First Cider Batch - 1gal carboy - Report

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triktrail

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Hi all,

This thread is for gathering thoughts and observations on my first batch of cider. I have appreciated reading others' reports and wanted to contribute something in return.

Experience
Three prior attempts at beermaking back in 2017, all 1-gallon batches. First one had an infection that caused most of the beer to fizz out after bottling. The second attempt was an all-grain Amber. Very tasty, only issue was the carbonation in the bottle was uneven, so 3 out of 6 bottles were too flat. This may have been due to not stirring in the liquid sugar before bottling. Third attempt was a stronger Amber (had a potential to be 9%) where I upped the malt in the recipe. Was looking great after fermenting in the primary carboy after 1 month, then I unexpectedly had to move from a house to a room in a small apartment, which meant discarding the unfinished beer and getting rid of my beermaking supplies. Now, starting from scratch again in another apartment with slightly more space for hobbies.

Philosophy
Simple is the idea for this first cider batch. I wanted to "just do it" before waiting to have all the necessary gear. My only supplies are the ones listed below. Inspired by Mr Money Mustache's 2014 post Frugal Yet Fancy Homebrewing.

Environment
Third floor of an apartment building that lacks air conditioning. This means that temperatures can fluctuate from about 18-30 degrees C (64-86 F) this time of year. I understand this is not an ideal environment but am hoping to make do with what I have. This is a very high cost of living area (Bay Area, CA) which limits where one can live absent being a millionaire. We are blessed to have mild temperatures all year round, but the sunlight coming into people's windows below us creates lots of heat traveling upwards to our unit by the afternoon. Worse, now that it's wildfire season on some days it is not healthy to open our windows due to smoke, further trapping in hot air. I heard about a yeast more tolerant to these conditions in another thread (Omega) and may try that next depending on how this one turns out.

Supplies
1 Gallon Bernie's Best Organic Gravenstein Apple Cider (image below)
Red Star Premier Classique Yeast (image below)
#6 Airlock
Bung

Journal
8/25 - Pitched 1g of Red Star Premier Classique yeast directly into the cider jug. Measured 1g by placing the yeast on a gram scale (reading of 5g), then dumping some yeast in and weighing the packet again (reading of 4g).
8/26 - 18 hours after pitching, large bubbles are slowly forming and then passing through the airlock. Takes 1-2 minutes for a bubble to pass through once formed.
8/27 - Bubbling is becoming more vigorous - measured as 1 bubble passing through every 3-4 seconds - with krausen developing at the top.
8/28 - Woke up to seeing krausen in the airlock and small yeasty bubbles escaping from the top. To remedy this I briefly took off the airlock, cleaned it out, and replaced with new fresh water.
8/31 - Came back from a weekend trip and the airlock is still clean. Bubbling activity slowing down.
9/2 - Bubbling is now measured at 1 bubble passing through airlock every 15 seconds.

The plan is to wait until 14 days have passed, then replace with the bottle cap, put into the refrigerator and begin drinking. Alternatively, I could keep it at room temperature for a couple days and wait for more carbonation to develop, but this could risk a bottle bomb and I do not yet have a hydrometer. Any other suggestions are welcome. For the next batch I plan to use a hydrometer but wanted to keep it simple this time. Will continue to provide updates.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Sammy86

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Congratulations on the first batch of cider! Always good to have something a little different to share with others.

I would get a hydrometer or even refractometer and check the gravity before packaging. Remember, yeast are living organisms and don't always act the way predicted. Unfortunately, a bubble airlock isn't really a reliable source to determine whether or not fermentation has completed.

From my own experience i tend to let my ciders go 21 days before they hit terminal gravity but if you do decide to cap maybe don't screw it down tight to let the access blow off Incase fermentation continues...don't want any bottle bombs!
 

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