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Cheatin cider...

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seven77

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I had an extra packet of Ale yeast, and nothing to ferment with it.... so I went and bought 6 gallons of apple juice and mixed 'em all together. I'm hoping to come out with a drink like Hornsby's or Strong Bow... but it smells too yeasty right now.

But anyhow... is this a cheating way of making cider? or is there more to it than just apple juice? I'm just curious... seems like a waste of time to mash a bunch of apples when you can go the the store and buy a bunch of apple juice for under $10.
 

rightwingnut

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I'm not sure, but I think the difference between apple juice and cider has to do with the juice being filtered...maybe pasteurized...I dunno, but there is a difference. Now, if you bought 6 gallons of cider, that'd be different, but you want natural, unpasteurized. Again....I'm not sure.
 

OSUmoney83

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rightwingnut said:
I'm not sure, but I think the difference between apple juice and cider has to do with the juice being filtered...maybe pasteurized...I dunno, but there is a difference. Now, if you bought 6 gallons of cider, that'd be different, but you want natural, unpasteurized. Again....I'm not sure.
Yea I think I've heard the same thing, organic unpasteurized cider is the way to go. I would guess that if you start with a couple cartons of apple juice from the store, you'll end up with something like those EZ caps would make to drink, as someone has suggested on another thread.
 

Arizona Dave

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OSUmoney83 said:
Yea I think I've heard the same thing, organic unpasteurized cider is the way to go. I would guess that if you start with a couple cartons of apple juice from the store, you'll end up with something like those EZ caps would make to drink, as someone has suggested on another thread.
In the US, apple juice and apple cider are interchangable with regard to package labeling. Unfermented juice from apples will have different labels (Juice/cider) from different manufacturers in different parts of the country.

The use of pasteurized juice/cider from the store can produce an excellent hard cider. Martinelli's pasteurized apple juice with no preservatives makes an excellent hard cider. This is a product of California (Watsonville, on Monterey Bay). I have also used other store bought cider/juice to make good hard cider. the only thing to remember is that NO PRESERVATIVES can be added. The added preservatives can stop the yeast added from multiplying and making alcohol.

Using unpasteurized apple juice is also great. just remember that the natural yeast present on the apple may cause some unintended flavors in the fermented hard cider. The other option is to let the natural yeast take its course. This can be problematic, in that the natural yeast is slower to start (it has to reproduce a lot more) and leaves time for bacterial infection of the sweet juice. Many home cider makers (as well as wine makers) use camdem tablets to stop the natural (wild) yeast prior to pitching a pure strain of commercial yeast. I have used White Labs WLP 775 English cider yeast with excellent results.

Dave
 

Janx

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What he said...no preservatives is key. Also, see other threads in this very forum discussing making hard cider out of nothing but apples and yeast. I'd use a stronger yeast than ale yeast, but hey...
 
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seven77

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LOL, I think my cheatin' cider batch might be botched. It smells like a sulphur fart coming out of the airlock. And its fermenting so fast, my whole kitchen smells like a nasty fart. I had to open all the windows to clear that smell out of there, now my place is a chilly 55°. I'll let her finish fermenting and see how it tastes.
 

NUCC98

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seven77 said:
LOL, I think my cheatin' cider batch might be botched. It smells like a sulphur fart coming out of the airlock. And its fermenting so fast, my whole kitchen smells like a nasty fart. I had to open all the windows to clear that smell out of there, now my place is a chilly 55°. I'll let her finish fermenting and see how it tastes.
Blame the dog........lol!!!
 

Arizona Dave

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seven77 said:
LOL, I think my cheatin' cider batch might be botched. It smells like a sulphur fart coming out of the airlock. And its fermenting so fast, my whole kitchen smells like a nasty fart. I had to open all the windows to clear that smell out of there, now my place is a chilly 55°. I'll let her finish fermenting and see how it tastes.
The sulfer smell is normal for cider when using most wine yeasts. The lower temperatures are ok, but try to keep the temperature constant for best results.
If you can, take a specific gravity reading to see how far your cider has fermented. If it is around 1.010 you are ready to move (rack) the cider to a secondary fermentor. This will help the cider clear.

Keep the list informed as to how the cider is doing!

