how long to ferment cider.

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joecheberline

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I'm wanting to make a cider for Christmas. (I'm worried it won't be done in time) I'm new to cider but have experience in AG beer. Is there a recipe or any kind of cider that the fermentation period is less. If not no big deal. Please let me know your feedback. Thanks
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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You can do it possibly in three weeks time. Use 4-5 gallons juice, add three cans juice concentrate, add your yeast. Let ferment out 1 week. Transfer off yeast into bottling bucket, add more juice concentrate in bucket to your taste or liking (I usually use three cans) bottle and let sit at room temp 70*F for about three to five days. Crack one open to see if it's carbed up to where you like it and if your satisfied place the bottles on the fridge to stop or slow the carb process. Enjoy. This is simple and tasty. Of course it gets better with age but it's tasty this young.
 
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joecheberline

joecheberline

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Thanks for the reply. Do you do a yeast starter? I use the Nottingham dry ale yeast for my beer, I have been told that I can use the same for cider.

When you say use concentrate is that the frozen tubes of juice?

Thanks again
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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You can do a yeast starter if you want but it's not needed. It took a couple of days to get any action when I did not do a yeast starter but it's up to you. I use frozen apple juice concentrate. My favorite is old orchard brand juice concentrate but you can use whatever you like. The juice I usually start with is Hansens 100% natural. I do a 4 gallon batch and sometimes split it up and add strawberries in a secondary but like you stated you want this by Christmas so just keep it simple and it should be good to go by then. Let me know if you need any more advice. You can look up "starting a simple cider". It's my go to for quick and easy tasty cider.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Here's a similar version of the same cider. If I count the days right I think it's only 13 days total. And disregard the pectic enzyme addition. I only use it cause I have it. It's used to clear up cloudy cider and the juice I use is already clear.

This is as simple as it gets and is referred to by many who have tried it comparable yet better and more potent than a Hornby's.

4 gallons Hansens 100% all natural apple juice
2 cans of Old Orchard 100% juice concentrate
(apple cherry or apple raspberry)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme per gallon
Add yeast (I use wyeast 4766 cider yeast) smack pack

Add all components together in 5 gallon carboy
My activity of yeast started 24 hours after I added it.
After 8 or so days my activity stopped
Transferred to secondary for 2-3 days
I cold crashed for 2 days, added 2 cans of the same Old Orchard apple juice concentrate then transferred to bottles.
I preferred to leave bottles out for 3 to 4 days at 70*F+ for bottle carbing then placed mine in fridge. It turns out bubbly and semi sweet.
 

Safa

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Instead of just waiting 3 days, make sure you use a 12oz (or close) plastic soda bottle to check the carbonation!

I had a batch overcarb overnight last week, so its a good idea to check up on them by feeling the bottle. When its as hard as it was with coke in it, then fridge/pasteurize it!

Remember if you are transporting it somewhere (i.e it wont be in the fridge forever) you will NEED to pasteurize. Otherwise you'll have exploding cider.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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I also recommend the plastic tester bottle. I used to do it but now kinda know what to expect and when.
 

CarnieBrew

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Instead of just waiting 3 days, make sure you use a 12oz (or close) plastic soda bottle to check the carbonation!

I had a batch overcarb overnight last week, so its a good idea to check up on them by feeling the bottle. When its as hard as it was with coke in it, then fridge/pasteurize it!
I've had my first cider in glass bottles & 1 soda bottle for 2 days, and the soda bottle is now rock hard. I thought it would take 5 or 6 days to carb, so this is curious. I popped one of the glass bottles, and it pours with a nice fizz, but the head immediately disappears and it tastes a little flat....although i'm not used to cider. So i'm not sure what to do...probably safer to pasteurise now given how hard the soda bottle is?
 

discooby

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I’m a fan of Nottingham… after using several champagne yeasts I’ve found Nottingham has the cleanest taste (apple). It will usually ferment out in 3 days so if you keg you could serve it that night (I prefer it still). But, like some wines, the longer you let it rest (and how it’s treated) you’ll get more apple. Don’t leave it on the cake too long, use a secondary. :mug:
 

Safa

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I've had my first cider in glass bottles & 1 soda bottle for 2 days, and the soda bottle is now rock hard. I thought it would take 5 or 6 days to carb, so this is curious. I popped one of the glass bottles, and it pours with a nice fizz, but the head immediately disappears and it tastes a little flat....although i'm not used to cider. So i'm not sure what to do...probably safer to pasteurise now given how hard the soda bottle is?
Yup, go ahead and pastuerize! Double check the fizzyness with a cider drinker, but I'd say you should probably do it. Cider will never hold a head like beer does.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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I've tried the stovetop pasteurization method and it popped the tops off my bottles. Be careful.
 
