A few newbie Cider "brewing" questions

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

PSUinDC

Active Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
42
Reaction score
1
Location
Annandale
I have searched through this forum, and checked out the stickies, and still want a little bit of clarification on stuff before I start making my first cider. (I want to make a cider soon, as I was just diagnosed with some sort of gluten intolerance, and cannot have beer).

For the sake of these questions, here is a quick synopsis of my setup:
- 6.5gal glass carboys
- 2 5gal corny kegs
- kegerator

1) What is the general consensus of having to "kill" the fermentation process? Is this even required if I let the yeast fully ferment to 1.000? I'm not 100% interested in letting cider sit in a secondary for 6+ months, so maybe I'll have to keg before it fully ferments? If so, can I just rack to a corny keg and put it in the fridge? I don't want to mess with "campden tablets", as I hear that they put a bad taste in there that doesn't go away for awhile.

2) Are pre-fermentation campden tablets required for apple juice that is already pasteurized? or is it only for raw stuff, like straight-from-the-orchard juice/cider? I can't seem to find concise info on this.

3) Why is it that I read so many differences in fermentation times? Is it that some people like to bottle before it fully ferments, or is it that different yeasts work faster? For my first cider, I want to have a slightly quicker brew-to-drink time.

Thanks for any replies!
 

Calder

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
8,544
Reaction score
1,034
Location
Ohio
1) Let it fully ferment out and you have a dry cider. No need to add anything (except yeast). Adding extra sugar makes it take longer to be decent to drink. It should fully ferment in a couple of weeks. You could easily be drinking in a month, but try leaving it at least a few months.

2) Pasturized does not need campden. Just make sure it has no preservatives (ascorbic acid is OK).

3) Straight juice should fully ferment out in a couple of weeks. I think juice, or juice and sugar, lacks nutrients so the yeast work a little slower than in beer worts.
 
OP
PSUinDC

PSUinDC

Active Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
42
Reaction score
1
Location
Annandale
1) Let it fully ferment out and you have a dry cider. No need to add anything (except yeast). Adding extra sugar makes it take longer to be decent to drink. It should fully ferment in a couple of weeks. You could easily be drinking in a month, but try leaving it at least a few months.

2) Pasturized does not need campden. Just make sure it has no preservatives (ascorbic acid is OK).

3) Straight juice should fully ferment out in a couple of weeks. I think juice, or juice and sugar, lacks nutrients so the yeast work a little slower than in beer worts.
Thanks for the concise answers. A lot of the recipes I see call for 5 gallons of juice and 2lbs of sugar (this will yield higher ABV obviously). So, are the people that claim to be fermenting for 6 months, using an obscene amount of sugar? I was thinking of adding 1-2lbs of brown sugar for flavor and extra abv.
 

Calder

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
8,544
Reaction score
1,034
Location
Ohio
Cider improves over time. It will taste better after 6 months as opposed to 2 months. All they are doing is aging it.

If you want to rush cider, don't add any extra sugar. It will taste better (earlier) if you do not add sugar, but it will still get better if you leave it longer.

Juice is typically somewhere between 1.045 and 1.050. With no added sugar this will give you a dry cider of around 6 to 6.5%.

For a 'quick' cider (even 3 months), start with a clear juice as opposed to a cloudy one. It will clear quicker.
 
OP
PSUinDC

PSUinDC

Active Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
42
Reaction score
1
Location
Annandale
Maybe I'll make 2 batches. 1 with extra sugar, 1 without. I do have room for 2 cornies in the kegerator.

I've also gotten the suggestion of not adding any spicing directly to the fermentor as a newbie, but rather make a "tea" out of any spices I intended to use, and add the tea "to taste" to the keg when you're done.

What do you think of this practice?
 
Top