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Old 12-06-2008, 11:57 PM   #1
UpstateBrewer
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I just started 2, 5 gal. batches on this past Monday. This is my first attempt at making cider so I asked a few people about what I should do. The general consensus was to add between 6 and 7 lbs. of sugar to each 5 gallon batch. I've been reading on here and it seems most people are using around 2 lbs./5 gal. What's gunna happen? Is it just going to have to percolate for a while?

I was thinking about 6-8 weeks in primary and probably another 2-3 months in secondary. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:01 AM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!
You are going to end up with some really dry cider. I suspect it is going to taste like rocket fuel for a year or so because of the very high alcohol content. What was your starting gravity and what kind of yeast did you use?
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:01 AM   #3
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It really depends on how much natural sugar is in the cider. If you didn't take any specific gravity readings, then it's a bit of a guessing game. You may find that your cider is more like wine. That's not a bad thing, I actually purposely make wine out of apple cider- but it may not be exactly what you were hoping for. It'll still be a nice drink! Apple wine is tasty, too.

I like to take an SG reading and keep the ABV of a cider around 6%. My wines are usually around 12-13% ABV.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:03 AM   #4
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Thats going to give you 14-15% ABV based on the cider itself being 1.050. Did you take a SG reading at the start. Its going to take about a year to mature enough that its not a massive alcohol bite when you drink it. At this point you have a wine not a hard cider.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapaglia View Post
Thats going to give you 14-15% ABV based on the cider itself being 1.050. Did you take a SG reading at the start. Its going to take about a year to mature enough that its not a massive alcohol bite when you drink it. At this point you have a wine not a hard cider.
Gravity and SG, boy oh boy, I've got some reading to do. I wish I had found this site earlier!!! Don't know either of them.

Take a year to mature....Does that mean after primary and racking I should let it sit in secondary for 10-12 months, and just forget about 'till then?

 
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:17 AM   #6
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You can certainly taste it any time during the process but generally anything that "big" should aged in the secondary. Putting it in a dark closet and forgetting it for a while is a good idea. You may have to end up racking it again if you get a lot of lees (gunk) in the secondary.

We have lots of recipes that are a little smaller and can be consumed a little faster than yours.

Read up and buy a hydrometer. It will tell you how much sugars are in your cider at the start and later how much sugar has been turned to alcohol. They cost about $10 so it's not a huge purchase.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpstateBrewer View Post
Gravity and SG, boy oh boy, I've got some reading to do. I wish I had found this site earlier!!! Don't know either of them.

Take a year to mature....Does that mean after primary and racking I should let it sit in secondary for 10-12 months, and just forget about 'till then?
Well, gravity = SG, so it's only one thing to learn. I'll find a link for you to read on Sg and hydrometers. It's not hard, but it's important to learn how to use a hydrometer. That will keep you from making rocket fuel, or, worse, low alcohol cider.

I found this link: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/hydrom.asp
It's geared to winemakers (with the higher Sg readings recommended) but it's a great read on SG and hydrometers and the why and when behind it.

You can do a primary, then rack to secondary and wait. I rack again whenever I have lees (sediment of spent yeast and proteins from the cider) 1/4 inch thick. If you started with clear cider, you may not have to rack again until you go to bottle. Keep an eye on the airlock, and keep it filled. Water evaporates over time. Cover the carboy with a towel or blanket to protect it from light, and then forget about it for about 10-12 months.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:25 AM   #8
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Yeah, I have both carboys in a rarely used closet. I put some vodka in the air locks, I'll keep an eye to make sure it doesn't evap. though.

I was thinking about keeping one of the batches @ 5 gallons and breaking the other into 5 smaller batches and trying a few different things with them.

 
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:30 AM   #9
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I've done several small batches of experimental ciders. My favorite is cider that has no added sugar so I would encourage you to try one like that too.

But for the sake of experimentation; brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and spices are all fun to try too. I haven't tried on with real maple syrup but one of these days I'll get that one done too.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:20 AM   #10
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To add to Nurmey's comments, I strongly suggest going with a no sugar added batch. That is what cider really is. But that will also be quite dry, so either adapte your taste buds, or learn about backsweetening.

Also, on top of other sugars and spices, you can try fruit additions as well. I started one batch as a blueberry cider, and it definitely turned into a fantastic blueberry/apple wine.
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