Easy Stove-Top Pasteurizing - With Pics

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Pappers_

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I've received a few messages asking for more info on the stove top pasteurizing method that I've adopted, so thought I would put up this quick tutorial with pics.

I began using this process to solve the problem of how to do a sparkling semi-dry (not bone dry) bottle conditioned cider. As you will see from other threads, this is a problem that perplexes many, and this process offers a solution that is simple and natural (no additions or chemicals needed). And the result is delicious.

So, you've made your cider (I keep it simple with juice, ale yeast and pectic enzyme) and have it in the carboy. When fermentation slows down, I start taking gravity readings and tastings. When its at the right level of sweetness/dryness (for me, that's about 1.010- 1.014), rack to bottling bucket with priming solution and bottle. Let the bottles carbonate and condition until the carbonation level is right - for me, that is usually about 1 week but for others it could be sooner. Start opening a bottle every two days or so, until you find that carbonation is at the right level. Warning - if the carbonation level is too high, if you have gushing bottles for example, do not pasteurize, the pressure will be too much for your bottles. Ok, now, we're ready for the point of this thread - pasteurizing.

Why pasteurize? Because at this point, you have a bottle of sparkling cider, with some residual fruit sugar left and yeast that is still working. If you just leave it be, you will likely end up with shrapnel rather than delicious sparkling cider. By gently heating the bottles, you will finish-off our yeast friends - they've done their job, they've performed admirably, but its time to say goodbye. Rather then pasteurize, you could cold-crash, but I don't have the refrigerator space for that and also can't give bottles away to other people using that method. I've found that the sparkling cider is very popular with my friends (and swmbo) and pretty much need to keep a constant pipeline of it going. The good news is its remarkably simple to make and takes much less time than brewing.

So, I start with about two cases of bottle conditioned cider, carbonated and ready to go.





Then, heat a large stock pot of water to 190 degrees F. A floating thermometer is a cheap tool that really adds convenience to this process.



When the temperature reaches 190, turn off the heat and add the bottles carefully to the pot. For the size of pot shown, I usually add 6 or 7 bottles at a time, I don't want to "crowd" the pot too much and lower the temperature.



Put on the lid and let sit for ten minutes.





Continued in the next post
 
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Part II

If you have 48 bottles, pasteurizing them 6 or 7 at a time, for ten minutes each batch, you can see that this will take you a little time. I usually allot 1.5 hours for the whole process. The balance you are making here is a little bit of time for absolute, stunning simplicity and no chemical additions. During the downtime, I do other chores, like wash the dishes.



After a ten minute soak in the hot water bath, remove the bottles. I use kitchen tongs to pick up the bottle and then transfer to my other hand with a kitchen mitt.





Put them on the kitchen counter to cool. I usually leave them out while I do the next batch, then return them to the case box. You can see in this picture, that I've got the next batch lined ready to go on the other end of the counter. Its just a simple little assembly line.



Turn the heat back on and raise the temp back up to 190. Repeat until all the bottles are done. Let them cool completely to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. Chill and enjoy!



For what its worth, I ask friends at a local pub in Chicago to collect bottles for me, so end up with an eclectic collection.



I've not had a bottle break or crack, although I did have a cap come off in the hot water bath (with the lid of the pot on) once. Obviously, with carbonation pressure and hot temps, you want to be careful. Don't bang the bottles. Don't have heat applying to the pot while the bottles are in it. But, using common sense, this method is really very simple and uses no additives or chemicals.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.




Added October 26, 2010: Through pm's and other threads, I have been chatting with people who have been trying to pasteurize bottles that are over-carbonated - in other words, they waited too long to pasteurize. Please do not do this, it is extraordinarily dangerous. Head injuries, eye injuries, flying glass shards and burns from hot liquid are all possible outcomes. Use common sense: 1) do not pasteurize a batch if you haven't opened a bottle and seen that the carbonation level is right and 2) if the bottle is over-carbonated (gushing, foam everywhere) do not do pasteurize. Rather, open the bottles and release some of the pressure before your bottles explode.

If you are doing this for the first time, if you are learning how your yeast, your juice, your processes work, test your bottles early and often, to avoid over-carbonation.


