Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > 1st Cider Attempt - suggestions and advice welcomed
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:48 AM   #1
Ringoshoe
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Default 1st Cider Attempt - suggestions and advice welcomed

I've just gotten into home brewing and after messing around with a beer kit, wanted to give cider a try. I've done a lot of browsing this forum and and various other places on the web, and so am suffering from a bit of information overload, so any suggestions, links, or pointers about proceeding would be more than welcomed.

My recipe was as follows:

2 gallons cider
6 cups water
.5 lbs brown sugar
1 lb honey
pectic enzyme
yeast nutrients
Nottingham yeast

Poured the cider (pasteurized, no preservatives) into the carboy, added the pectic.

Mixed the honey and brown sugar in the water, heating gently until dissolved, added to the carboy.

Starting SG 1.05.

I rehydrated the yeast, added the nutrients to the cider, then added the yeast.

The airlock was bubbling merrily by the next morning, no real foam accumulation (I'm not worried about this part).

My first question is when do people recommend that I rack it? Once the airlock goes quiescent? From my reading, I'm guessing give it at least two weeks, or a SG around the 1.01ish mark. Does this sound right? After that, how long should I let it sit in the secondary before carbonating and bottling?

I have some of the most delicious wildflower honey I've ever tasted, and along with using it above, I wanted to use it and apple juice concentrate for back carbonation. I want the final product to be fizzy, and a little sweet - How do I judge how much honey needs to be used and how long I should let it sit to carbonate? (I'm going to pasteurize in the bottle to kill the yeast so I don't end up with any bombs once it's the right level of sweet and fizzy). My guess is crack a bottle on day two and see how it is, but specific advice would be well appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of my new hobby.



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Old 03-12-2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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There's some good stickies on cider. There seems to be a couple diffrent ways of making cider, just depends on if u want it dry, sparkling, or if u wanna back sweeten it


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Old 03-12-2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy...g-pics-193295/
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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There have been plenty of good threads, and I read the full pasturizing thread a couple of weeks ago, which is part of the problem. I've got plenty of information but not enough experience or context to be able to filter it all to what is most appropriate here (70 some various pages of cider related posts is a lot of advice, much of it contradictory, to process).

I find that the very first time I do something, I prefer having someone who knows what's what looking over my shoulder to confirm if I'm on the right track of not (and unfortunately don't know anyone face to face who's made cider).

My rough plan right now is ferment until dry, rack into secondary with honey and apple juice to taste, then bottle, carbonate (using a PET bottle to judge carbonation level while the rest go into glass), and pasteurize. I hate going into things with just a rough plan though, so I was hoping that I could get direct answers on things like 'you should really use X honey per gallon of cider when back sweetening." Direct advice from people who've been there, done that, and ended up like so:
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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Just an update - noted that the bubbling in the airlock had significantly slowed, so I took a reading - SG is at 1.018. Sample still had a noteable cider flavor, but fairly dry, very nice tart finish.

I'll give it another week before I test again, if the airlock activity has stopped.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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Uhh being in a similar situation I'd note 1.018 isn't at all dry for cider (though when it still has carbonation working I'd say it isn't sweet either, however when it flattens it will taste damn sweet at 1.018, or even at 1.011 like mine.) Don't make my mistake, apparently you need to let it go damn well under 1.000 before you prime and bottle, or you will be facing a number of bombs like me.

Oops, missed that you will stop and pasteurize, cetainly reasonable plan. I may be following the same one.

Reason: mistake
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:54 AM   #7
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Well, it tasted dry in comparison to the jug of fresh cider I sampled before hand as a comparison.

Depending on where it is next week, I might let it sit two, see how low I can get the SG.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:30 AM   #8
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You really need to decide how to finish your cider before going any further .

Do you want it sweet or bone dry, somewhere in between? Do you want it carbonated, or still? Do you mind using chemicals to prevent further fermentation such as potassium sorbate? Are you wanting to sweeten it naturally or with non fermentable sweeteners ? Do you have a keg system to force carbonate or will you be bottle priming?

The question of "what do I do next" comes up quite a bit but most people don't know what they want out of a finished cider. Here they are with five gallons of this God like concoction about to finish up and no plan in place.

Once we know what you're shooting for, we can help get you there with the process .
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:10 PM   #9
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Well, like I said in the OP and subsequent post (although I did ramble hem and hawe a bit) I'm going for a semi-sweet carbonated cider, back sweetened with concentrate and honey, pasteurized at the finish.

I want to balance the concentrate and honey so that I get the sweet apple flavor with a touch of honey to it.


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