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Fresh, Fast Cider - Fermented & Served from 1 Keg

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voicelex

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Recipe Type: Cider
Yeast: Safale 04
Yeast Starter: Nope
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.038
Final Gravity: 1.008-1.010 (your choice, really!)
Boiling Time: Nope!
Primary Fermentation: ~5 days at 68-72 F
Carbonation Fermentation: 1-2 days at 68-72 F

For years I've been making Apfelwein and loving it even though it took ages. I was never a commercial cider fan because so much of it was too sweet. Well, here in the Boston area, like many other places, the craft revolution has reached cider and there are some great options around town now. Of those my most recent loves is Downeast Cider - it is cloudy, lightly-sweet and so fresh tasting it's like it came right off the press. When you find something that you love, as a homebrewer the next step is obvious - MAKE SOME!

Taking inspiration from the amazing results CvilleKevin produced in his epic thread, Downeast cider and the plethora of options I have for fresh juice in N.E. I've decided to make my own.

My goals for this recipe were; easy, delicious, quick and... EASY!

I've succeeded. My imagination tells me that this is how it was done in the old days (minus the fridge); fresh juice in a barrel, a scoop of beer yeast, a week and a draft - right from the same keg.

You can read the more detailed experiment on this page; Fresh Cider & Ale Yeast but for the short and sexy, look below.


Procedure
Clean and sanitize a 5 gallon keg, fill with just under 5 gallons of fresh pressed cider (no preservatives of course!) and pitch a packet of yeast. For this batch I chose Safale 04, however, other yeasts may be used. There will be little to no krausen even at 72-74 F ambient temperature so all you need is about an inch from the gas in nipple.

I rigged a blow-off tube onto the gas-in post of the keg, no buckets for this brew! To do this remove the poppet entirely and fit some tubing snugly (after being made flexible in hot water) over the post.



Every cider will have a different OG and will ferment at a different speed so be sure to monitor it closely so that you don't overshoot your gravity. This cider happened to be 1.038.

My target was 1.008 final and ~2 volumes of CO2, according to this post that meant I should seal the keg (remove the tube and replace the poppet) at 1.012, ferment down to 1.008 and then refrigerate-

-So I did! Then cider became bubbly, delicious, cloudy, fresh tasting and mildly hard cider!

Cheers!

PS - This goes great with breakfast! If you're too shy to drink 4% abv then mix it 1:1 with regular cider and enjoy a 2% draft of sweet, cold and bubbly goodness.
 

TexasWine

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This sounds like a really good idea! Few questions. Did the cider taste kind of "yeasty"? I have always thought that the yeast needed time to settle out, otherwise you'd end up tasting it.

Second, how were you able to confirm your final gravity reading of 1008 with a sealed keg? Did you pour a sample through a cobra tap?

And last, do you think you picked up any yeast cake off the bottom while serving? It was cloudy so you wouldn't be able to visually confirm it, but I would imagine yeast cake tastes pretty distinct.

Thanks for the great post/idea!
 
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voicelex

voicelex

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After 24 hours in the fridge I poured off about a pint into a sanitary jar (saved the yeast for next batch) and then one more. After that it was just cider and very little or no yeast - definitely no yeasty flavors.

I did confirm through a cobra tap. Do make sure to agitate the sample enough to remove the dissolved CO2 before you assume an accurate measure though, as usual.

This keg's dip tube goes to the very bottom so pouring it off in the beginning got rid of the cake. There is of course some residual yeast in suspension but the longer it sits in the fridge the more it will settle and come out with the first pint of the day. I'm absolutely ok with this - I don't mind the vitamins! :)
 
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voicelex

voicelex

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I made this again using Wyeast 1028, sealing the keg at 1.016, fermenting to 1.012 and refrigerating.

Details: http://www.allgrains.net/2013/09/fresh-london-cider.html

PERFECT! Much more apple character and a fresher taste. I'd stick with 1028 from now on for my tastes, but you can try any yeast you'd like.


