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Old 09-14-2007, 02:41 PM   #1
OblivionsGate
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When I first joined the forum and started my brewing career I stopped by the cider section for a bit just to poke around because it was something I wanted to do.

After brewing my second batch of beer I found a page in my book about cider.

The batch, which is 90% underway, followed the book's directions.

Here is where it gets fuzzy.

The book says nothing about cooking, nothing about secondaries, and nothing about these long periods of fermentation that I have seen on the forums here.

The book says simply mix everything into one gallon of cider, mix it with 4 gallons of cider, sit in primary for 24 hours (this is where I'm at), pitch yeast, 10 days later bottle, 7-10 days later drink.
The forums say secondaries are not necessary, but pretty damn close; boil the mix first; and leave in primary for at least 30 days.

Who's right, who's wrong, either right?

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Old 09-14-2007, 02:56 PM   #2
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"he book says simply mix everything into one gallon of cider" - I take it you're using campden?
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:50 PM   #3
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In brewing there are so many different ways to do things and it's usually not a matter of right or wrong. Different ways will work, but some ways are just a little better than others.

The only thing I saw you mention that I think is a no no is boiling juice. I've read a lot on here to bring the juice to around 150 degrees that's hot enough. Secondaries and longer are mostly for helping make a clearer beverage. The longer "fermenation" times really aren't for fementation more for clearing.

I like to bring 2 quarts juice to 150 degrees and add a little yeast nutrient and 1/2 whirlfloc tablet. I cool that then pour that in the primary. Then I pour about 1/2 out of each of the rest of my juice bottles into the primary. I take the 1/2 full juice bottles and split the sugar between them and shake em up good. This mixes the sugar well and aerates the juice too. Then pour them in the primary and pitch the yeast.

 
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:54 PM   #4
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I think part of the reason for longer fermentation times is that some folks add things like brown sugar and honey that are fermentable. The more sugar in there, the longer fermentation will take.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:56 PM   #5
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Well, that book is not wrong. The reason some people let it go for longer is to allow it to clear and for the flavors to mellow a bit with age. If you wait until fermentation is done, you won't risk bottle bombs either. I always go longer, and my wines, ciders and meads are clear and tasty, and very much to my liking. There is nothing wrong with doing it differently and those are just as good.

I never boil fruit or juice- it sets the pectin. (Think jelly or jam). I use one crushed campden tablet per gallon and let that sit for 12 hours before pitching the yeast. Campden kills/inhibits wild yeasts and bacteria while not being affected by wine/cider yeasts at all. When I use sugar, I might boil that in some water to dissolve and then pour that over my fruit if I'm making wine. But I don't cook/boil/pasteurize the fruit since I'm using the campden.

I think common sense goes a long way, too. If the cider is actively fermenting, you wouldn't bottle it no matter how long it had been in the primary. So it is really hard to give a hard and fast rule about how long to primary. I always err on the side of caution- patience is a virtue in wine and beer making!
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:47 PM   #6
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There's definitely a lot of different ways to make cider. I don't boil or heat at all and I don't use campden tablets. I think secondaries are really a personal decision, I've tried both ways, and I didn't find a big difference (but I aged them for the same number of days total, ymmv). I haven't tried the long aging thing either. Typically, I do three weeks total, sometimes only primary, sometimes with a secondary. I suspect that longer aging is better and some of the off tastes that could happen might disappear in that period. It looks like the batch I have in primary now is going to be in it for at least four weeks due to personal obligations, then I plan on putting in the secondary for at least a couple weeks with some fruit because I want to give that a try. Don't worry too much, it most likely will turn out drinkable, and you can experiment from there.

 
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Old 09-15-2007, 02:19 PM   #7
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1. Never boil cider. (Probably the only absolute in cider making.)
2. Haziness in cider is not considered a defect, so a clearing tank isn't needed.
3. Cider can be drunk within a few weeks of fermentation, but my experience is it gets better for 6-8 months.
4. Search on Scrumpy, if you want to see some strange variations.
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:19 PM   #8
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Well that is good to know. Another question though....

I pitched the yeast last night, and 24 hours later there is no bubbles. Maybe I missed all the fermentation, but i doubt it. Should I re-pitch?
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Old 09-15-2007, 11:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OblivionsGate
Well that is good to know. Another question though....

I pitched the yeast last night, and 24 hours later there is no bubbles. Maybe I missed all the fermentation, but i doubt it. Should I re-pitch?
Don't repitch. It can take a while.

Did you take a hydrometer reading?

Always use your hydromter to tell you when the batch is done fermenting. Don't rely on a book or other sourse telling you "this many days" or "that many days".

 
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Old 09-15-2007, 11:23 PM   #10
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24 hours is not a long wait with cider. I've had a few batches that didn't show any signs of activity for days. Others started fermenting visibly before the show I was watching was over.

Give it a few days.

If you are really worried, smell it. Sulphur stink almost always comes out when it is working right.
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