Cidering undiluted FCAJ

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theinterneti

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I spent a good deal of time yesterday reading the entirety of pappy's epic recipe thread. I was left wondering how close Pappy's recipe was to undiluted FCAJ concentrate, sugar wise.

I spent some time this morning cranking out the numbers. It appears that pappy's recipe is roughly 36% sugar for an estimated potential ABV of ~21%. Pretty robust. Taking into account that the suggested yeast can withstand ~19% ABV the recipe leaves some sugars unfermented. I estimate that the final brew would be around 3.5% sugar.

Comparing to the FCAJ straight from the can. A whopping 44% sugar! Moderately higher than Pappy's suggestion. Potential ABV would be ~24%! Assuming we use the same highly tolerant strain of yeast. That would leave an estimated 9% sugar in the final mixture. This is still about 2.5% less sugar than apple juice would have. Too sweet?

Has anyone reading this tried fermenting straight FCAJ (using a highly alcohol tolerant yeast) without diluting it with water at all? Seems to me that this might be a sneaky way to get an incredibly appley (and powerful) cider. Of course I would also use extra yeast nutrient like pappy suggests deeper into the thread.
 
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theinterneti

theinterneti

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Empirical testing shows FAJC to be about 1.198 S.G. I know it pegs my 1.160 hydrometer. I doubt very much that any yeast will ferment that.
I was thinking about this, while working on my spreadsheet. I refined several calculations that I didn't realize were using rough estimates for conversion. Is it possible hygrometers may be thrown off by other dissolved solids? I have seen a number of people reporting initial SG and Brix readings that are far above what I get calculating from sugars listed on the label of treetop...

12 oz treetop (~340.1 grams of concentrate)
Sugar content 156 grams (from the label)

Scale those up to 1 gallon (multiply by 10.67 as 1 gallon is 10.67 12 oz treetop containers)

1 gallon of FCAJ is ~8 lbs and contains...
3.67 lbs sugar and 4.33 lbs of NOT sugar

Brix of 3.67 lbs of sugar in 1 gallon (3.67 / .125) = 29.35 Brix
SG of 29.35 Brix ((Brix / (258.6-(( Brix / 258.2)*227.1))) + 1) = SG 1.1261
Est ABV of 29.35 Brix starting solution = 17.3% Est ABV ( I used 3 different Brix -> ABV equations and averaged them)

I imagine this must be disgustingly sweet (or else everyone would be doing it) but I'm not sure where I'm messing this calculation up. I'd love to calculate with confidence how much sugar will max out the alcohol tolerance of various yeasts in a strongly sweetened juice base.
For example, how much sugar should I add to apple juice to max out nottingham and leave behind 3-6% residual sugars?

If anyone has fermented straight FCAJ, post here and tell me how disgustingly saccharine it was!

If I don't hear back maybe I will just start up a 1 gallon batch and see where it gets me? If it's gross I can either applejack it (a first for me) or I can water it down with lemonade (minus the sugar).
 

RPh_Guy

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The Old Orchard concentrate in which I measured 1.198 lists 29g carbs per 2 fl oz.

29g/59mL = 491g/L = SG 1.186 (Using this calc)

My measurement was 6% higher than calculated from the label, not really "far above" in my opinion.

How sweet it finishes depends on the OG of the must, and how much the yeast attenuate, which can be unpredictable.

If you want an exact final sweetness, the easiest way is to ferment dry, clear, stabilize, and back-sweeten.

Cheers
 

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Maylar

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I imagine this must be disgustingly sweet (or else everyone would be doing it) but I'm not sure where I'm messing this calculation up. I'd love to calculate with confidence how much sugar will max out the alcohol tolerance of various yeasts in a strongly sweetened juice base.
For example, how much sugar should I add to apple juice to max out nottingham and leave behind 3-6% residual sugars?

If I don't hear back maybe I will just start up a 1 gallon batch and see where it gets me? If it's gross I can either applejack it (a first for me) or I can water it down with lemonade (minus the sugar).
Like I said, FAJC out of the can pegs my 1.160 hydrometer. RPh_Guy measured a 50% solution and got 1.099, so his estimate of 1.198 seems correct. Nottingham and most other ale yeasts are capable of 14% ABV, so somewhere around 1.110 would theoretically leave some residual sweetness.

You'll never get straight concentrate to ferment - that much sugar would put yeast into osmotic shock.
 
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theinterneti

theinterneti

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Thanks for the replies,

I took the advice offered and didn't do 100% FCAJ. I used 6 tubes of old orchard. Doubled the yeast nutrient and hydrated that in boiling water which cooled fully before adding to the must. Topped off with AJ. EC-1118 yeast.

72 OZ FCAJ and 56 OZ Apple juice. I estimate 2 pounds of sugar from the FCAJ and 1/2 pound from juice. Looking at that with a few different formulas...

From .125 pounds of sugar / gallon = Brix
( PoundsSugar(2.5) / 0.125 ) / GallonsWater(1)
20.00 Brix, SG 1.0830, ABV(est) 10.89%

from SG = 1 + ( PoundsSugar(2.5) / .125 ) * .005
1 + ( 2.5 / 0.125 ) * 0.005
SG 1.1, ABV(est) 13.13%

From 299.5 g(sugar)/L on VinoCalc...
1134 g(sugar) / 3.785 L
26.88 Brix, SG 1.1143, ABV(est) 15.62%

Maybe a higher proportion of FCAJ would have been better for my EC-1118, this proportion would have been perfect for a 14% strain of yeast. Assuming g(sugar)/L is in the right ballpark anyway. I honestly have no idea which one these is most accurate.

