I just went home on my lunch break and took a shower in my kitchen. My wife is now looking for me with one of those Taser things. It was not pretty.
It all started on Sunday when I racked off the Yellow T cider into another strawberry tub and bottled it up. I used Martinelli's bottles -- the things cost $1.78 full of sparkling apple juice, and they're bona-fide champagne bottles ... which is good, because if they weren't they would have exploded by now!
Anyway, I'd started off at 8 percent potential alcohol and fermented down to 2, resulting in a pretty dry and tart cider. Now, I sugared it up to taste and started filling up the glass. My plan was to let it go for a couple days, then pasteurize it by running the bottles through our dishwasher set on the "sterilize" setting (that's 160 degrees for 9 minutes) to arrest the yeast, resulting in a sweetish and stable bottle of cider. Kind of unscientific, but hey, I was getting thirsty.
Well, I got the bottles filled up and then realized I'd forgotten to buy bottle caps. Not the smoothest move in the Ex-Lax box, that. It was Sunday. Whiteside Brewing Supply didn't open til eleven o'frigginclock.
To keep things on hold for two and a half days, I put used caps on the bottles and set them on the back of the counter. I figured the poorly-sealed caps would be tight enough to keep atmospheric yeasts from migrating in because the remaining sugar would be vigorously offgassing for at least that long.
Today I learned that some used bottle caps actually do seal. I popped the cap off the first one and it immediately treated me and most of the southeast quadrant of our kitchen to about 375 milliliters of flying bubbly.
So, after cleaning most of the mess, I bundled the rest of the bottles into the dishwasher, pushed "go" and headed for work, where I am now. The "not too dry" thing has gone out the window, I ain't opening any more of those to try and get more sugar in! Tonight when I get home I'll see if I've blown up my dishwasher. But I doubt it -- those champagne botts are mighty solid specimens.
The good news is, the cider really tastes good (what was left of it anyway). There is no hint of vinegar and it's actually less tart than the unfermented stuff. Honestly, it tastes a lot like a medium-quality dry champagne, like a blanc des noirs or something. Hopefully my next batch will go more smoothly, since I'll have learned a few things ...