Results from juice, yeast and sugar experiments

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gilrain

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the temp change causes the volume of liquid to shrink, and can therefore cause suckback of water from your airlock into your beverage
Aha, hm. Yeah, that makes sense.

Well, the water in my air locks is sanitized with no-rinse sanitizer... how long does the sanitizer stay active? I don't actually know what brand. I use Star San, now, but this was a white, powder sanitizer that came with my first brewing kit, unlabeled aside from "Use 1 tbs per gallon. No rinse necessary."

Will this be okay, or should I prioritize getting a solid stopper?

Edit: actually, how long does Star San stay active, too? I know it's an acid-based sanitizer, and my experience with finicky aquariums is that acid-water mixtures don't stay acidic for long, due to "buffering."

Edit 2: nevermind, found some great threads on Star San. Apparently, it has a long shelf life, even diluted. Nice. Not sure about the generic stuff currently in my airlocks, though.
 

Kurt_S

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Let me clarify.
I always fermented until the yeast was done, and then backsweetened (to about 1.015-1.018) - same as I do with meads. (I'll try cold crashing this year.)
I generally use Nottingham and I bulk age the batches, often for almost a year. I'm just now bottling last year's cysers. Most of my batches are flavored - raspberries, cherries, lemon spice, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.
So we have very different techniques. :)

But other brewers (more worldly and well-read than I) have also confirmed that CO2 will inhibit fermentation. I don't think it will stop fermentation, but if you have knocked back the yeast (via either no more sugar or via removing them), it will inhibit their reanimation. It's not an artifact of kegging, cause I often force carbonate my small batches in 2-liter pop bottles. Bigger batches I keg and then bottle.

Pretty sure Nottingham was in the batch that restarted (outside chance it was Cotes de Blanc). Not every bottle restarted, but enough to be an issue.
The fridge batch was wild yeast - it was supposed to be drank fresh but it wasn't. Not great - I won't let that happen again.

I've never added anything before ferment. I've also generally don't add anything at the end either, though that is in flux. I was going to starting adding things after the restarted ferment. But now I will try your cold crash technique.
Also, if I do a (second?) cold crash in the keg, I can suck up the yeasties on the bottom with the first pourings. Then carb and bottle. Btw, I don't counterpressure fill - I just make sure it's really cold.

So you are thiefing out a half-pint at a time to check the gravity? I assume you're not putting that back in the batch.
I like the brew-ball concept, but I need to first figure out where I like ciders done with your technique. 1.010 would be normally a little dry for me, but it sounds like there's more to it than just a number.

I also found that cinnamon is a great way to keep more apple flavor. I don't understand how/why, but I added one stick in one gallon 4 months into the ferment. I just backsweetened and bottled it (yes, it was 10 months old at that point!). It was amazing. Not much cinnamon, but tons of apple in the nose and flavor. I'll experiment more this season.
I also juiced a bunch of crabapples this year and need to figure out how those fit in.

I'd guess the DME is adding some nutrients, hence the issues that you had with it.

My sister lives in Crozet - I'll bring some ciders along the next time I visit her.
 
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CvilleKevin

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I use a Fermtech wine thief - the hydrometer goes inside the unit. I usually save the last ounce or two for a taste sample
http://www.homebrewit.com/aisle/p/5432

I've been thinking about adding cinnamon to a test batch - sounds like another good reason to do this.

Also in the interesting adjuncts dept - this last batch I added some raspberries that I got from a friend. But instead of adding them to the secondary, which is what I usually do, I added them to the primary, a few days before I was planning to crash. I figured that crashing would help get rid of the raspberry pulp, which is usually a PIA to get out of the cider. For a couple of days, the raspberry pulp stayed at the top of the carboy, which is what it usually does. Then it sank to the bottom, totally clearing the carboy as it sank. It looked as if I had crashed it, but it was just from the raspberries.

I dont want to bash the DME too much - it didnt really have the effect I was going for, but tasted pretty good in its own right. I split a grolsh with a buddy a couple weeks ago and he liked it better than the cider. I'm going to drink a couple bottles this weekend with some more friends, and if it gets a similar reaction, I'll probably do a keg of it for the next round of juice, even though I wasnt all that crazy about it.

Definitely let me know the next time you are visiting your sister and we can drink a few
 

ChemEMc

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I wound up buying that same thief exactly because of this first batch of cider, it was more than worth it.

