinegar" mat on the top had me convinced that it was going to be disgusting but it's the best cider vinegar we've ever had the pleasure of sipping LOL (and we happen to enjoy almost any fine vinegar in our salad dressings etc.). So you might want to try this instead of throwing a bad batch out and wasting all that effort brewing it. You can apparently save the gunk for years to use in another batch but I didn't want to roll the dice with the new batch that went into the same room. After we gave half it away the feedback from friends and family was pleasantly excellent

A friend has acres of blueberries and tried his first blueberry mead last summer, I made a knockout from his berries years ago and then an utter disaster, so now I'm motivated to try again this summer if he gets a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo2112 View Post
Had been wanting to do a nice dry cider, with noticeable apple notes to it, but not too much sweetness. This was a very simple recipe to put together, the key is to give this time to age, it can be less than pleasant the first month in the bottles. If you give it time, and wait 3 to 4 months, you will have an absolute stunner.



5 Gallons unfiltered Organic Apple Cider (from grocery store)
2 lbs local wildflower honey

1 tube White Labs #WLP775 Dry English Cider yeast
5 tsp Fermax yeast nutrient

OG 1.050
FG.996
ABV 7.04%

Beersmith put the SRM at 6.0, but I really feel that it is closer to a 3 or 4.

After sanitizing, I put the Cider right into the primary fermenter, no heating or boiling at all.

Warm the honey in about 2 cups of hot (150F) water to liquefy it, and add the Fermax to the honey / water mix. Don't boil the honey!

Let the honey mix cool a bit, and then add it to the primary. Pitch your yeast on top. When I did this, I did not use a starter, so it took several days for fermentation to kick off. Next time I will make a 1000mL starter. Shake the baby like mad to aerate!

Let sit on primary for 2 weeks. Rack into secondary for 1 week to clarify and let things settle out. I then racked into a bottling bucket, added in priming sugar and then into flip top bottles.

After 4 months, this is probably the best cider I have ever had. Beats Woodchuck and Ace all to hell. I was trying to copy the Samuel Smith Organic Cider and I would have to say that I am more than happy with what I have here.

Samuel Smith uses a wine yeast in the cider they make, but the White Labs I used worked wonderfully. Same crisp light flavor, dry, but not overly so.

I am going to get another batch of this going this week, after getting into several bottles this weekend, and having some friends and in-laws over, my stock is dwindling.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:17 PM   #25
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I Believe that you only need to pasteurize or stop the yeast if you are not fermenting until dry. If you are wanting to keep things really sweet and bottle after a week or 2 you need to stop the yeast and can not prime as easily.

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Old 04-25-2012, 07:29 PM   #26
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OK here's what's going on now. I primed with the honey and champagne yeast as above on March 23rd and yesterday I popped a bottle to see how it went. I have NO carbonation at all So did I not use enough honey? I used about 2/3 cup for a 4.5 gal batch, which was a little under what I wound up with - closer to 4 3/4 gallons. I had an old packet of champagne yeast and when I was at the local shop to get some more ceramic top bottles I mentioned that and he thought that it would be OK to use it. I didn't say it was over 12 years old, I should have or at least should have bought another packet. So does yeast die when it is in a packet for that long? Or maybe I didn't sue enough sugar? If you stare at it there is sediment on the bottom of the bottles which as a reformed beer brewer I take to mean that the yeast has done its job and settled out. The only other thing I can think of is the bottles weren't sealed properly, but I used all new rubber seals just so that wouldn't happen. Or I haven't waited long enough? After a month in the bottle my beer would have been ready to drink already.

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Old 04-25-2012, 11:05 PM   #27
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I'd have to see the amount of fermentable sugars in honey verses priming sugar per gram to know if you used enough for priming as I haven't primed with sugar or syrup before. I'm not sure what the ratios are for either.

For a ball-park on sugars, taste how sweet it is. If it's not sweet, then there is no sugar to convert and you have as much CO2 as you are going to get. If it's sugar sweet, then it didn't ferment, and if it's caramel sweet, then those sugars don't ferment well.
I'm not sure how well the flip tops hold pressure. I would imagine they should do fine. If it's still sweet, perhaps the campden is still in solution and not allowing the yeast to be active. I've never had good results with campden tabs. I tried a few times with a strawberry blonde, but yeast always ate the strawberry sugars. Did you leave it in a fridge to carb? Maybe it was too cold to be active.

As far as dry yeast goes, I was under the impression your are pushing it after 2 years. I picked up some packs of Montrachet from LabelPeelers for 80¢ each. Great price to keep on had for a bit.

I hope some of that helps!

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Old 04-29-2012, 08:06 PM   #28
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Well I composed a lengthy reply that Firefox saw fit to blow away. So thanks for the advice, but to cut to the point: can I prime again with corn sugar and if so how much would you recommend? I suppose I would have to figure out the volume of primer to add to each bottle, is there a good way to make up a primer knowing how many ounces I need to prime? How much sugar to add and how much water to use? I don't have much room in the bottles, I did leave an air gap to allow for carbonation but it wasn't more than an inch on most of them.

If that doesn't sound like a good idea, is it better to add a small amount of yeast to a few bottles to see if anything gets started? The cider didn't taste at all sweet to me or my wife, seemed about exactly what it tasted like when I bottled it. I think that the sugars almost completely converted during the fermentation and malolactose conversion judging by the FG, alcohol % and taste.

And is champagne yeast the best way to go for a cider? Now that I am getting more yeast I suppose I could use anything that eats corn sugar

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Old 04-29-2012, 09:49 PM   #29
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Complete personal preference on yeast here, I don't like the taste of champagne yeast, but nearly all the recipes I've seen use it. I have a batch going that was a Bavarian yeast for primary and Red Star Montrachet in the secondary, but it's still sitting and not bottled.

I'd wait and see if anyone else has ideas about getting carb into your batch. Maybe carb tabs, though I've never used them. I'd hate to say sanitize a bucket and pop all those caps, but that might be the most surefire way. Be sure not to splash and get much O2 mixed in. -- Are these regular bottle caps or the flip top rubber grommetted kind? Maybe we're on a snipe hunt and the grommets don't hold CO2 well.

Last idea would be to add sugar to each bottle. As far as how you get it in there... that sounds like a lot of work to put it in individual bottles. Perhaps just sprinkling it in.

Quick calculation:
Redneck units: ( 1oz sugar / 128fl.oz cider ) * 12fl.oz bottles = 0.0937oz sugar per bottle
The rest of the world: ( 7.5g sugar / 1L cider ) * 0.355L bottles = 2.66g sugar per bottle

That will produce quite a bit of carbonation. I use 1oz sugar per 1gal beer for most things. Stouts I'll drop to 3/4oz while some wheats and Belgiums I'll bump to 1.25oz. But, I like carb.

Conversions: 1 US oz weight ~ 28.35 g
1 US gal ~ 3.785 L

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Old 05-03-2012, 03:30 PM   #30
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Thanks! I think I said before I had new rubber washers on the bottles, I have never had a problem with them before. They beat the heck out of capping, at least for me. I'll try the carbonation tablets, since I want it right the first time Being "out of the loop" so long has me at a disadvantage and I never saw them on the various sites I visited looking for a solution. Heck it's already 6 months since I picked my apples, so it'll be nice 'n drinkable by my daughter's wedding in July

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