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Crab apple cider stopped at 1.014? (Newbie)

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jcwacky

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I recently decided to try and make some cider with crab apples from a tree in my garden. I've never attempted anything like this before!
  • OG was 1.070
  • I've had 3 litres fermenting away (using "double snake cider yeast"), at approx 20ºC.
  • After 35 days the SG was 1.015
  • I left it another 14 days and it's now reading 1.014
So it seems to have ground to a halt, but I understand that 1.014 would usually be too high for bottling? So would it be dangerous to bottle it now?

If I shine a torch on it I can see a few tiny bubbles rising from the bottom, but no significant activity. Advice welcome!
 

gregbathurst

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It is too dangerous to bottle now, unless you will be drinking it all in a few weeks. if you want to bottle it sweet, rack now and wait a couple of months, if it is still stable it will be fine.
 

Maylar

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Can you measure the acidity (pH) ? Some crabs are very acidic and if the pH got too low that could explain why the ferment quit early.
 
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jcwacky

jcwacky

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if you want to bottle it sweet, rack now and wait a couple of months, if it is still stable it will be fine.
As it's my first attempt, I was hoping to keep it simple and just bottle without racking so I don't have a 2nd fermentation vessel, but as bottling now doesn't sound like a good idea, would I be ok to syphon into a (sterilised) intermediary container, then dump the lees and pour it back into my fermenting jar? Worth adding a Campden tablet if I do this?

Can you measure the acidity (pH) ? Some crabs are very acidic and if the pH got too low that could explain why the ferment quit early.
Ah, thanks, good theory, yes I can do that. The pH was about 3.0 to start with, I'll see what it is now.
 

gregbathurst

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The racking is to remove nutrients so the yeast won't start again, as per jolicoeur. It is fine to rack to a bucket or something then back into the fermenter. You will need to top up the fermenter to minimise headspace, water should be fine for that, a campden tablet would be wise.
 

Sebass

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What yeast did you use?

Your fermentation was probably done at 14 days.

You've arrived at perfect condition! Your cider should be sweet now and @7.35% abv which btw IMO would be perfect abv.

It's not dangerous at all if you do this below. Just bottle it. Put bottles in cooler. Pour 82C water into cooler or pot covering all bottle liquid. In pot bottles may explode due to metal contact with glass. Closer cooler for 20 min. Yeast is dead in 20m and you have sweet cider.

You have no problem. No need to do anything more.
 
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wasully

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I would definitely pasteurize or chemically stabilize if bottling at 1.014.

But 82c for 20 minutes is way overkill. I don't know if I'd pour water that's probably 60c/140f degrees different than ambient on glass either. 149f/65c for 10 minutes is the usual recommendation. But WSU did some interesting preliminary research showing that's overkill as well.
 
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jcwacky

jcwacky

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So I went ahead and bottled it at the end of November. Was pretty happy with it considering it was my first attempt and had only used crab apples!
IMG_0605.jpeg

I fully intended to pasteurise it using @Sebass and @wasully's method, but just never got around to it! The full bottles have been stored in my garage at approx 5 to 10ºC. Today I decided to carefully open the metal clasp from the swing tops of a couple of bottles, and the lids didn't even pop off or unseal despite no longer being held down by the clasp, so I presume they're safe without needing to pasteurise?
 

dmtaylor

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Sorry I didn't see this thread until now. Had I seen this back in November, I would have said "it's done, bottle it, no need to stabilize." Looks like that's what you did. You're good to go. Enjoy it!
 

Chalkyt

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FYI, swing top bottles "accidently" have a built in safety feature. The seals can (but don't always) start leaking at above 70 psi pressure which is around 5 volumes of CO2 (a bit like champagne). This makes them a bit problematic for heat pasteurising as the pressure can get to over 100psi during the heating process. Jolicoeur refers to this in his chapter on Cider Diversity... "as these will let excess pressure exit and thus avoid burting". A post by Beaudoin (9 April2013) also quotes Grolsch as acknowledging their seals may leak at 70-80psi.

This may explain why your seals didn't pop off as expected.
 
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