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joecheberline

joecheberline

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I’m a fan of Nottingham… after using several champagne yeasts I’ve found Nottingham has the cleanest taste (apple). It will usually ferment out in 3 days so if you keg you could serve it that night (I prefer it still). But, like some wines, the longer you let it rest (and how it’s treated) you’ll get more apple. Don’t leave it on the cake too long, use a secondary. :mug:
Should I put it in the secondary after it stops bubbling? I would imagine that would be the time to
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Wait a few days after it stops. The best way is to take a OG reading with a hydrometer, if you have one. If not just wait a couple days and transfer it. You can also cold crash it for a day or so to drop the yeast from suspension and clear things up a bit. Once you do that add your AJC for taste and mix it up real good and bottle.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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I'm doing a real simple cider for a friend that just bought a bunch of stuff to start brewing his own. Most likely I'll do it this week and post the process.
 

discooby

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Should I put it in the secondary after it stops bubbling? I would imagine that would be the time to
I don’t use a secondary as I let it finish, leave it about a week or two (or when I can get to it) and keg it. But if you’re going to let it age (more than a month) in a fermenter then I’d transfer it off the cake (use a secondary).
 
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joecheberline

joecheberline

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Here's a similar version of the same cider. If I count the days right I think it's only 13 days total. And disregard the pectic enzyme addition. I only use it cause I have it. It's used to clear up cloudy cider and the juice I use is already clear.

This is as simple as it gets and is referred to by many who have tried it comparable yet better and more potent than a Hornby's.

4 gallons Hansens 100% all natural apple juice
2 cans of Old Orchard 100% juice concentrate
(apple cherry or apple raspberry)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme per gallon
Add yeast (I use wyeast 4766 cider yeast) smack pack

Add all components together in 5 gallon carboy
My activity of yeast started 24 hours after I added it.
After 8 or so days my activity stopped
Transferred to secondary for 2-3 days
I cold crashed for 2 days, added 2 cans of the same Old Orchard apple juice concentrate then transferred to bottles.
I preferred to leave bottles out for 3 to 4 days at 70*F+ for bottle carbing then placed mine in fridge. It turns out bubbly and semi sweet.
What's does cold crash mean?
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Place your cider into the fridge or some ice bath to drop all yeast out of suspension. It is not necessary, it just clears things up a bit.
 

Hieron

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Hey All - This is only semi-relevant to this conversation but sounds like you all would have a solid answer to my question. My 1st batch of cider has been in primary for ~2.5 weeks (3 weeks Tuesday night) and I'm still seeing action in my airlock (a "glug" about every 10 - 15 seconds). The recipe I'm following said that if I wanted to back-carb/sweeten, I should wait until it's completely still, which will take 2 - 2.5 weeks. Is it taking longer because I have 5 gallons rather than the 1 the recipe is using, or is it actually ready for secondary and I'm just just being too literal about "still"? Any help would be really appreciated; thanks!

P.S. I'm gonna follow the more complicated and longer-taking directions I have been for this 1st batch, but I'd also love to have some cider ready for Christmas so I think I'll try the "quick" recipe you listed in the 1-gallon carboys I have! Thanks for the idea!
 

CarnieBrew

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My 1st batch of cider has been in primary for ~2.5 weeks (3 weeks Tuesday night) and I'm still seeing action in my airlock (a "glug" about every 10 - 15 seconds).
Don't trust your airlock, i've had fermentation completely stop yet the co2 keeps releasing a 'glugging' the airlock. Use your hydrometer to ensure your readings are stable over consecutive days to understand when fermentation is complete.

Mind you, if you're using the trick of bottling 1 in plastic to know when carbonation is complete then pasteurizing, you don't really need your fermentation to be complete before bottling anyway...
 

Hieron

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Thanks for the info man. I got impatient and moved it to secondary yesterday lol...I came to the same conclusion you did about not needing to wait for 100% stillness if I'm going to use the plastic bottle idea. I think you're right about the airlock because I switched to the S-shaped airlock for secondary and now there's a glug less than once a minute.

Anyway I tried some of course, and while certainly not great, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting straight out of primary. Really excited to see how it turns out in a few weeks here!

Anyway thanks for the info; if I get around to trying the quickie method I'll post back around Christmas and let you guys know how it went.
 

Vox

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I’m a fan of Nottingham… after using several champagne yeasts I’ve found Nottingham has the cleanest taste (apple). It will usually ferment out in 3 days so if you keg you could serve it that night (I prefer it still). But, like some wines, the longer you let it rest (and how it’s treated) you’ll get more apple. Don’t leave it on the cake too long, use a secondary. :mug:
I've tried champagne, montrachet white wine, s-04, and Nottingham yeasts. For a semi-sweet cider, notty has become my favorite. Montrachet was nice for high abv apfelwein, but super dry (as is.champagne yeast), unless you backsweeten. Apfelwein also takes a while to develop nicely so I would do notty/ale yeasts for quick, sweeter ciders. About to start an experimental batch using a Belgian ale yeast (even though I shouldn't since I have several cases bottle aging with another 16.5 gallons soon to be bottled lol). Wish me luck!
 

Hieron

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After 8 or so days my activity stopped
Transferred to secondary for 2-3 days
I cold crashed for 2 days, added 2 cans of the same Old Orchard apple juice concentrate then transferred to bottles.
Hey Man - I decided to try this to hopefully have some quickie cider ready for Christmas. Just 2 quick questions:

1) In your quote above is the secondary and cold-crashing the same 2 days? Or are you doing secondary for a couple days and then cold crashing for a couple more days (so 4-5 total) and then botttling?