Dave
 
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seven77

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Arizona Dave said:
Keep the list informed as to how the cider is doing!

OK, will do.

I did have another question though. It's about how much priming sugar to use. Normally, when brewing beer, the recipe called for between 4 - 4.5 ounces of corn sugar. Every recipe I've used was for 5 gallons though, and my cheatin' cider batch is 6 gallons. Would I use the same ratio? I was going to use 5 2/5 oz of corn sugar, as that's the same ratio as 4.5 oz in 5 gallons.

Overall, I want it highly carbonated... like a soda pop... yet not have any exploded bottles.
 

Arizona Dave

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I too brew in 6 Gal batches (Beer, Cider and Mead). The same ratio holds true. For your priming sugar, I would use a little more in the range of 5.0 to 5.3 ounces. To have really sparkling cider, try using 5.75 oz of corn sugar. For easy priming, I normally will disolve the sugar in some apple juice (a pint or less), bring it to a boil and then pitch into my bottling bucket. Be sure to mix well, as the specific gravity difference will have the sugar sitting on the bottom if you don't stir it up well.
 
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seven77

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Ok, thanks, AZ Dave. Just a small update. I racked the cheatin' cider to a secondary today, and took a small sample for a hydrometer reading.

First of all, they hydrometer read 1.000 @ about 70°F.... erm... so does that mean it's finished fermenting? There's still bubbles in the airlock, but the brew is silghtly carbonated (it wasn't under pressure, it's just slightly carbonated from fermenting), and it fizzed as I siphoned it into the secondary. So I think the bubbles are just dissolved CO2 getting released.

Secondly, it tastes really good. It's nice and dry. But I've had 2 beers and and after I drank my small sample (perhaps 5fl oz) I got a little buzz going. So I'm going to say it's really high in alc. content. Which makes me happy :p. It has a slight, but not overwhelming yeast flavor to it. It doesn't bother me that much but it might bother some of my tasteless friends, so I kinda hope it'll settle out after a while.

Anyhow, I'm kinda suprised at how it's turning out for being as easy as it was. I was expecting to taste like pure sulphur the way it smelled while it was fermenting. If this works out it may become a monthly tradition for me.
 

Arizona Dave

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A hydrometer reading of 1.000 at 70°F will correct to an actual SG of about 1.001 for a hydrometer calibrated at 60°F (most hydrometers are calibrated at 60°F).

A SG of 1.001 does not mean that fermentation is complete. Cider, because it is basicly fructose, with almost no unfermentables can reach final gravities in the 0.990 range. This makes for a very dry cider.

Since you racked to the secondary, the cider should be starting to clear. I would let it sit for a week and check the gravity again. The "fizzing bubbles" that you had from the racking were disolved CO2. This is very normal. After the disolved CO2 has disipated, the airlock should stop bubbling and your cider will start to clear.

The alcohol content is in the area of 7% ABV based on a starting gravity of 1.055 (high side for apple juice, no added sugar). This is about 2% stronger than most commercial common ciders (Hornsby, etc.) The slight yeast flavor should disipate with the "rest" in the secondary as the residual yeast falls out of suspension. Letting the yeast floculate normally is the best method in my opinion. If needed, there are other methods (filter/additives) that can rapidly clear the cider.

If you take your time, Relax, drink a homebrew and let the cider take its time, I think you will have a tradition in the making.

Dave
 
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seven77

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erm... I bottled that fermented apple juice last monday. I just opened one now, and there is very little carbonation, pretty much un-noticable. I primed with 5.5oz of corn sugar. It was my understanding that it should be carbonated in about a week. I know I'm jumping the gun a little here, but I was expecting a little more sparkle by now. It's been 4 days. Will it actually take a full 7 days before it becomes fully carbonated? Is it possible the alc content is too strong for the ale yeast I used? Or is it possible I let too much yeast settle out of the brew so there isn't enough to carbonate?

It still tastes good, in fact it's tasting better now than it did last monday when I tried a sample. I was just hoping for a strongly carbonated drink, is all.

Oh, another question about cider. Is it necessary to keep it in the dark? I thought we kept beer in the dark because of the hops, but the cider doesn't have any hops... so I wasn't worried about it being in the light so much. In fact, all 6 gallons is sittin in the bottles in the middle of my kitchen floor... as I've been too lazy to move them to a dark place.
 