My batch hit about 1.008 on Monday, and i racked it and stuck it in the fridge, today i noticed what was left in the air lock (i used iodophor water, so it should be fine) was frozen, along with a bit of the cider, but I'm not too worried, yeast should be good and inactive now! Going to rack into keg tonight and carbonate. I tasted at 1.020, and it tasted great and not so hard, at 1.008 it tasted pretty strong, and still great, but very different, not complaining, just informing. I think the girlfriend would have liked it better at 1.020, but i think there will be more for me how it is now :)

On the airlock; i went with leaving it on in the fridge because i put a stopper on my glass carboy as i was cleaning the plastic one i was about to rack into and the stopper shot about 8 feet in the air about 5 minutes after i put it on. I might give it a try with the plastic BB next time. Another option from this almost sister-thread (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/man-i-love-apfelwein-14860/) was to put vodka in the air lock, so if it gets sucked in, there's really no worries. And if you leave it on in the fridge some WILL get sucked in.
 

gilrain

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I used an S-shaped air lock in the fridge, and I checked it several times in a 24 hour period. The water level was always pushed up the exit side of the S. If I had gotten any suckback, wouldn't the water level have shifted to the other side, since it would now be tending to push into the fermenter, not out?

As a result, I feel pretty confident I didn't get any suckback. Also, my SG dropped a final .002 in the time it took to cool in the fridge, so I feel like a solid stopper might have shot out...

Maybe the difference is that CK tries to ferment at about 60 degrees? Mine entered the fridge at about 70, so it would've been more active from the get-go.
 

ChemEMc

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I have no experience with the S shaped ones, but your logic sounds right. My guarantee of getting suck back was not to be taken literally (i have done this exactly once), but for planning purposes one should always assume it's a given. Plan for the worst.

After crashing in the fridge for 2.5 days, and thawing for 1/2 a day (woops...) i racked into a keg last night and sampled, and boy did the flavor change. It tastes more like the sample i tried at 1.020, the sweetness came back and alcohol taste was still there but much less pronounced, should have let it go dryer for my tastes, but the gf loved it. I'm hoping carbonating it will counter the sweetness a bit. I did not take another sg reading.
 

wcarter1227

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Going from a 6 gal carboy to 1 gallon jugs is a little unconventional, but I dont see why it wouldnt work. If you have the gallon jugs and havent pitched the yeast yet, you might want to just start with gallons - that way you can experiment a bit with different yeasts, sugar, sgs etc.

As far as getting close to a JK Scrumpy - thats a tough one. Here's a thread on doing a clone https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/anyone-sucessfully-done-jk-scrumpys-clone-125852/

JKS is not easily replicated. Its a natural ferment done at lager temps with a great apple mix (Northern Spy, Cortland and Jonathan) that has been intentionally nitrogen limited and probably sweated to increase sugar content. SG is 1.024 but it doesnt taste all that sweet because the flavor from the natural yeast is so intense that it balances the sugar.

The closest I've had to a JKS was made by the guy who runs the cider mill I use. He used unpasteurized Stayman juice and left it in a 50 gallon barrel in an unheated shed over the winter.

I've had mixed results with natural ferments. I've had some really good ones, but they are a lot of work to keep stable and then crash unless you have a lagering setup. At this point, I've pretty much made up my mind only to do gallon batches for natural ferments from now on, because doing keg batches is so much work. Besides which, I only have a handful of friends who really appreciate a natural ferment. For most folks, a keg of S04, US05, Notty or 3068 really hits the spot, and these are much, much less work.

If you can get good unpasteurized juice, then I'd recommend experimenting around with some ale and wheat yeasts to see what you like. Dont add campden because the natural yeast is what gives JKS and similar farmhouse ciders the distinctive taste.

Wheat yeasts are probably the best for getting the wild flavor because they ferment so slow that the wild yeast leaves a pretty good imprint before the cultured yeast takes over. And the cultured yeast is a lot easier to crash, so you sort of get the best of both worlds. 3068 is more like a Normandy cider. JKS is a little heaver tasting, and I would say the heaviest tasting of the wheat yeasts is the WLP380, bumped up with a little sugar.

Personally, I like something a little lighter - for all the authenticity of a JKS or Normandy cider, its hard to beat S04 crashed at about 1.010 or so. You cant crash the ale yeasts too high though. Above 1.012 or so, they get a sort of sticky sweet taste. Wheat and natural yeasts you can crash at 1.020 or even 1.030 without them tasting overly sticky
Kevin
i just picked up 2 gallons of organic apple juice that i found at whole foods. I looked on the back and it said no preservatives, just apples. It says they have been pasterized, not sure if by heat or uv.