2) After you cold-crash, are you transferring the cider to a 3rd container before bottling to prevent stirring up sediment or is that not a problem at this point?

Thanks for the info! Tonight is day 8 of my primary so I'm cutting it REALLY close, lol. I'll let you guys know how it turned out!
 

Pickled_Pepper

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Hieron, what did you end up with on your FG?

My 2¢ is a young cider is what it is. Admittedly I've drank my share of young ciders and a little sediment isn't going to make much difference if you need them on a specific date. The longer you can age in secondary the clearer and smoother it will become. If you are going to age some of these for another month or so, then just expect a little in the bottles...not big deal.

Maybe bottle this weekend, drink some still and hopefully they are carb'd for new years?
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Hieron said:
Hey Man - I decided to try this to hopefully have some quickie cider ready for Christmas. Just 2 quick questions:

1) In your quote above is the secondary and cold-crashing the same 2 days? Or are you doing secondary for a couple days and then cold crashing for a couple more days (so 4-5 total) and then botttling?

2) After you cold-crash, are you transferring the cider to a 3rd container before bottling to prevent stirring up sediment or is that not a problem at this point?

Thanks for the info! Tonight is day 8 of my primary so I'm cutting it REALLY close, lol. I'll let you guys know how it turned out!
To answer the questions the 2-3 days cold crashed is just 2-3 days, 2 is fine I just got busy probably. And yes I did transfer to a third container that has a spigot attached to transfer directly to my bottles. I also add my apple juice concentrate in the third container and sample it until it tastes just right. Good luck on yours man.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Some might suggest that transferring to a third container might not have enough yeast left behind to carb up your bottles when you add your concentrate. I have never had any issues with the bottles NOT carbing up. Just make sure you store your bottles in an area that's at least in the 70*F range. If kept at a steady temp it should only take a few days to be ready.
 

Hieron

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Thanks for the info guys; I really appreciate the tips.

Well I never thought I'd have this problem, lol. Just transferred it to 2ndary and of course tasted it, and it tastes great right now! About as sweet as or slightly less than a Woodchuck, and it's just slightly carbonated. Idk about alcohol content but enough that I can taste it.

Anyway what would you guys do in this case? My worry is that I like the level of sweetness right now and if I add more concentrate before bottling like I'm supposed to, idk if enough will ferment in the bottle before I'm ready to drink it. Since I'm making this for Christmas Eve and we'd probly get through the whole gallon, I was thinking I might just forego bottling, put a little concentrate in the 2ndary carboy right now, twist the original metal cap back on, give it a couple days to carb up, and then stick it in the fridge. I don't have a way of knowing if I'm making a bomb that way, but I wouldn't think it'd go too far in 2 days at 68F right?

Anyway I know this is a subjective thing but any thoughts/opinions on how I should proceed would be awesome. Thanks again!
 

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Without knowing the Final Gravity, it's hard to guess on how much priming sugar to add. Cold crashing will slow things down, but I wouldn't trust it to stop fermentation if theres a lot of sugar left. The longer you let it sit, the drier it's going to get, so if you like it now, drink them all and enjoy every day between now and New Years ;)
 

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I have read these forums front and back.
You will get every answer from go to walmart and bread yeast.
To what will sound like a Mr. Spock answer.
I have made 50 gallons of cider bottled all of them and not one ounce wasnt enjoyed
and only a few spilled.
I do what I call my 21 day cider
Here is my recipe and video of first pour .https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/third-batch-made-first-show-375056/
Of course I sanitize everything and use air locks and alike but with 25 bucks and a few weeks I get some kickass cider.
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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If its good where it's at don't mess with it. Just keep it out a few days capped and check it from time to time. If you gear a nice hisssss when you crack your lid you will know its ready, place it in the fridge and enjoy, like you mentioned, no need to bottle.:)
 

HAREEBROWNBEEST

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Its okay to crack the twist off lid say once a day to see what's going on, it's just like opening a soda and recapping. That way you can see the progress and not worry about bottle bombs, I wouldn't be to concerned about them anyway, I've tried to make bottle bombs on purpose and it takes a long time:)
 

Hieron

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Thanks a lot for the tips guys, I really appreciate the insights. I was thinking it would screw it all up if I opened it to check the carb so that especially was good info! I added some more concentrate (about half what haree's recipe called for) so now I can let it ferment out to get a higher alc content for a few days without worrying about it. I'll post an update to let everyone know how it turned out. :D

Chefmatt - Thanks for linking your quickie recipe! I'm a noob to cider but w/ cooking type stuff in general I love to read other peoples' recipes as a starting point to making my own. I'll definitely check it out! I don't suppose you could post a recipe for the dougnuts in that thread? xD
 

Pickled_Pepper

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I've used a 21 day recipe just like that for a few years and it's 'young', but it always ends up being consumed. No complaints on that recipe at all. As for using a plastic bottle to check carb, just remember if you crack one and then crack it again...the others will be carb'd more than the one you previously opened ;)

Happy Holidays all!
 
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