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Old 08-27-2011, 09:44 PM   #1
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Default first time making cider, couple questions

So I have been a home brewer (beer) for over a year, and I am about to try making cider.

I just picked up 4 gallons of fresh cider (no additives, not pasteurized) and I have the Wyeast Cider yeast.

Is it is easy as just adding it to the carboy? Can I add brown sugar or cinnamon to give it a little complexity? I want it to be dry, with a little sweetness.

Are there any rules of thumb for making cider?

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Old 08-27-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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I always just use ale yeast. Seems to leave it 'slightly' sweet, but dry.

I have always used store bought juice. Someone else will let you know what to do, but I think you need to add some Metabisulphate to knock out any bugs and wild yeast before pitching your yeast.

Personal preference, but don't add any spices to the juice. Start with straight juice. I will often add some table sugar to bring the SG up to 1.060. That is only a few ounces per gallon, and will give you a cider of about 8% abv. Adding more sugar only creates more alcohol which competes with the apple flavor.

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Old 08-30-2011, 03:23 AM   #3
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Aerate a bit (meaning: stir vigorously) and pitch your yeast. It will almost certainly reach full attenuation, and you'll be left with a dry cider well below 1.000, at which point you'll want to bulk age for 3-6 months. The you'll either love it or you might want to back-sweeten, which you can do with S02 and K-sorbate. That's the beauty of cider: it's remarkably simple, but you can make it as complicated as you want.

Many add S02 prior to inoculating yeast, but if your cider is fresh and hasn't been sitting around too long, I'm for keeping it as organic as possible. If you do use SO2, wait 24 hours before pitching your yeast.

Good luck.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:49 AM   #4
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indeed for the first batch i would just try juice + yeast. it will give you an idea of where you want to go, and it will come out good. it will indeed ferment dry. the juice should have enough oxygen in it to ferment well since it has not been heated, but it won't hurt to aerate by whisking or shaking. you say you want it both sweet and dry, hmmm... not sure about that one. i suggest you try it dry- if you are going to let it age and then bottle carb it might taste a bit odd/tangy when it's young but after a few months and some fizz it will come to life and you are nearly guaranteed to love it.
as for k-meta/sulfite/metabisulfite, some will tell you that it is essential, but it isn't, it knocks down lots of microorganisms and later protects against oxidation so it can be very useful if you know what you're doing with it, but i have made many great batches without it. if you are really afraid of wild yeasts and malolactic fermentation, or if you plan on multiple rackings, then go ahead and add it, you won't notice the taste.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:46 PM   #5
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All good advice. I skip the aeration as I feel it get enough when I grind and press. Cider likes to age a long time, mine tasted the best right as I ran out a full year after pressing.

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