Beginner - Here's what I've bought, any help and tips?

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JamesWoolford

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Hi all, first time starting out with cider, previously made wine but i've bought the following;

Cider Equipment Pack Contents;
1.PNG

  1. 25L Fermenting Vessel with Lid and hole and grommet for airlock for your primary fermentation.
  2. Airlock that fits into your fermenting vessel lid.
  3. Sanitiser Cleaner (also bought extra separate for future)
  4. Syphon Tube with pinch valve to control the flow
  5. Long Handled Spoon for mixing up your brew
  6. Cider Yeast x 2, each sachet can ferment up to 23 litres. (i bought a further 3 separate packets)
  7. Bottles x 10 clear 1 litre food grade bottles, designed for holding pressure which is essential with home brew.
  8. Bought separate yeast nutrients - as i heard this helps keep the yeast fresher and helps speed the process
  9. Home brew heating pad (As i plan on doing this in the garage and it'll be rather cold)
  10. Hydrometer to test strength (never done this before)
Only thing im missing now is the actual apples, which i cannot get a hold of fresh or have a press so will be buying juice, i've read aslong as its 100% from concentrate (no preserves etc) then it should be fine to use, and Aldi looks to be the cheapest, give or take a few pence.

I've seen a few videos on how to make it step by step, i ideally want to make very strong cider scrumpy as such - something around 7-10% i understand extra sugar makes it "stronger", what type of sugar is best? if anyone has any advice, do's and dont's etc i'd appreciate the help.

Thanks
 
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Dr_Jeff

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white table sugar works fine

brown sugar adds in the flavor associated with brown sugar

honey turns it into a cyser
 
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JamesWoolford

JamesWoolford

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white table sugar works fine

brown sugar adds in the flavor associated with brown sugar

honey turns it into a cyser
Cyser.. never heard of, just googled, very impressed!

I've also seen people add it a cup of plain tea (bag removed) for tannin? is this a must? Or is it just optional like the extra sugar step?

Thanks for the reply
 

Dr_Jeff

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I've made a lot of cider, and never added tea or even considered doing it.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Look here for a wealth of information

 
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JamesWoolford

JamesWoolford

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Look here for a wealth of information

Thanking you 😁😁
 

Chalkyt

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Best advice I can give is to spend $30 or so on each of Claude Jolicoeur's "The New Cider Maker's Handbook" and Andrew Lea's "Craft Cider Making". They are similar but different and will answer 90% of your questions.

Be aware that fermenting completely (down to SG 1.000 will use all the sugar and convert it into CO2 and alcohol, so the result will be a very dry (generally tart) cider. I would be inclined to make a one gallon (4 - 5 litres) first batch to see if you like the result. There are ways to leave some sweetness, including non fermentable sweeteners, some yeasts such as SO4 that finish above SG 1.000, and stopping fermentation by pasteurising above SG 1.000. A good way to deal with this is to read the books and ask questions on this forum.
 
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JamesWoolford

JamesWoolford

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Best advice I can give is to spend $30 or so on each of Claude Jolicoeur's "The New Cider Maker's Handbook" and Andrew Lea's "Craft Cider Making". They are similar but different and will answer 90% of your questions.

Be aware that fermenting completely (down to SG 1.000 will use all the sugar and convert it into CO2 and alcohol, so the result will be a very dry (generally tart) cider. I would be inclined to make a one gallon (4 - 5 litres) first batch to see if you like the result. There are ways to leave some sweetness, including non fermentable sweeteners, some yeasts such as SO4 that finish above SG 1.000, and stopping fermentation by pasteurising above SG 1.000. A good way to deal with this is to read the books and ask questions on this forum.
Till thanks this sort it makes sense sure one of the books will clear it up, thanks for the reply, will look now.
 

madscientist451

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An auto siphon is very useful, and costs about $10. I mix up star-san 2.5 gallons at a time and keep it on hand in a bucket. You can save your yeast slurry in a sanitized jar and re-pitch it into your next batch. I prefer using plastic carboys over buckets, I can see what is going on and the chance of air leaks is smaller. Yes, they are harder to clean and you'll need a carboy brush and some PBW or Oxiclean .
Get some glass gallon and half gallon jugs to rack your cider into after primary is finished. Use a hydrometer to check your gravity to see when its done. Let it age a while the flavors will develop and the cider will clear itself before you bottle it. Adding sulfites at racking is a good practice, but you don't have to.
How are you going to control the temperature of the home brew heating pad? Too much heat could cause some off flavors, I usually ferment my cider in the fall in my chilly basement where the temps are in the 50's.
If you want to use apples, you'll have to find a way to crush and then press the juice, check you tube videos for all kinds of cheap ways to crush and to make your own press using buckets and a car jack.
Lots of people make cider that suits their taste using cheap store bought juice, and I've tried it and it doesn't work for me. If I can't get decent apples I skip making the cider until I can. Check with local growers, a big orchard near me sells last fall's apples 'till the end of March.
 

Rick Stephens

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Unlike some others, I often use tea at the start to add some tannins. Also sometimes just use wine tannin powder to supplement instead. I always adjust the pH to where I want it by adding acids. At times I use a particular sugar, like agave, or brown, or corn sugar etc, to achieve some given flavor. Add other fruits, like blueberries or orange zest or key lime during primary or secondary. Most common for me is toss in Blueberry Pomegranate Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate just before bottling, and then pasteurize when I reach proper carbonation.

All these techniques were tried and used to add complexities to the end product. Plain ol' fermented apple juice is often pretty bland and flavorless. Majority of the information in books is addressed towards achieving different taste attributes. The actual process is insanely simple to just ferment apple juice. Finishing it properly, to your desires, is the trick and the art.
 
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