NUCC98

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seven77 said:
erm... I bottled that fermented apple juice last monday. I just opened one now, and there is very little carbonation, pretty much un-noticable. I primed with 5.5oz of corn sugar. It was my understanding that it should be carbonated in about a week. I know I'm jumping the gun a little here, but I was expecting a little more sparkle by now. It's been 4 days. Will it actually take a full 7 days before it becomes fully carbonated? Is it possible the alc content is too strong for the ale yeast I used? Or is it possible I let too much yeast settle out of the brew so there isn't enough to carbonate?

It still tastes good, in fact it's tasting better now than it did last monday when I tried a sample. I was just hoping for a strongly carbonated drink, is all.

Oh, another question about cider. Is it necessary to keep it in the dark? I thought we kept beer in the dark because of the hops, but the cider doesn't have any hops... so I wasn't worried about it being in the light so much. In fact, all 6 gallons is sittin in the bottles in the middle of my kitchen floor... as I've been too lazy to move them to a dark place.
Sometimes it can take a full 2 weeks to get a good carbonation.....
 
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seven77

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Oh, btw. That cheatin cider never did carbonate. It's ok... I forgot to post about it for a while because I've been getting drunk off it till it ran out a few days ago.

One of my friends liked it too. I was telling him about the different types of yeasts, and said that a champaign yeast would probably be better for carbonation... so he went and bought 20 packets of champaign yeast :D

This will definatly become a tradition for me..... too bad I don't live in "apple country" or I might start mashing my own apples.
 

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seven77 said:
I forgot to post about it for a while because I've been getting drunk off it till it ran out a few days ago.

That had me snickering like a fool. I just started my first batch of hard cider last week, and was enjoying reading your account. I'm very glad to hear that it turned out pretty tasty regardless of carbonation. That gives me high hopes for my batch. I don't care so much about the fizz, so that's even better.

My recipe was a thing called "Thor's Hammer" and involved five pounds of brown sugar along with the apple juice. I'm hoping for something that demands a little respect as well.

Thanks for sharing your progress with us.
 

thorgrimnr

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seven77 said:
erm... I bottled that fermented apple juice last monday. I just opened one now, and there is very little carbonation, pretty much un-noticable. I primed with 5.5oz of corn sugar. It was my understanding that it should be carbonated in about a week. I know I'm jumping the gun a little here, but I was expecting a little more sparkle by now. It's been 4 days. Will it actually take a full 7 days before it becomes fully carbonated?

My primed cider bottles will usually take about two weeks to become rock hard with carbonation sitting at a temperature of about 22 C or 73 F

Nice and sparkling I tell thee!!
 

mrzud

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The great thing about cider is that if it turns out not so carbonated, just call it dry cider
 

Scanderson

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SassyInkPen said:
My recipe was a thing called "Thor's Hammer" and involved five pounds of brown sugar along with the apple juice. I'm hoping for something that demands a little respect as well.
For those of us that appreciate the "respect" aspect Sassy, you might want to forego the brown sugar in the future, and consider some other sugars in the place that will give you as good, or better flavor after ferment....

Brown Sugar is basically processed white sugar dyed with molasses. You can get some very nice fermentation flavors from using some more international sugars such as Muscavado, Demerara and Piloncillo. I'm planning on using 2 pounds each of those 3 in my 5 gallons of freshly pressed cider.

Pilancillo can be found in Mexican stores, and Demerara and Piloncillo gourmet cooking shops, or even some supermarkets.

Anyway, I've been looking at the sugars that I use, and how they ferment.... Some are surprisingly slow, while others are gobbled up.

Just something a bit off topic, but that I found interesting :)

Steven
 

Chriso

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Y'all should be getting emails later today. I've been busy doing some spring cleaning, we have a guest coming sometime this week, and needed to get the "still moving in" crap from 8 months ago truly moved "in".
 

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I've done this before, but on an old beer yeast cake. It turned out really tasty and even had a bit of a hop character to it. I was a tad dry for my tastes, but I was pleasantly surprised at it being as good as it was. Cheers!
 
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