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First Cider... a few quick questions:

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HOP-HEAD

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I'm about to brew my first cider this morning for the little lady. Before I do, I've been reading through the forum and elsewhere on the web and have just a few easy questions to close a few loop holes:

1. I've always added a campden tablet to my tap water before brewing beer. On the cider forums, I continually noticed people referrring to adding campden later in the process... is this to kill the yeast to stop fermentation? If so, why doesn't it kill my yeast when making beer? If not, what is it being added for?

2. How vigorous are cider fermentations? I plan to brew a 4 or 5 gal batch in a 6.5 gal carboy. Should I start right off with a blow-off tube or will an airlock do fine?

3. I have a bunch of Notty dry yeast laying around, so was going to substitute it for the champagne yeast called for in the recipe I have. From what I've read, this sounds like it'll work fine, and if anything just result in a less dry finish.... Thoughts?
 
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1. You don't have to add campden unless you feel that there is a real chance for bacterial infection or are overly cautious. Campden does inhibit yeast but doesn't kill it. People add campden after fermentation while the cider is aging to reduce the chance of infection. As before, you don't have to do this.

2. It depends on your yeast, but I brew about 5.5 gallons in a 6.5 without issue.

3. I would go with the Notty yeast over champagne yeast anyway.
 

fineexampl

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If you're doing a full boil, you can leave out the campden. a full boil eliminates the need.

If you add any additional sugars and use an ale yeast, you might want to try a blowoff for the first week. IME it was needed. you may not need it, but the yeast all over my closet suggests it is a possibility you MIGHT need it.

I second using the Notty. You'll get that vigorous fermentation you are looking for and should theoretically finish nice. I used Windsor and am having awesome results so far. My first cider i racked on an old yeast cake and had no need for a blowoff and also was a Windsor based fermentation.

and thank you for reading up before making cooking up the cider! it's nice to see people taking time to research. :)
 
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HOP-HEAD

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One more:

The recipe calls for adding 1/2 lb of lactose before bottling. Is this to sweeten the cider? If that's the case, am i correct in assuming that lactose is unfermentable and so it won't just continue to add to the abv as the cider sits in the bottles?
 
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HOP-HEAD

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If you're doing a full boil, you can leave out the campden. a full boil eliminates the need.

By full-boil, I assume you're referring back to beer brewing, correct? I mean, there's really no advantage, and actually several disadvantages, to boiling for a cider, correct?

If you did mean beer, as I assume, I do perform all full boils. I have simply added the campden because I have a bottle full of 'em and haven't seen any down side to doing so... not sure that it's helped, but it certainly hasn't hurt. I've read many threads and other articles that state that chloramine will not boil out... and my water's got plenty of chloramine.
 
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One more:

The recipe calls for adding 1/2 lb of lactose before bottling. Is this to sweeten the cider? If that's the case, am i correct in assuming that lactose is unfermentable and so it won't just continue to add to the abv as the cider sits in the bottles?
That's correct, just make sure that if you want carbonation that you do leave some fermentable sugars in the cider when you bottle.
 

gratus fermentatio

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Boiling the juice will set the pectins & make for a VERY cloudy cider, it will also diminish the apple flavour. If the juice is pasteurized, no need for campden. Do you plan on using water in your cider recipe? The lactose is not fermentable and will both sweeten & add a little body/mouthfeel to your cider. Regards, GF.
 
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HOP-HEAD

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Here's the recipe:

5x 3 quart bottles of Great Value (Walmart) 100% Apple Juice
2x Old Orchard brand 12 oz. Frozen Concentrate - Apple/Raspberry
1x Old Orchard brand 12 oz. Frozen Concentrate - Apple/Cherry
1x Old Orchard brand 12 oz. Frozen Concentrate - Cranberry
1 LB Regular Granulated Sugar
3/4 Gal Water

I added the water, sugar, and frozen concentrate to a pot and heated just enough to dissolve... nowhere near boil. Added to carboy, than added the 5 bottles of juice. OG = 1.068

This seems pretty high? Should I consider adding additional water to bring it down closer to 1.060... or do you think she'll be fine?

I'm allowing it to warm a bit to get it closer to my fermentation temp of 65 before I pitch the packet of Dry Notty.

At bottling, the recipe calls for adding:

1/2 Lactose
4 oz. Raspberry Flavoring
4 oz. Priming Sugar
 
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HOP-HEAD

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So........ anyone have much experience with Lactose? I mean, how much really is 1/2 lb in about 5 gallons? .... dessert wine sweet...? Or more like one of those carbonated smirnoff drink things kind of sweet?