Added July 2014: FYI, I've never had bottle break during pastuerizing at 190, but some have, and I've found through experience that using 180F works fine. Also, these days I generally let the cider ferment all the way to dry, then backsweeten and bottle, pastuerizing after a couple of days. I tend to ferment 3 gallons of juice and backsweeten with 1 gallon.
 

kegtoe

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Paps.

I'm planning my first round of cider, I just bought 6 1/2 gallon galss jugs as my fermntors as i want to try different variations to find what i like. How much pectic enzyme do you add to your batch. Are you doing 5 gals?

I was also curious about adding priming sugar to the bottling bucket. Do you think i could skip this step and just let the remaining sugar produce the CO2. I understand this will "dry" the cider up a bit more than when i bottle.
 

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This looks promising and easy.

Louis Pasteur would be proud of you Pappers.

I have my next project lined up now. :mug:
 

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Thanks, I have 3 gallons or so sitting in a carboy, used I think US05 in it and am looking to make it sparkling. I don't keg, and this is perfect. I am going to carb and back sweeten with Frozen Concentrate. Really looking forward to this now!
 

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I've also tried this, and thanks to you, no more bottle bombs! I don't have any pots big enough for more than 4 bottles, so I just pour a few litres of boiling waters over my bottles in the sink and 'steam' them by draping a towel over them, works perfect.

I just have to add, make sure that the caps are on nice and tight. Just before I had a bottle where the capper didn't quite do it's job as well as it should have, and I ended up with a steaming hot gyser of cider all over my hand! Take care!

I also think this should be stickied, mods.
 
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Paps.

I'm planning my first round of cider, I just bought 6 1/2 gallon galss jugs as my fermntors as i want to try different variations to find what i like. How much pectic enzyme do you add to your batch. Are you doing 5 gals?

I was also curious about adding priming sugar to the bottling bucket. Do you think i could skip this step and just let the remaining sugar produce the CO2. I understand this will "dry" the cider up a bit more than when i bottle.
I add about a teaspoon of pectic enzyme for a five gallon batch. You're exactly right about the priming sugar/residual sugar. If you don't add priming sugar, the yeast will eat up some of the remaining sugar and make a drier, carbonated cider.
 
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So pasturizing doesn't kill your co2 level/carbonation? I didn't know you can maintain carbonation and still heat it enough to kill the yeast.
In the cider, its fine. I'm confident that the 190 degrees for 10 minutes in regular 12 ounce bottles with ale yeast works, I've had no bottle bombs. The carbonation level is fine, although you can adjust that by when you do the pasteurizing. You can see in the photo the level of carbonation that I usually aim for.
 

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Great outline Pappers. This is exactly what I plan to be doing in about 2 weeks!
 

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Awesome this should be a sticky! It must be cool to see the co2 bubbling in the bottle before after the bath and then nothing after! Also Pappers do you still use 4 oz for priming or less?
 
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Awesome this should be a sticky! It must be cool to see the co2 bubbling in the bottle before after the bath and then nothing after! Also Pappers do you still use 4 oz for priming or less?

I do use 4 ounce (about 2/3 of a cup) of corn sugar or 3/4 cup of cane sugar for priming a 5 gallon batch.

I'm not sure I understand your second sentence, though. The bottles are capped, so you don't see any carbonation activity - but perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point.
 

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This method works out pretty well... It's a great way to keep a sweet, carbonated hard cider that way......

A couple slight changes for me -- as I did it on-heat....

Throw a rag in the bottom of your pot... Keeps the bottles from cracking against the bottom of the pots..

I did 160F for 20 minutes. Watched it with a kitchen cooking/meat thermometer....

Real Pry-off cap beer bottles are plenty strong for this duty -- as they are commercially pasturized fully carbed..... I wouldn't use screw cap beer bottles, though...

You don't loose any carbing this way -- once it is in the cider, and the cider is in the bottle, and the bottle is capped -- it stays.

I like it

One thing I found.....

Let them sit ~ 1 week before drinking..... I drank one the next day -- tasted like sweet, appley lighter fluid..... 1 week later -- pure delicious....

Thanks

John
 

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Hello Pappers, my ultimate goal would be to make a strongbow clone as I really enjoy the taste and carbonation level of this cider and I think your technique would be promising.

