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Old 12-05-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
CavemanDom
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Dec 2013
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Home brewing is about experimentation right?

Good, glad you're coming with me. I have a series of ciders in progress. Very basic. In hindsight, perhaps too basic. Here's what's up so far.

Bare bones cider 1:
1gal McCutcheons unfiltered apple juice.
1packet red star champagne yeast
Did I mention the bare bones nature?

This juice is sold in gallon glass jugs. I poured off approx 6 oz for a hydrometer reading at an OG of 1.044 at room temp. Dumped in the whole yeast pack. LHBS said over pitching wouldn't be a big deal, and I didn't feel like trying to save a portion of it.

Stuffed in the airlock and moved it down to the old band rehearsal space (aka spare bedroom that didn't seem to be fully thought out by previous owners). This room does get a lot of sun an I have blinds closed in the window, but I put the new 1g carboy in a paper grocery bag to keep the photons at bay. My other choice would be the laundry room, but the cat boxes already live there. Sure enough, activity started in about 12 hours. Fermented for 7 days until noticeable activity stopped, and I had time to check. Cold crashed in fridge for 60ish hours.

This morning, 12/5/13 I bottled. Used 1 PET bottle leftover from the first beer brew, gave it a little squeeze before capping. The rest was bottled in woodchuck cider 12oz bottles I had been saving. A heavy splash went into the tasting cup :-). It's dry. The hydro said 1.001 at 40*. So if I read the chart right, 5% abv. But as some of you more experienced cider makers are already saying "I bet it tastes terribly plain" It does! But as I said, bare bones experiment.

I also retained the yeast cake , with about 1/2" of cider on top of it. I dumped 3 packs of table sugar in there to keep the little ones happy until I dump experiment 4 on top of them. Or make up a gallon of Pappy's.

I put BBC2 and 3 in for cold crash along with the bottled #1.

BBC2:
1 gal McCutcheons unfiltered apple juice
1 red star premier cuvée
OG 1.044
Currently chilling in carboy2

BBC3:
1 gal McCutcheons...
1 red star cotes des blanc
OG 1.044 (hooray for consistent!)
Currently chilling in Carboy3

Will probably retain yeast cakes for subsequent experiments.

Comments questions and concerns are all appreciated.
Thanks!

 
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
Misplaced_Canuck
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Most wine yeasts will bring the cider down to bone dry. I'd try using a beer yeast instead. I've had good luck with Wyeast #1028 and some back-sweetening. Have a look here.

MC
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:24 PM   #3
CavemanDom
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Next group of 3 will probably involve a beer yeast. I am going to stick with dry yeasts on account of the gluten free. My wife has celiac, I have become rather sensitive to it, so that's that.

I understand a lot of cider makers seem to like Nottingham, so that will be one of them... And in the spirit of experimentation, I had a post-it that simply says "T-58" that's a sign right?

And if I stick to this brand of juice, I'll have more 1gal jugs to try out silly ideas. And eventually too many (too many?) to keep full, or fit in fridge.

LHBS is an hour drive one way for me so I have to go there with a list and knock out as much as I can. They mail order, but I like actually going in. Plus if I were to get anything of a higher capacity, or bottles, the shipping is a bit cost prohibitive. Probably going to make round 2 happen later next week.

Now taking suggestions for shopping list. :-)

 
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
Bittersharp
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Drop your fermentation temperature to 50º-52º and ferment for 2 months instead of 1 week and you will get a lot more flavor out of your cider. I know this is counterintuitive to making beer but the aromatics are much more subtle.

 
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:00 PM   #5
CavemanDom
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I'll do what I can, temperature-wise. The room itself is typically around 60* I closed the heating register and keep the door closed to keep cats out. But I don't have a specific fridge for fermenting. Yet...

I also forgot to grab strip thermometers at LHBS, and didn't feel like paying $2 more at pet store each. So I don't know for certain what the last ferment temp was.

 
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:40 AM   #6
CavemanDom
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Darn my eagerness...
Took detour to work, stopped by LHBS and got stuff for next batch.

And made a mess, but that has never stopped me before. Started with a gallon of the McCutcheon's unfiltered apple juice (sold in glass gallon jugs) Poured off what I guessed to be enough space for a pound of light brown sugar.

The process I used to get the sugar in the bottle was my first mistake. I poured a 20oz glass of juice out, loaded the funnel up with brown sugar, and slowly washed it back in with the 20oz in the glass. I didn't leave enough room for the sugar, it overflowed, made a sticky mess on the counter. I poured back into the glass enough to make room for some ginger syrup I saw at the grocery store. Got a 1.124 OG, pitched T-58 yeast.

And the leftover juice? I dumped on top of the cotes de blancs yeast cake from last week, if for no other reason than to see what happens.

As always, suggestions or questions are appreciated.

 
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:34 AM   #7
CavemanDom
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Perhaps this is more for "drunken ramblings" but I am drinking some of the cote des blancs simple cider, and it occurred to me, why not back sweeten on the fly?

I have more juice, dumped the cider into my large glass, topped it off with regular juice. Makes a world of difference.

Cheers!

 
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:37 AM   #8
HAREEBROWNBEEST
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Try backsweeting with some AJC. 100% natural of course. Try 1 can to 1 gallon ratio perhaps. Thats my method. Ive wanted to try agave syrup in a cider before (in place of honey or brown sugar) maybe give that a go?

 
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:14 PM   #9
CavemanDom
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Makes perfect sense to use AJC or sugar, but the fresh juice was already sitting there staring at me. Perhaps next time when I have better cognitive function I will do that.

Thanks!

 
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Old 12-27-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
HAREEBROWNBEEST
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By all means! I love experimenting with ciders.

 
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