The best thing about this is; once the cider is gone, save the cake at the bottom of the keg (pours as sludge when it's near empty - you'll know, trust me!), bring it to room temp and simply re-pitch new cider on to it! A few days later you'll be able to fill your body with delicious cider once more.

Cheers!
 

zachattack

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Have you done any of this fast cider this season? I'm considering it.
 

schwiz

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I decided to give this a try. Hoping it turns out well will check back in! Would the term for this style of cider be called scrumpy?
 
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voicelex

voicelex

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I did actually make a batch this year, it's tasting great! I'm glad to see that folks, a year later, are finally trying it!

Cheers!
 

zachattack

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I'm too busy at the moment to check the fermentation every day like you did, so I'm trying to ferment 4 gallons dry then combine with a gallon of unfermented cider in the keg then just force carb. I think this should give me a similar result, it will still be very young and fresh and the gravity should be about the same.
 

schwiz

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I gave this a shot and was very pleased with the results! I did run into a few road bumps along the way though.

I started off with some cider from a local mill uv pasteurized. They told me the blend was:
Jonathon
Golden Delicious
Jona Gold
Red Delicious
Asian Pear
Bartlett Pear

OG 1.051

Rather than attaching a hose to the keg post like OP I took the post off and attached a hose onto the threads for it. The main reason for this is the tube I had laying around the house fit perfectly on the threads for the post. Next time I may just attach a hose to an extra gas tap.



Day 1:
Add 4.5 gallons to keg and pitch one packet of Nottingham Ale yeast.

Day 2: SG 1.048
Day 3: SG 1.042
Day 4: SG 1.039
Day 5: SG 1.032
When I took off the lid to the keg the large o-ring popped off and fell into the cider!! I tried to fish it out with a racking cane but could not find it. Luckily I had an extra one.
Day 6: 1.029
Day 7: 1.022
Sealed the keg so it could carb naturally
Day 8:
Realized when I put the keg together I put the gas pinlock post on the liquid one so I could not take a sample to test gravity. Depressurized the keg and switched around the posts! Rookie Mistake!! SG 1.020
Day 9:
Went to test gravity and it came out of cobra tap so fast it squirted out of the cup and all over the place. SG 1.018
Day 10:
Went to test SG and so much pressure that it pushed off the head to my cobra tap and cider went everywhere. Let enough pressure out to safely extract some cider and got SG 1.016
At this point I put it in the fridge for a cold crash.
Day 11:
Nicely carbonated, still a little yeast in suspension but highly drinkable. I was happy with where the carbonation was so I let most of the pressure out.

Day 12: No more yeast floating around tastes really good. Sweet, enough bubble to tickle your tongue, a little tartness is starting to come out, medium to full body. Reminds me a bit of JK Scrumpy but the pear really comes through too. I'm normally not a big fan of sweet ciders I like them dry but this is excellent and I know it will be a crowd pleaser.

I would like to do this again, maybe even this cider season. Next time I will probably take it down closer to 1.010. I had planned to this time but became impatient when the fermentation slowed to .002/day. Next time I will also not mess with trying to take gravity reading after I seal the keg. I will just seal it for 24 hours and cold crash.
 

schwiz

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Another day later the pear is really coming through a lot more. It tastes like a clone of Fox Barrel Pear Cider. Couldn't be happier with this cider.
 

zachattack

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I'm too busy at the moment to check the fermentation every day like you did, so I'm trying to ferment 4 gallons dry then combine with a gallon of unfermented cider in the keg then just force carb. I think this should give me a similar result, it will still be very young and fresh and the gravity should be about the same.
Just to update, mine came out great. It didn't have time to ferment completely dry in the carboy, so it was still nice and cloudy and had a pleasant yeasty bite. I kegged it with the gallon of fresh cider, carbed it up and everyone loved it at Thanksgiving. I love dry apple wine style ciders, but this was a really nice change of pace. And like OP says, it only takes a few weeks instead of a few years!
 

noggins

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Is anyone still doing this? I'm thinking of giving it a go to have a constant supply of low abv cider on hand. Maybe 3.5 gallons of juice, 1.5 gallons distilled water on an S04 yeast cake, ferment, drink and repeat. I think I'm too lazy to monitor the SG everyday so I'll probably just let it ferment out for about a week then add a bit of priming sugar to carb it up for a few days.
 

hambonez

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I'm thinking of giving this a try. It seems fast and easy. I'm going to do a small batch, 2 gals in a small carboy and bottle it up to carb. Should work right? I don't have kegs...yet.