Question : Would putting the bottles in the dishwasher work as you could put more ?

My only concern is that I was under the impression that you need to let your cider age after a racking in order to get a clear cider like the one shown in your pictures ? If I'm using freshly pressed cider and only want to take it to 1.010, it will take a week to two to get to that point and cider will still be very cloudy with yeast, apple sediment and bentonite. How do you get it to be so clear in so little time ?

thanks for the great post !
 
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Regarding the ideas about using a dishwasher, I don't know enough about how warm a dishwasher gets, how consistent the heat is, etc. Perhaps someone else will want to explore this possible method.

John, my cider is ready to drink immediately, I suspect the difference in our experiences has to do with the recipes we use rather than any difference caused by the pasteurization.

Naeco, I did not use freshly pressed cider in that batch. Using store-bought filtered cider, it cleared in the bottles quickly.
 

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Is pasteurization of cider after fermentation absolutely necessary? I just figured I could let the fermentation run its course and then bottle with a wee bit of prime and be fine. Am I wrong in thinking this?
 

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Is pasteurization of cider after fermentation absolutely necessary? I just figured I could let the fermentation run its course and then bottle with a wee bit of prime and be fine. Am I wrong in thinking this?
That works fine for dry ciders or ciders backsweetened with non-fermentable sugar, but for naturally sweet bottle carbed ciders you need to stop the yeast after carbonation.
 

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Does pasteurizing not taint the flavour? I was under the impression doing so would give the cider a cooked apple-type taste
 
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The method I use (10 minutes at 190) has no noticeable affect on the taste of the type of cider I make (a draft-style light sparkling cider).
 

Bombo80

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Pappers, Have you been able to keep any of these for a long time ? I'm wondering how they are after a year in the cellar ?

The reason I ask this, I just tried a couple of my ciders from last fall, and one has gone towards vinegar, and the other I haven't had time to figure itout. I just discovered all this last night.
 
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No, I've not kept these nearly that long. The type of cider on which I use this method is a draft-style cider - light, fresh, not made for long aging (nor does it need it). I think of this style as the Cream Ale or Witbier of the cider world - ready to drink quickly and good fresh.

Perhaps Ed or someone with a greater knowledge of long-aging ciders can step in, but my understanding is that cider turns to vinegar when processes such as acetero bacteria take over.
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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I also recommend this be made a sticky.
I think it is the only good answer to the ever present "how can I make a sweet, carbonated, cider".
 

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I agree that the immediate fusel flavor was probably a difference in fermentation process/ingredients.... Nothing to do with Pasturization....

I was originally going to do a batch of Apfelwein -- started with Fruit stand fresh cider + 2 cans of Apple juice concentrate. OG started out pretty high (For a cider).... Then, as I read more, I decided that I like a slightly sweet cider much better -- so it was time to cold crash and bottle it as sparkling Cider -- I ended up with about 8% ABV....

Another thing I should add -- I didn't bother priming at all... I just used the natural carbonation provided by the yeast to carbonate the bottles...

I cold crashed at 1.010 in the fridge. Racked off, back sweetened back up to 1.020 with frozen apple juice concentrate and immediately bottled and pasturized.

Since I had not degassed at all -- it had *PLENTY* of carbonation without any sort of priming....

Flavor wise -- Amazing.. My favorite cider so far.... None of the icky, weird, bitter nasty flavors from letting it run all the way past 1.000... Not watery from white sugar... just Smooth and very intensely appley with a good tart apple sweetness....

Thanks

John
 
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I also recommend this be made a sticky.
I think it is the only good answer to the ever present "how can I make a sweet, carbonated, cider".
Kahuna, I think it is a good, simple answer to the challenge of making a sweet, carbonated, bottle conditioned cider. It's not the only approach, though. For example, you can let the cider ferment to dry, backsweeten with a non-fermentable like lactose, prime and bottle. Another option is to cold crash the bottles.

Both of those options have downsides. Backsweetening with a non-fermentable affects taste - I think using the juice's natural sweetness adds to the apple-flavor of the juice. With cold crashing, you need a lot of frig room and you can't give the cider away or take it to a party.
 

kenc_zymurgy

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Great thread - sounds like this could be used for root beer or other sweet carbonated soft drinks too? Those are bottle bombs if you can't get them cold at just the right time.