The wife likes these types of things on the pretty sweet side... but being first go around on this cider thing, I'm not sure how much to expect out of each ingredient.

Also: Are there other commonly used unfermentable sugars for the same purpose? I'm lactose intolerant.... and though it for her, I'll have to have a few myself.
 

fineexampl

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By full-boil, I assume you're referring back to beer brewing, correct? I mean, there's really no advantage, and actually several disadvantages, to boiling for a cider, correct?

If you did mean beer, as I assume, I do perform all full boils. I have simply added the campden because I have a bottle full of 'em and haven't seen any down side to doing so... not sure that it's helped, but it certainly hasn't hurt. I've read many threads and other articles that state that chloramine will not boil out... and my water's got plenty of chloramine.
No i meant cider. I full boiled a few gallons of mine to dissolve some brown sugar. I didn't need to i suppose, but i felt it needed. I planned on using a fining agent later on anyway. (gelatin in this case)

So........ anyone have much experience with Lactose? I mean, how much really is 1/2 lb in about 5 gallons? .... dessert wine sweet...? Or more like one of those carbonated smirnoff drink things kind of sweet?

The wife likes these types of things on the pretty sweet side... but being first go around on this cider thing, I'm not sure how much to expect out of each ingredient.

Also: Are there other commonly used unfermentable sugars for the same purpose? I'm lactose intolerant.... and though it for her, I'll have to have a few myself.
My wife is lactose intolerant as well. I experimented with some of my cider before racking to secondary and sweetened it with stevia. I haven't yet done the math on how much to use for 5+ gallons, but it shouldn't be too much. I planned on using the drops in alcohol base vs. granulated as it seems like it'd be better in the long run and we use it regularly anyway and like it's taste enough to try it out.

Boiling the juice will set the pectins & make for a VERY cloudy cider, it will also diminish the apple flavour. If the juice is pasteurized, no need for campden. Do you plan on using water in your cider recipe? The lactose is not fermentable and will both sweeten & add a little body/mouthfeel to your cider. Regards, GF.
Cloudy never bothered me much, but i like witbiers and such and they're usually that way on purpose.
 
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HOP-HEAD

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She's bubbling away right now. Started at about a bubble every ten seconds or so after about 24 hrs of lag time, now she's on a steady bubble a second going into day three.

Do ciders usually generate any kind of a crausen similar to beer, though? It seems odd that it has zero head of any kind... just cider with C02 bubbling up through it....
 

jacob1484

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She's bubbling away right now. Started at about a bubble every ten seconds or so after about 24 hrs of lag time, now she's on a steady bubble a second going into day three.

Do ciders usually generate any kind of a crausen similar to beer, though? It seems odd that it has zero head of any kind... just cider with C02 bubbling up through it....
My first cider is nearing completion right now and it never had even a little krausen. I used white labs sweet mead yeast instead of Notty but I don't think that it will be that much different from what I've read.
 
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My cider is fermenting away and also has almost no krausen! I was fully expecting tons of bubbles n such! Doesnt smell the greatest either.
 

khiddy

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Do ciders usually generate any kind of a krausen similar to beer, though? It seems odd that it has zero head of any kind... just cider with C02 bubbling up through it....
There will be very little krausen, because there aren't many proteins in the cider to link and create long-lasting bubbles, as there are in beer. Cider doesn't leave lacing on the glass for this same reason.
 

Matrix4b

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After doing some research on Lactose, I have found the 1/2 pound of Lactose in 5 gallons of liquid is equal to 5% the amount of Lactose in Milk. Something to consider.

I was checking this out to see how much it is and if it is truly something to worry about for those that are only mildly intolerant vs highly intolerant. I plan on adding 1 pound Lactose to a 5 gallon batch of orange vanilla mead that I am making. Sort of a creamcyle.

Just my 2 cents.
 

C2H5OH

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You could ferment it out to dry, and then back sweeten to your liking (or more sugar to meet your wife's liking) with regular sugar just before you drink it. Like adding sugar to iced tea in the summertime.

...Just a thought.

cheers into the New Years!
 
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HOP-HEAD

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So I'm getting close to racking time.... should I add the lactose and raspberry flavoring as I rack to the secondary or should I add it to the bottling bucket later on when I also intend to add 4 oz of priming sugar?
 

BaronIV

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So I'm getting close to racking time.... should I add the lactose and raspberry flavoring as I rack to the secondary or should I add it to the bottling bucket later on when I also intend to add 4 oz of priming sugar?
the lactose and the flavoring could be added when you rack or when you bottle, shouldn't make too much of a difference.
the priming sugar, on the other hand, must be added right before you bottle.
 

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