New to cider brewing and am a bit unsure where to start

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suus

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Hello everyone!

I would love to brew some sparkling cider and I am looking at what kind of stuff to buy but I am not entirely sure if I have figured out everything I am going to need. I do not have any brewing experience yet and I would be very grateful for some feedback. I have been trying to interpret the recipes I've found so far and my current plan and equipment is as follows, I hope I have translated everything correctly:

After cleaning everything with puro oxi and chopping up the apples and bruising them I'll add 70 degree celsius water and a bit of sulfite to sterilise and Pecto Enzyme II to break down the cell wands and let this sit for 6-12 hours.

After this time I seive the must with a nettle cloth into a 12L brewing bucket with a waterlock and add mangrove jack's cider yeast. After some amount of time I should now siphon everything but the sediment at the bottom with a food-safe plastic tube to a second 5L glass jar and leave as little air as possible. This too should have a waterlock and I believe this to be the time where you leave the cider alone in a dark and not too warm spot.

After a few days or weeks (?) I can siphon the cider again to their proper bottles with those champagne caps and by adding sugar to each individual bottle, it will become carbonated. Now I should let it rest for a few more weeks before I can drink it.


Is this about right and is there anything I am missing? Thanks in advance!
(The website I think I'll be ordering is Braumarkt 🥃 Alles voor de brouwers)
 

Maylar

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Soaking apples in hot water does not make cider. You need to grind the apples and press the juice out of them. Or buy apple juice already pressed.
 

Rick Stephens

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Read a few of the simple cider making guides. Or buy a book or two. Of the ones I have read, I probably enjoyed The Everything Hard Cider Book the most. Sounds to me like you are making a few big deals out of simple stuff. Make your first batch as simple as possible. Grab a few liters of store bought juice, toss some yeast in it and put an airlock on top. Let it ferment and then add priming sugar to the batch and bottle it.
 

Chalkyt

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As Rick Stephens suggests, cider making is reasonably simple so buy a good reference book. My preferred reference is The New Cidermaker's Handbook (Claude Jolicoeur) followed by Craft Cidermaking (Andrew Lea). They are similar but different and it is worthwile having both , but there are others that I am sure are just as good as suggested above. Have a good read of the stickies at the top of the Forum.

Rather than adding sugar to each bottle for carbonation, you will get more consistent results across the bottles from adding the sugar (or even apple juice concentrate) into your bulk secondary cider just before you bottle ( a sugar syrup is easy, and I measure the change in SG to know when I have added enough... about 0.005 increase will result in around 2.5 volumes of CO2 which is about right). In any case the sugar will be consumed by the residual yeast and be converted to CO2 and alcohol so you will end up with a dry carbonated cider with little if any sweetness.

If you want sweetness you can add a non fermentable sweetener such as Stevia, Xylitol, etc but these can have some downside in terms of taste, gastro effects, etc. An alternative is to heat pasteurise to stop fermentation at a SG that equates to the level of sweetness that you want. This isn't too hard to do but you need to understand the process so do a forum search of "Heat Pasteurisation", "Carbonation" etc. This has been a popular subject over the past year or so and there have been lots of posts.

As a guide, Andrew Lea suggests that a final SG of 1.015 will give you a medium sweet cider, 1.010 is medium dry, and I like around 1.005 but it is up to individual tastes. You need to bottle about 0.005 above these levels then pasteurise when the desired carbonation is reached. There are several ways to monitor this which are covered in the various posts.
 

madscientist451

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Let your apples "sweat" for 4-8 weeks after you pick them, they'll soften up the flavors will develop a little better.
Build a cheap press like this:

Your cider will make itself, you don't have to add yeast but wine yeast or beer yeast will work.
 
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bernardsmith

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Hi Suus, and welcome. It's not clear to me - and I may have missed this - that you are making cider with apples - which first need to be crushed and then pressed or whether you have a source of apple juice - whether filtered or not, and if you do then the first thing you need to check is whether the juice has added chemicals to increase its shelf-life. If these chemicals include sorbates then that makes it too challenging to ferment. If the juice has simply been UV pasteurized that is perfect. And it is perfect because all you need to do is create a little headroom in the container and add (pitch) a packet of wine or ale yeast. That's it. After about two or three weeks you will have cider.
That cider will be brut dry (and I would check that it is with an hydrometer) and if you want the cider to be sparkling then add about the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar for each beer bottle of cider you have (if carbonating you need bottles and caps that can take the pressure of the gas). I would taste the cider to determine if it is acidic enough for you. If not add some malic acid. Taste too for tannins (mouth puckering effect). If insufficient tannins (and great European ciders are made with apples with lots of tannin) then bench test as you add tannin - to the bulk and not to each individual bottle).
But remember you cannot really make a cider that is BOTH sparkling AND sweet. Commercially , it can be done but then the commercial cider makers either force carbonate their sweet cider or they use filters to remove every last cell of yeast after the cider has been carbonated and then they back sweeten...
 
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