You could put an uncapped bottle of water with a thermometer into the water bath at the same starting temperature of your 'product' to get a good idea of the temperature in the other bottles. Otherwise, it's a little tough to know just how hot your contents are getting to, but I don't doubt that a ten minute bath in 190F gets you there. Did some digging on Pasteurization temperatures & times:

http://www.iddeas.com/l2-1900.html
http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=11201

I see ranges of 6-50 Pasteurization Units, with 50 for non-alcoholic bevs. Formula for Pasteurization Unit (PU):


P.U.'s/minute = 1.2023 to the power of (T-140) where T = temperature in F
P.U.'s/minute = 1.389 to the power of (T-60) where T = temperature in C

Looks like 160-165F will give 50 P.U.'s with just 30-75 SECONDS exposure.
170F is 12 seconds,
180F just 2 seconds.

Of course, since we can't control the temperature variation bottle-to-bottle and even temperature gradients within a bottle, we do need to shoot for the high end on all these.

Dishwashers with sanitize settings get to 167F, I'd assume this happens slow and long enough to get the bottle contents over 160F for 75 seconds, but I don't know. Anyone got a waterproof temperature logger that can fit in a 12 ouncer? ;)

-kenc
 

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Great thread - sounds like this could be used for root beer or other sweet carbonated soft drinks too? Those are bottle bombs if you can't get them cold at just the right time.

You could put an uncapped bottle of water with a thermometer into the water bath at the same starting temperature of your 'product' to get a good idea of the temperature in the other bottles. Otherwise, it's a little tough to know just how hot your contents are getting to, but I don't doubt that a ten minute bath in 190F gets you there. Did some digging on Pasteurization temperatures & times:

http://www.iddeas.com/l2-1900.html
http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=11201

I see ranges of 6-50 Pasteurization Units, with 50 for non-alcoholic bevs. Formula for Pasteurization Unit (PU):


P.U.'s/minute = 1.2023 to the power of (T-140) where T = temperature in F
P.U.'s/minute = 1.389 to the power of (T-60) where T = temperature in C

Looks like 160-165F will give 50 P.U.'s with just 30-75 SECONDS exposure.
170F is 12 seconds,
180F just 2 seconds.

Of course, since we can't control the temperature variation bottle-to-bottle and even temperature gradients within a bottle, we do need to shoot for the high end on all these.

Dishwashers with sanitize settings get to 167F, I'd assume this happens slow and long enough to get the bottle contents over 160F for 75 seconds, but I don't know. Anyone got a waterproof temperature logger that can fit in a 12 ouncer? ;)

-kenc
Interesting links, but they seem to be talking about different methods of pasteurization, the first one is doing flash pasteurization and the second is tunnel pasteurization, like a commercial brewer.

With bottle pasteurization it takes longer for the heat to transfer into the bottle, so you do need to leave it longer.

Toppers posted an extract from a Cornell paper about bottle pasteurizing cider.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/pa...tabilize-bottled-fermented-apple-cider-71180/

The same is true for the dishwasher method, even though the heat cycle lasts 10 mins, the hot water is only spraying over the bottles, not in constant contact, so it doesn't transfer heat as well.

I know someone tested the dishwasher method with an infrared thermometer, but i can't find the post at the moment. to many long threads about bottle sanitation.
 

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This won't work with EC-1118 or Red Star P Cuvee. I've done this process, with cider, actually left it longer than that, and still ended up with foam fountains when I opened the bottles for consumption, weeks later. I suggest a person do a test bottle filled with water, uncapped, with a thermometer inside the bottle, and in the pot of hot water, and see how long it takes to get to 140 inside the bottle. If it takes 20 minutes, then go for 30 when you are doing the real thing.
 

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Champagne yeasts are tough to stop with cold temps. They may be more resistant at high temps as well. Ale yeast seem to be easier to stop.

Great post Jim! - I agree that this should be stickied. This is the most thorough post by far on bottle pasteurization, although others have reported good success as well.

