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sugscott

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i have got all the juice from my apples, now I was just wondering about fermenting.

Some people have said add sugar, others not, and some websites have said to test the PH and O.D.

how would I do that???? :)
 

Ecnerwal

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Step one - take this to the cider forum.

Homebrewtalk Cider Forum

Add sugar, or not: do you want a lower or higher alcohol content end result? Adding sugar basically just cranks up the drunk-o-meter - does not improve the taste, IMHO.

pH - buy pH test strips at drug store or brew shop. No real need, but you can.

O.D. - Perhaps you mean O.G., as in original gravity, a measure of the sugar content, more or less, and an indication (along with F.G. - final gravity) of the resultant alcohol content. Use a hydrometer to measure these.
 

Loweface

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Ecnerwal seems to have nailed it...

I's suggest that you measure the original gravity of the juice and figure out what the ABV would be without adding sugar. Then if you want to increase add enough sugar to hit a target ABV. Don't just add 1 lb or 1 kg or a half ton because a recipe calls for it. Add it beacuse the juice needs it for a target abv.

I myself wouldn't bother with pH. If the juice tastes nice as is, it will most likely lead to a nice cider. (That said pH is just one more item you can add to the control list if you want)
 
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sugscott

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Step one - take this to the cider forum.

Homebrewtalk Cider Forum

Add sugar, or not: do you want a lower or higher alcohol content end result? Adding sugar basically just cranks up the drunk-o-meter - does not improve the taste, IMHO.

pH - buy pH test strips at drug store or brew shop. No real need, but you can.

O.D. - Perhaps you mean O.G., as in original gravity, a measure of the sugar content, more or less, and an indication (along with F.G. - final gravity) of the resultant alcohol content. Use a hydrometer to measure these.
sorry for posting it there :(

I just really want nice tasting cider, so im not that fussed about the strength. But i will probs use sugar.

a hydrometer, right. Do they sell them on home brew? And what O.G is good?
sorry for all the questions

:eek:
 

Frost

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Depending on what kind of yeast you use it will ferment out at/below 1.000 most likely.You can then calculate the ABV from that. Personally I would shoot for around 7-8% ABV. Any good LHBS should carry a hydrometer, and you might want a cheap plastic test cylinder as well.
 

Tusch

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I personally would ferment it as straight juice, no sugar added. This is your first cider, you should see what true straight cider tastes like and go from there after this batch. Plus you are using juice straight from the apples, I think this is yet another reason to go for a simple cider.

By adding sugar and raising the OG, you are indeed raising the potential abv. However, with more abv, ciders tend to take on more (white)wine tastes and characters. While 7-8% isn't a lot, more sugar will create a dryer final product, though you shouldn't be expecting a sweet one anyways.
 
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sugscott

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thanks for all your advice, I think im just going to leave it without the sugar, and take it as ready when the bubbles stop. Not using the hydrometer on my first go.

I was also wondering how long I should leave it to ferment, because information has been very different. One guy said 4 months, the other said a year.

Any ideas?
 

ChshreCat

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I think everyone here will recommend you get a hydrometer right from the get go. Bubbles are fun to watch, but aren't an accurate gauge on when fermentation is done. Your bubbles could stop with more sugar left to ferment. Then when you bottle, you'll get the yeast stirred up, they finish the job and you end up with bottles exploding from the pressure.
 

Loweface

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Plus you are using juice straight from the apples, I think this is yet another reason to go for a simple cider.
I agree.

On the time scale thing. It will take a few months for the cider to melow out properly. You can drink it after about 4 months or so but it will improve right up past six months and onto a year...

You might aswell start two batches :D

Might I recommend you take a look at Edworts apfelwine. Make it from cheap apple juice and allow your special one (because its your juice) age properly while you drink it.
 

Tusch

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Buy a hyrdometer, DEFINITELY. I made the mistake of waiting till after my first few batches (all going at the same time) were done tos tart using one. I also lost 5 wine bottles worth out of my first two small test batches, because I bottled them before they were done.

It is the only way to be sure fermentation is complete. Besides, they are really cheap even if you have to have them shipped.
 
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sugscott

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hmmm
these hydrometers sound interesting too me
but surely if I just leave it for ages it will all ferment off
 

Yooper

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but surely if I just leave it for ages it will all ferment off
Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes a fermentation will get "stuck" at a higher SG than it should be, but looks and seems fine. Then, refermentation can begin in the bottle later. After it explodes, that's when most people become aware.

A hydrometer is less than $8. You can buy one, or not. It really is the only way to know for sure if the cider is finished fermenting.
 

Tusch

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That's exactly what happened to me Yooper, and on my first batch none the less! Thank god I didn't get discouraged, and more so thankfully I only bottled with corks on that batch.

Losing brew sucks
Possible serious injury sucks a whole lot worse.
 
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sugscott

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sounds like i probably should buy one then
at what like, numbers do i know if its done?
 

ChshreCat

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Depending on the yeast, a cider will ferment out to around 1.000. If you used a yeast with lower attenuation (eats up less sugar before the alcohol makes it poop out) then it'll be a little higher. If you use a yeast with high alcohol tolerance, then it can drop lower. The biggest thing is to get the same reading 3 times in a row with a few days between reading, then it's likely done. If it's still dropping, then give it time to finish up.
 

ChshreCat

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(someone else feel free to jump in if I'm a little off... I'm little more than an educated noob myself)
 

Yooper

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(someone else feel free to jump in if I'm a little off... I'm little more than an educated noob myself)
oh, no- you seem to be doing just fine! :mug:

Ciders will ferment as low as .990, depending on yeast strain. As chshreCat said, though, the key is that the gravity no longer changes, AND it's at an expected result. So, if it's at 1.020 for three days, it's not done, it might be stuck or at least going slow. But if it's at .998 and been there for a few weeks, you can bet that it's done.

Cider making is an art as much as a science, so it's always good to have the science part back you up!
 

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