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Old 03-20-2013, 06:54 PM   #1
davemattb
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Jun 2012
flagstaff, az
Posts: 140
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My friends and niece told me they liked hard cider. I decided I would experiment with making some. I wanted to just throw some ingredients together and see what happens. I purposely have not tried any ciders yet, but I just purchased some Crispin that I will try when Im not in the mood for a beer. My "recipe" was

4 gallons store bought apple juice
4 cans treetop frozen concentrate
5 lbs (gala?) apples cored, then shredded with food processor. I added brown sugar and honey to these and froze for a week.
Campden tablets for 36hrs +/-
Gravity was 1.070! and I imagine it might have more sugar with the shredded apples. I think Im going to make more of an apple wine?
White labs cider yeast. Made 1.2L starter with 60%DME and 40%apple juice which i decanted and pitched yeast slurry.

It was cold in my closet so fermentation started in low 60s for about a week. It since has been upper 60s. Its been 2 weeks and yeast are still active as I can witness the churning(I must have a tiny leak in the cap because its never really bubbled). It smelled sulfury about a week in, but it sounds like cider yeast can do that. Any suggestion on what to do next? I usually primary my beer for 3-4 weeks then keg/bottle. My major concern is the shredded apples. Is there any reason for me to secondary sooner to separate from the apples? I imagine this will need to age for some time to mellow. I may bottle some as still and keg the rest for sparkling. May sweeten in keg or just add sprite or something to add sweetness when serving. Any tips or advice for me at this point? It'd be nice to end up with something drinkable! Thanks!

 
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
Pickled_Pepper
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Nov 2011
Atlanta, Georgia
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With that original gravity, yes it's going to be more like a wine and it's going to need to some time to finish fermenting and then mellow out. Think of it as something along the lines of an tripel ale. They usually don't hit their sweet spot for many months. You could have probably gotten something consumable earlier if you left out the frozen concentrate.

If you like sweeter cider, you could always let it ferment dry, sorbate and backsweeten with more frozen concentrate. (then keg) Or just bottle it still. Either way, I think you might be looking at a minimum of 2-6 months. It just depends on how much of the apple flavor gets stripped in the initial fermentation. Don't worry though, with time, it should come back around.

I drink my ciders fairly young (around 2 months) and I always try and keep my starting gravities around 1.060 (or less). I also prefer them on the dry side. I'll start racking and cool crashing around 1.010, so I can get them to finish up around 1.005. At that point you can just keg it and carb. I've also not had any problems bottle carbing at this gravity, but I usually drink them within 3 weeks.

 
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:26 PM   #3
davemattb
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Jun 2012
flagstaff, az
Posts: 140
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Thanks for your feedback! In retrospect, I should have targeted an OG of 1.060. I discovered that after researching cider. It was just on a whim throwing stuff together so I could let the yeast do what they do. Is there any reason to secondary yet and get off the shredded apple at this point or can I wait until 4 weeks? Time isn't a big deal with this. If it takes a year Im OK with that.

 
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:43 PM   #4
Pickled_Pepper
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Nov 2011
Atlanta, Georgia
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Completely up to you on racking. There are many schools of thought on that. Personally, I don't like to leave mine on the primary lees for that long, but I'm sure you'll probably be fine either way. If you decide to rack after 4 weeks, just throw some CO2 on top of it to keep it from sitting with O2 in the headspace. Let us know how it goes!

 
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:17 AM   #5
davemattb
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Jun 2012
flagstaff, az
Posts: 140
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Thanks for the advice. I think Ill rack at 3 weeks instead. I tried a Crispin green can tonight and I think I just prefer beer. Im kind of excited that this should be more like a wine. Ill report back as to how it turns out!

 
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:43 PM   #6
Pickled_Pepper
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Nov 2011
Atlanta, Georgia
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I've never found a macro cider that I liked either. JK Scrumpy isn't too bad. It's not your standard fizzy stuff. There are some really great small ciderworks stuff out there also. Are there apple orchards near you? Those would be the places to locate great cider.

 
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #7
davemattb
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Jun 2012
flagstaff, az
Posts: 140
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Sedona has some orchards, but the cider is super expensive! My future cider ventures kind of depend on if my wife or I enjoy this batch!

 
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:55 PM   #8
MarkKF
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Dec 2011
Meriden, CT
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I've always racked in 10-14 days. The secondary still ferments but I remove all the used fruit. It then sits in the secondary for many months before bottling.
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Mark F in Central CT
Amateur Cider Maker

 
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:20 AM   #9
davemattb
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Jun 2012
flagstaff, az
Posts: 140
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I racked this yesterday. Gravity was 1.000. Apple shreds tended to clog the auto siphon but it went ok and I was suprised how much I got in secondary. Wasnt sure what to expect taste wise, but I was pleasantly surprised. No strange off flavors and it still had its apple flavor. Not too boozey so Im excited to see what time brings. I will likely leave in secondary until july-august unless I need the carboy sooner. Thanks for the advice and guidance on my first cider.

 
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