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Stana

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I've just tried my first ever batch of cider....I've pressed the apples from my garden and have 25 litres of juice in a fermentation bucket and have added a 5g sachet of cider yeast. The airlock is in place and after 24hrs everything is looking ok. The hydrometer reading was 1450 which I believe is ok but the juice is really dark and I've been advised that I should have added a campden tablet 24hrs before adding the yeast. Is there anything I can now do to reduce the colour or improve anything?
 

Johnny_M

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Campden is not necessary. It will kill wild yeast and bacteria, but the commercial yeast is usually so fast growing that it will take over the must on its own and protect it. Just watch out for any sicknesses. As for the color pectinacse can help with clarification, but I believe there are people on this forum who choose not to use it and instead wait for the cider clear over 3 months in a secondary fermentation vessel.
 

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When can I add pectinacse?
You should be able to add it now without much harm. I've pitched it at the same time as yeast before without any ill effects that I noticed. The only issue is that it likes to clump so it might be worth dissolving in sterile water prior to adding.
 

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When you say your cider is dark, what do you mean? Has it changed colors or is it just opaque from all the yeast? When I've done cider, it generally turned an opaque, brown-ish/yellow-ish color during fermentation, and would look normal again after clarification.
 
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Stana

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It looks dark at the moment and after reading that most people put Campden in first, I thought I'd done something wrong and was wondering if it could be rectified in the early stages
 

S-Met

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picture is worth 1000 words...

But
1. In the fermenter, it sometimes looks dark.
2. Oxidation of apple juice can make it darker (think about browning of your apple when you take a bite out and let it sit.)
 

SnowDogCider

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I do small batches of cider all of the time. I never use Campden tabs. Let it sit. If it’s working and your airlock is happy and it smells like fermenting cider, you’re good.
snap a pic and post the color.
Also what type of Apple?? Curious.
Jeff
 
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Stana

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Colour of the cider 10 days in....its 27 litres of pressed apple juice with a 5g sachet of cider yeast, nothing else
 

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CKuhns

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Looks perfectly normal to me. The color change is from the yeast and associated activity during an active ferment. It will clear some as your ferment slows / stops.
 
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Stana

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I do small batches of cider all of the time. I never use Campden tabs. Let it sit. If it’s working and your airlock is happy and it smells like fermenting cider, you’re good.
snap a pic and post the color.
Also what type of Apple?? Curious.
Jeff
Apple pictures added
 
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Stana

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2 weeks in and the fermenting has stopped..is this normal?
I had a little taste a few days ago and it was very sour but today it seems much better. What happens next, do I leave it or bottle it or add anything at this point to improve it. This is my first attempt so any help will be much appreciated
 

CKuhns

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What happens next, do I leave it or bottle it or add anything at this point to improve it.

Its up to you....
- If you want a clear cider:
You could clarify using any number of the clarifying agents on the market.
Cold crash n the fridge
Allow it to age and clarify on its own letting it sit for weeks or months.
- If you want it carbonated:
You could bottle it and add priming sugar (Check your gravity and if not at 1.000 or less let it go a bit)
- You could add fruit or spices
- You could add Tannens, Oak or tea.

OR and as its really your first attempt you could rack from the lees, and drink it as is and use it as a base case and experiment with your next one.
 
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Stana

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Its 27 litres so want it good if possible as dont want it wasted....
The gravity started at 1.045 and is now 1.000. I might just let it sit a bit longer or could I bottle some it as a trial?
What is the priming sugar you mention?
 

CKuhns

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You could certainly bottle as is. there will be some sediment if left for a while just be careful pouring it up.

If you want to try an experiment 27 litres is enough to split out say a few 5 litre batches and experiment a bit. Try a couple with some fruit and or spices to see what you might like. (1+ pounds of fruit per gallon freeze the fruit for 24 hours then just dump it in., wait 10 days and see how it taste's)

Priming sugar is used to add carbonation after bottled. Be sure to use bottles that can hold pressure.
See this article and calculator
 
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Stana

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Do I just dump the fruit in or blend it first?
 

CKuhns

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Just dump it in and rack from it. Be sure to punch the fruit cap every day to keep it moist so it doesn't dry out and no "nasties" grow on it.

Unless you have a sealed container with an airlock on it that has a wide enough opening. I would utilize a sanitized paint strainer bag or tied cheese cloth and a handful of those flat glass marbles to sink it. Makes for real easy clean up.
 
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