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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > First batch ever, blueberry apple cider
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default First batch ever, blueberry apple cider

Hello, everybody

I have been brewing beer for a little while now, and realized that I could use my beer brewing gear to make hard cider. I have been searching the forums, and the videos in an effort to not ask questions that have already been responded to, but I do have a question about timing. I am using one gallon of unfiltered, pasteurized apple juice with no preservatives. Not even ascorbic acid. I cooked down a pound and a half of frozen blueberries (medium temperature, just to release juice and flavor). I added a little under a pound of honey to the blueberries, and then pitched 1/5 of a vial of White Labs English cider yeast. This was 24 hours ago. The color is beautiful, and I AM seeing fermentation. I have a blow off tube coming out of my carboy into a bowl of sanitizer. It is bubbling slowly, but steadily. I am concerned that there is not as vigorous fermentation as I am used to when brewing beer. Is this normal? Is the fermentation slower? Also, how much time do I leave it in the carboy before changing to an airlock, then how much time should it sit with the airlock? I was thinking about two weeks in the carboy with the airlock. Is this correct? If anyone has any thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated. Please forgive these simple questions, but I am new to this, and trying to learn all I can.

Thank you!

Lorenzo


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Old 06-20-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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I can respond to the first part. I started five 1-gallon cider batches fermenting the day before a 5-gallon batch of Kölsch.

The ciders bubbled along slow and steady for about a week. The Kölsch went crazy for 3 days and then tapered off to nothing before the ciders showed signs of slowing.

I had very little krausen on the ciders.

I can't answer the second part since I'm not sure what would be best. My ciders have been sitting in the primary for 2 weeks. I plan to rack them tonight.


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Old 06-20-2012, 10:01 PM   #3
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Thank you so much! That's very encouraging. I will keep it going for two weeks, and see where we are with the fermenting process. I very much appreciate the help.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #4
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Couple of things that I know.

1.) Honey as a fermentable sugar takes much longer to break down into usable sugar for the yeast to consume. Also, Apple Juice does not have the same natural yeast nutrients that beer grains do. Both of these will cause the slow fermentation. I wouldn't worry because yours is fermenting.

2.) When you boil fruit, you release pectin, which can cause your cider to haze. This won't affect you final taste so again I wouldn't worry - just a heads up incase your's is cloudy.

3.) (This is more opinion, but has been verified by others on this site) Adding fruit during primary fermentation lessens the flavour imparted by the fruit addition. This is because the yeast are actively doing their thing and chewing up all the sugars they can. I have found that adding fruit during the secondary, or later is much better.

You may not need a blow off tube at all. I don't use them on my ciders. But this can depend on different yeasts you use.

4.) There is also no way to say exactly how long you will need to keep it until fermentation is complete without using a hydrometer or other instrument to read the specific gravity of your cider. You will need to get one of those. Take a reading after about 2 weeks. Then one each day until the numbers stop changing. Then it's finished.

All said, I think you'll have a tasty cider.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Thank you, Doctor! I may try to add a small amount of the blueberry mash during the second fermentation to recover some more of that blueberry flavor. Interesting point on when to add the fruit. This is all very helpful!
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:02 AM   #6
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I agree, don't cook the apple juice or secondary fruit as you set the pectin and it's much harder to make a clear finished product. Frozen berries release the juices easily because the cell walls will have been broken by the ice crystals.

You can also get some pectin enzyme to help break down the pectin if it is causing you problems but it works best if you add it 12 hours or so before pitching the yeast. It may not work so well after ferment has completed due to the alcohol levels.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:56 AM   #7
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I just finished this batch of apple-cranberry using Craisin's. I didn't have pectin enzyme so it's a bit cloudy. But it tastes perfect!
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:02 AM   #8
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That looks beautiful! Nice and clear, and very inviting. Nice patio table, too, by the way! My brew is fermenting slowly, but very steadily. Much much longer than the beer ever has. May I ask, how long did you ferment for? Did you do a secondary fermentation? My batch has a BEAUTIFUL color, but it's dead opaque at the moment. There is nice fermentation activity, though, and it's only been in about a week. Any thoughts? Did I make a mistake? Will it clear eventually? Maybe on secondary when I have cleared out all the fruit?
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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I started the primary in Jan. In Feb I racked and added the craisins. I racked out the fruit in March and it continued to ferment slowly for months. Basement temps were low. I bottled about a month ago and pasteurized about 2 weeks ago. It just keeps getting better!
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Please forgive my ignorance, "racked" means siphoning out the wort or must into a secondary carboy for another fermentation period by use of a siphon or racking cane. In your case to either add or eliminate fruit. Is this correct?


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