Yes, another newbie thread (shudder). I think I have a decent understanding of what I'm shooting for, though, so maybe I'm off to the right start. I would like to get this going tonight, so if one of you experts out there could take a look at my plan and let me know if it sounds like something that will work I'd appreciate it. I know I do need some pointers on the ingredients. Thanks!
Goal: Sweet Sparkling Hard Apple Cider
(like the cliche "sissy" sweet, don't bite my head off for that one, solely for illustrative purposes!)
1. 15 quarts of pasteurized apple juice, no additives except Vit C (and water)
2. 4 lbs table sugar, which will be made into a simple syrup and cooled before adding to the juice (1 cup water/2 cups sugar, boil 10 minutes)
3. 2 5g packets of Lalvin 71B-1122 DRY yeast
4. Yeast energizer @ 1/2 tsp per gallon
1. 5 gallon recycling #1 bottle
2. No rinse sanitizer
3. Temporary airlock made from a plastic frosting piping tip (resembles the tip used for stuffing sausages) and a balloon.
4. #10 stopper
1. Clean everything
2. Make simple syrup and cool
3. Add 1/2 of juice
4. Add 1/2 of sugar
5. Mix well
6. Add other half of sugar and juice and mix again
7. Rehydrate yeast
8. Add rehydrated yeast
9. Add yeast energizer
10. Mix again
11. Stopper the bottle and keep an eye on it until the yeast drops out and mixture clarifies (keep it in a dark, moderately warm place)
Racking and Bottling Process:
1. After fermentation is complete, rack into bottling carboy/container and backsweeten to taste-
a. At least 3 cans of apple juice concentrate (CURRENTLY UNPASTEURIZED)
b. Simple syrup (table sugar) as needed
2. Bottle the cider
3. Bottle a few plastic containers for carbonation testing
4. After testing plastic bottles over the course of X days, use the stovetop method to kill yeast and preserve carbonation.
5. Chill and serve
1. Am I planning to use enough sugar for fermentation, or should I use more?
2. Is it okay to switch out airlocks during fermentation, or will that screw something up?
3. I know the yeast needs to be rehydrated, but should I activate it too? (sprinkling yeast on warm sugar water till it froths)
4. I don't have a mixing spoon, is it okay to shake the bottle to mix it (before fermentation, cause I read that shaking after fermenting oxidizes the mix)?
5. Do I need to use 10g's of yeast, or will 1 packet (5g) be enough?
6. Is the yeast energizer a good idea? Will it help, or should I leave it out?
7. If the energizer is a good idea, do I just add it dry and mix?
8. About how long should I estimate this batch to take?
Thanks for taking the time to look over this for me. Any advice is much appreciated! I've got a few more questions for the backsweetening and carbonating process, but I've got at least a couple weeks to get answers on those, right?
Thanks for taking the time to look over this for me!