@RPh_Guy I'm not looking for exact sweetness. Looking for the sugar to add to get right around the yeasts limit with a little extra. That 6% would matter when comparing raw dissolved solid measurements (hydrometer) with printed values of contained sugars. Hydrometer readings != SG calculations based on known sugar content (from the label).


Thanks again for trying to help, all!
 

RPh_Guy

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That 6% would matter
FDA allows the nutrition label to be off by as much as 20% in either direction.
I trust my hydrometer more than the label for this reason (which should now seem obviously the right thing to do).

I estimate 2 pounds of sugar from the FCAJ and 1/2 pound from juice.
Why are you "estimating" sugar content?
If you decide to trust the label instead of the hydrometer, why bother converting to s.g. since you aren't measuring density?

You can avoid all the hocus pocus by converting grams to moles fructose and then with moles ethanol produced use ABW to determine how much will ferment vs how much will remain.

ALSO don't forget apple juice contains variable amounts sorbitol, which does not ferment and is why dry cider can still taste plenty sweet.

....
For reliable results, use reliable method like a hydrometer and standard equations.
Otherwise good luck!

Hope this helps ;)
 
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theinterneti

theinterneti

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FDA allows the nutrition label to be off by as much as 20% in either direction.
I trust my hydrometer more than the label for this reason (which should now seem obviously the right thing to do).

Why are you "estimating" sugar content?
If you decide to trust the label instead of the hydrometer, why bother converting to s.g. since you aren't measuring density?

You can avoid all the hocus pocus by converting grams to moles fructose and then with moles ethanol produced use ABW to determine how much will ferment vs how much will remain.

ALSO don't forget apple juice contains variable amounts sorbitol, which does not ferment and is why dry cider can still taste plenty sweet.

....
For reliable results, use reliable method like a hydrometer and standard equations.
Otherwise good luck!

Hope this helps ;)
I had no idea there was that much of a range allowance on nutritional labels! But a slight bit of googling reveals you are correct about 20% range. Thank you for enlightening me.

I was calculating from sugars from the label, but I guess that WAS an estimate considering that those could be up to 20% off.

I was converting to SG because I had a formula to turn that into estimated ABV. I couldn't find a similar formula for % dissolved sugars. Thanks for the link to VinoCalc, the g/L from that is the closest thing I've found so far.

Interesting bit about the sorbitol. Googling "apple juice sorbitol" at least for me came up with a lot of articles about juice induced pooping. Hilarious. I found a chart of average sorbitol content for those who are sensitive. It suggests the average sorbitol in pears is about 4X that of apples, my perry was dry AF.

....
I just find the hydrometer fiddly to use. Having an issue with my 3 gal carboys too short to fill my wine thief enough to get a reading when the contents are nearly dry. I'd rather avoid any steps that involve moving around my must anyway. Really I'd like to type in how many pounds of sugar and how much water, to get a somewhat reliable result. I'm doing ginger ales and ciders and it would also be great if I could say how much juice I'm using.

I certainly appreciate the help.

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Beyond the reply,

My faux ice cider has started fermenting furiously! I had to clean out the airlock today because it had bubbled up so hard that starsan/must were coming out the dang top. Glad I had it wrapped in a towel because that would have been a big, sticky mess. Actually, just had to go clean it out a second time, yellow stuff in the airlock again. Looks like the foam is dying down quite a bit now though.
 

Maylar

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I use a sanitized turkey baster and plastic column to take gravity samples with, even from one gallon carboys. After the test the sample goes back in the fermentor. Gotta have a hydrometer. No other way to monitor the progress of a ferment.
 

RPh_Guy

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Just need to get used to using the hydrometer. It's not so bad.

I use a turkey baster only when I don't want to disturb the lees.
The rest of the time I just pour directly into the sample tube with the help of a funnel.
Your wine thief can work. Once it's full, draw it out some and then thrust it down quickly. This way it will fill higher than the liquid in the carboy. Try it with some water or sanitizer first, it's easy.

Good luck with your cider. Try to keep the temp down if you can.
 

MarkKF

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My wine thief has a large enough diameter to hold my hydrometer.

Hydrometer goes in the thief. Thief goes in the carboy. Draw it up and take a measurement. Then drain the thief back into the carboy.

For my bucket I just float the hydrometer.
 

MarkKF

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So if FACJ is roughly 1.200 and when mixed as directed 12 oz. FAJC + 36 oz. water is roughly 1.050 does that mean when mixed 12 oz. FACJ + 12 oz. water is roughly 1.100? So what is 12 oz. FAJC + 24 oz. water? 1.066 or 1.075?
 

RPh_Guy

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So what is 12 oz. FAJC + 24 oz. water?
200/3 = 67. ... 1.067

I wouldn't assume that all concentrate is the same or even that a particular concentrate is consistent. I'd strongly suggest measuring s.g. of the FAJC you have and using that for calculations.
 

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