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Old 11-29-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
Captainpez
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Default Campden tablets?

I am planning on making hard cider from fresh pressed apples. I recently picked about two hundred pounds of apples and was planning on making two 5 gallon batches. I plan on pressing the cider and then adding champagne yeast directly to the fresh room temp. cider. I have a couple questions: Are campden tablets necessary before pitching the yeast or will the champagne yeast kill off any other wild yeast or bacteria that may be present? Also, if I do use campden tabs will it change the taste of the cider, and if so how significant of a change?

First time I will be making hard cider, but since I have access to several acres of apple trees, I figure I better start learning how to make hard cider. Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer me.


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Old 11-29-2009, 09:44 AM   #2
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People use camden to sanitise the juice and reduce chances of infection by bacteria. I often don't use it and have had no trouble, but it is a bit more of a risk. Camden is used almost universally in the wine and cider industries without any taste problems, but some people are more sensitive than others. Camden used in primary is all bound up by the fermentation process so won't help control infection later in secondary, so you need to add more later. It depends a lot how averse you are to additives and preservatives, but most people use camden with no problems.


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Old 12-01-2009, 07:55 AM   #3
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Thank you. Very good answer.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:41 AM   #4
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I know of some brewers who don't boil, add campden, or anything. They make ciders and meads without any issues. I use campden because it's just an extra cautionary measure and it's pretty cheap.

Your champagne yeast should be powerful enough to dominate any wild yeast in the must. Just a word of advice, some people don't like the flavors that champagne yeast imparts on a cider. If you've used it before, that's ok, but why not make two different batches?

Another thing to note is that making hard cider is about patience. It doesn't always take a long time to ferment the cider, but it can take a good six months or more to mellow out the strong alcohol flavor and bring forward the apple flavor and aromas. Also, if you're new to brewing in general, don't cut corners on cleanliness and sanitation. If you're going to be sitting on a brew for six months, there's no reason why you can't take the time to clean and sanitize everything beforehand.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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One thing I read a while ago, about adding campden to cider, was the time frame the cider sits before actually pitching the yeast. I grind and press my own "free" apples, and abused the heck out of a cider press. It would take me about two hours, as I recall, to grind and press 5 gallons of cider. This was two full press loads of ground apples. I used campden just because of the amount of time the cider was sitting exposed to the air. Secondly, I didn't wash or clean the apples in any way prior to grinding.

Just something to think about.

BTW..... I ground and pressed over 400 pounds of apples alone.

Good luck
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:28 PM   #6
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I stopped using campden before pitching yeast at the beginning of last season - on advice from a friend who used to work as a winery microbiologist

Since then I have made 32 keg batches and about 50 one gallon experimental batches, with no problems. The cider retains more apple taste and can be consumed right after secondary fermentation - as opposed to hundreds of previous batches, which had to sit for several months for the k-meta harshness to wear off

The press where I get my apples is scrupulously clean and doesnt use any apples that have touched the ground. If you use ground apples and/or dont wash them, dont sanitize the press, etc. then yes, you should use campden. You only need to use half the recommended dose. The recommended dosages were worked out by wineries and apples are very different chemically.

IMHO, ale, wheat, natural, lager, and meade yeasts are all superior to champagne yeasts for cider.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:37 AM   #7
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What did the microbiologist say about using campden?
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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He said that at the winery, they only used campden (k-meta) before the yeast pitch if there was a problem - like if a fermentation started before the crush, or for bleaching whites that got oxidized - but that normally they didnt use it. Since then, several other local commercial winemakers have told me the same thing - that k-meta is a troubleshooting tool, not part of the recipe.

Until last year, I would always start the season with a few kegs of pasteurized juice because they could be consumed right away, while the unpasteurized stuff needed to age for several months for the k-meta burn to wear off. I always thought that this had something to do with using unpasteurized juice, but it was the k-meta
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:36 AM   #9
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If I do use the campden

1. How much is a recommended dose? My bottle does not say.

2. After I add the Campden, do I put on the airlock?

3. How long do I wait to pitch my yeast?

Thanks!!
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
If I do use the campden

1. How much is a recommended dose? My bottle does not say.

2. After I add the Campden, do I put on the airlock?

3. How long do I wait to pitch my yeast?

Thanks!!
I use one crushed campden tablet per gallon. You don't have to put on an airlock, just cover it to keep flies and stuff out. I always wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast.


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