I couldn't wait another week, day, hour, or minute. I had to sample of the current batch. I had about 10 oz overflow from the most recent batch I started. This was 7 days old, and the result of 1 lb of dark brown on top of a gallon of Motts, with Nottingham.
I wanted there to be some sweetness, but I may have gotten a bit more than I bargained for.
It was very sweet (why not, there was still a pound of brown sugar that hadn't fermented). It did have a distinct cider flavor (good). I couldn't smell anything but apple, but my wife said all she could smell was the alcohol. I figure it was about 3-4%.
Overall, not bad. I will stay out of the main batch for another couple of weeks, and I will try samples from previous batches, if I have to.
On a side note, I have a silly, "duh" moment.
When I first got started, I bought two gallons of orchard-fresh, non-pastuerized cider, from one of the Virginia orchards.
The idea was to use these for my first experiments in cider, going the natural yeasts path. I would up using one for a warm (room temp) experiment with added sugar and added yeast (I know, the whole idea was to go wild), and leaving one in the fridge for long term, slooow fermentation. The nice lady at the LHBS said her husband did his this way, from the same company's stock, leaving it for about a year.
I figured I would just check it every so often and watch for signs of fermentation progressing, and relieve the built up CO2 from time to time. I even had an idea to make it fool-proof (about now is when the American's Silliest Home Brew Ideas music starts). The gallon left in the fridge had a noticable "dent" in the shoulder, which would "puff" out when it built up suitable CO2. I took a picture (bad, camera picture) just for reference. Fuzzy, poorly taken cameraphone picture of a gallon of cider.
I figured that it wasn't fermenting at all, as I hadn't seen any change for the first few weeks. I seriously thought of bringing it out to room temp for a while to get things 'happening".
We checked it last night (approx 6 weeks in) and found that the fermentation had indeed started, and the dent had indeed puffed out, and the bottle was now leaning over in a passable imitation of the Tower of Piza. The plastic was taking a beach ball shape, and if I hadn't caught it, I expect it would have finished its transformation and rolled onto its side, or it would have exploded. My wife is patient, but I think that would have stretched her patience pretty well.
I also took an "after" picture of the gallon of non-pasturized apple cider, after I let some pressure off. No cider was lost. I just loosened the cap to relieve pressure, and this is the result... note the cider level. There was no change in the internal volume of cider, just a change in the size of the container. Loosened it, added a low-tech airlock, and back in the fridge. I'll check it again this w/e.
BETTER cameraphone picture of a gallon of cider, post pressure.
On a side, side note, I showed my wife the picture I had uploaded, and she said "They have the same towel holder that we do!"