For someone wanting to bottle carbonate a sweet cider, this seems to me like the most reliable way to go. I still prefer cold crashing and kegging, but lots of people dont have space for that. If you need more throughput you can use a keggle.

A programmable dishwasher would be the way to go. Just do a heat cycle, have it bring the temp up nice and slow and then hold for 30 min, bring it down slow, you could run a good sized batch of bottles in an hour with very little effort other than figuring out how to program the dishwasher.
 
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For someone wanting to bottle carbonate a sweet cider, this seems to me like the most reliable way to go. I still prefer cold crashing and kegging, but lots of people dont have space for that. If you need more throughput you can use a keggle.
Kegging (and cold crashing) is a great option, but as you say, Kevin, not every one wants to keg.

When I was in Denmark this summer, at Ribe Brewery, they had a low-tech piece of equipment to pasteurize all their bottles. It worked just like the stove top method, just bigger. It was a large metal box with a shelf (with holes) in it. You stacked the bottles on the shelf, closed the lid, filled the box with either steam or hot water (I don't recall), open the lid and take out the bottles.

You can see it in the background of this picture, behind my son on the right.

 

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Rather then pasteurize, you could cold-crash, but I don't have the refrigerator space for that and also can't give bottles away to other people using that method.
Why does the cold crash method stops you from giving away bottles ?
 
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Hmmm, well I guess it wouldn't necessarily, Naeco. But, taking them out of the fridge, transporting them, or giving them to someone and trusting that they will put them in the fridge very soon, allows sometime, perhaps, for the yeast to warm up and start to do their work again. But you're right, you could keep them in a cooler and give explicit instructions to your friends to refrigerate immediately.
 

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If you do the cold crash right you dont have to worry about keeping the bottles refrigerated. I give away bottles all the time and never had a problem. I still have about 100 bottles in the basement from last season that made it through the hottest summer on record with no AC (temps 80+ in the basement)

Dont confuse chilling the bottles with cold crashing. Just chilling an active ferment will cause the yeast to go dormant, but they will start back up again when they warm up. Cold crashing to remove the yeast requires two rackings, one before the chill and one right afterwards, so that all the yeast stay behind on the 2nd rack. If you use ale yeast, crash at 1.020 or preferably lower and dont suck up any yeast on the 2nd rack, they will stay stable indefinitely.
 
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If you do the cold crash right you dont have to worry about keeping the bottles refrigerated. I give away bottles all the time and never had a problem. I still have about 100 bottles in the basement from last season that made it through the hottest summer on record with no AC (temps 80+ in the basement)

Dont confuse chilling the bottles with cold crashing. Just chilling an active ferment will cause the yeast to go dormant, but they will start back up again when they warm up. Cold crashing to remove the yeast requires two rackings, one before the chill and one right afterwards, so that all the yeast stay behind on the 2nd rack. If you use ale yeast, crash at 1.020 or preferably lower and dont suck up any yeast on the 2nd rack, they will stay stable indefinitely.
Right. I was assuming he was talking about bottle conditioning/carbonating, not kegging or force carbing. So you can't remove all the yeast via racking before you bottle. Or am I missing the point? And it is helpful to distinguish between cold crashing and chilling bottles, thanks.
 

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Yes for someone who wants to bottle condition, cold crashing doesnt work well. Pasteurization is the way to go.

If you cold crash you can bottle non-carbonated cider also. I do that a lot. It doesnt require a keg, just a way to chill the cider, so its less work and still tastes great.

Pasteurization does seem inherently less risky than cold crashing. Another advantage is that it should work fine for lager yeasts. Most of the lager yeasts I have tried have been really good but hard/impossible to crash.

BTW - cool picture. What is that contraption to the left of your son?
 
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That's a bottling machine! I've never seen one like it. It holds six 22 oz bottles at a time, the operator pulls a lever down and the bottles are slowly filled and automatically stop at the right level. Then they cap it by hand with a bench capper. There are more pictures and descriptions here https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/visit-ribe-bryghus-denmark-photos-188183/
 

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Thanks guys, how long would I have to keep a champagne bottle in the 190 degree water for it to be pasteurized and did we get a definitive answer to the dishwasher pasteurization ?
 
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