This should get something in the pipeline while I wait for my cream stout.
 

Firewalker11

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Is anyone still doing this? I'm thinking of giving it a go to have a constant supply of low abv cider on hand. Maybe 3.5 gallons of juice, 1.5 gallons distilled water on an S04 yeast cake, ferment, drink and repeat. I think I'm too lazy to monitor the SG everyday so I'll probably just let it ferment out for about a week then add a bit of priming sugar to carb it up for a few days.
NO! Bad Noggins!!! LOL! No added water, just make sure you have 1.040 or so and you will get a 3.9 ABV after the 04 works off.
 

Firewalker11

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I'm thinking of giving this a try. It seems fast and easy. I'm going to do a small batch, 2 gals in a small carboy and bottle it up to carb. Should work right? I don't have kegs...yet.

This should get something in the pipeline while I wait for my cream stout.
I haven't bottled until it's carbed so I don't know all about that but I do the all-in-one-keg thing with 4 gallons of Tree Top Crisp Apple Cider and either s-04 or Cider House Select yeast. The corny keg fills up to within 6" of thew lid, leaving enough space for krausen to form without getting into the spunding valve.

I just started two kegs about 15 minutes ago, threw spunding valves on them, charged them up to 7psi and will let them sit for a week then crank the valves down to 20psi.

No added sugar, OG 1.044.
 
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voicelex

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I would be wary of that, the cider will continue to ferment possibly down to 1.000 or close to it and that will certainly create a bottle bomb if you bottle it around the same SG that I sealed the keg. By putting it in the fridge I'm slowing the fermentation down so we try and drink it within a week or three, after 2+ it starts to noticeably drop further in gravity and 4+ weeks out it is dry and VERY bubbly. Fine in my keg but could be tough in your bottle.

If you'd like to make a semi-sweet cider in a bottle, I'd suggest using either sulfates in the carboy, then bottle conditioning with new yeast and sugar (look this up, it's more complicated to do than type) or you could have some test bottles and once you like the sweetness and carb you could attempt to pasteurize the bottles.

Either way, good luck and thanks for reading my old thread! I still make this tasty brew and enjoy it every fall! ^_^
 

hambonez

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I haven't bottled until it's carbed so I don't know all about that but I do the all-in-one-keg thing with 4 gallons of Tree Top Crisp Apple Cider and either s-04 or Cider House Select yeast. The corny keg fills up to within 6" of thew lid, leaving enough space for krausen to form without getting into the spunding valve.

I just started two kegs about 15 minutes ago, threw spunding valves on them, charged them up to 7psi and will let them sit for a week then crank the valves down to 20psi.

No added sugar, OG 1.044.
Thanks! I'll give this a shot once I get to kegging.
 

hambonez

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I would be wary of that, the cider will continue to ferment possibly down to 1.000 or close to it and that will certainly create a bottle bomb if you bottle it around the same SG that I sealed the keg. By putting it in the fridge I'm slowing the fermentation down so we try and drink it within a week or three, after 2+ it starts to noticeably drop further in gravity and 4+ weeks out it is dry and VERY bubbly. Fine in my keg but could be tough in your bottle.

If you'd like to make a semi-sweet cider in a bottle, I'd suggest using either sulfates in the carboy, then bottle conditioning with new yeast and sugar (look this up, it's more complicated to do than type) or you could have some test bottles and once you like the sweetness and carb you could attempt to pasteurize the bottles.

Either way, good luck and thanks for reading my old thread! I still make this tasty brew and enjoy it every fall! ^_^
Might be worth the experiment of learning to pasteurize. Thanks!
 

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