My question is if i let them warm up to room temp and slap an airlock on them will they pick up any wild yeast activity?

secondly, i liked the thought of of using wyeast 3068 or the wlp380 but of course i didnt go to the lhbs for yeast cause i have a fridge full of wlp001 and also nottingham.

Have you tried any batches with the wlp001 and if so how did they turn out and secondly since im going gallon batches do i just pitch the whole contents into the juice or do i divide them up?

I havent decided if im using the notty or not but i want to make sure i dont over pitch.

also if im going for that skrumpy kind of wild flavor, can i let the wild yeast if any present start for a few days and then throw in some other yeast or would i be bettter off just using wild yeast or cultured yeast?

my last batch of cider came out horrible. i used wyeast 4766 and found this thread afterwards. seeing that not many people were a fan should have been a clue. it left the cider so dry and left no flavor at all. we drank half of it but could only drink it when mixing it with fresh cider and it took a lot to get that apple flavor back. sugars did nothing just gave it a sick sweet taste.
 
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CvilleKevin

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WCarter - any wild yeast that was on the apples in the orchard will have been killed by the pasteurization process. You might get some wild yeast activity from whatever yeast happens to be in your kitchen, but that would be unlikely to come out well.

I havent used wlp001. Notty will do a good job. If you crash it before it hits 1.010 it will taste really good. You might even want crash it higher, depending on taste. JKS is 1.024.

You can pitch a whole packet/vial if you want. The yeast will multiply anyway, so you cant really overpitch. You dont need to use that much tho. I've used as little as 1/5 of a packet and it worked fine, so you can pitch 1/3 or 1/2 and save some. I know saving half packets/vials is not recommended but I've never had a problem doing that for test batches as long as you seal it up quick and use the rest fairly soon.
 

wcarter1227

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i just pitched my apple juice and yeast. i took a gravity reading and it was 1.040 so i added some sugar to boost the og. i added a bit too much and got the new og up to 1.080. by stopping around 1.025 give or take should be about 7.21% abv. hopefully the sweetness will balance out the alcohol. probably should have added half the amount of sugar.

on the bright side since i pitched the whole packet of yeast about 2 hours ago there is already a small layer of bubbles building on the surface and its got the orange funky haze to it already.

just got to remember to keep checking the gravity every couple days. i dont want to make rocket fuel.
 

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Hey Kevin,

I'm doing 12 gallons of cider tomorrow with S-04. My celler is 58-60 degrees now. Do you think that will be too cool? How much foaming have you been getting with S-04? I have a 15 gallon fermenter and would go more than 12.5 if the 04 isn't going to blow off too much. Love you info on cider. I read the whole thread tonight. Awesome read!
 
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CvilleKevin

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S04 does great at 58-60. You might want to start it a little warmer if you can, but I've started at lower temps before with no problems. S04 produces very little foam, although that is somewhat juice dependent. I pour off a little less than a quart from my 6 gal carboys and that is plenty of headspace. You could go at least to 14 gal.
 

wcarter1227

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Cville Kevin,

im started another 1 gallon test batch tonight. i bought my favorite store bought cider:rockin: and after pitching my starter of wlp001 i realized it had potassium sorbate:(:. Im hoping that it takes off. this cider doesnt taste like sorbate and has a very nice natural apple taste to it. i read on a few sites that if one makes a big enough starter and depending on the amount of sorbate that the yeast may be able to take hold of the juice and start fermenting. My question is will this give any off flavors if the yeast can ferment the juice?:mug:

Also im going to a local orchard and they said they will fill my carboys up with fresh cider and will sell it to me unpasterized, my question is i know there is a big scare about pathegens such as ecoli etc being present in the fresh cider, will these be a threat after fermentation? I'm really looking forward to this cause i want that wild yeast flavor to make an imprint on my cider before the cultured yeast takes over but i dont want people to be getting sick?

i dont really want to throw in campden tablets if i dont really have to.
 

Kurt_S

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my question is i know there is a big scare about pathegens such as ecoli etc being present in the fresh cider, will these be a threat after fermentation?
E. coli only comes from animal feces. If they are using picked apples, it's highly unlikely to have any. If they are ground fallen, then there's a very minor chance. If they wash them before they press them, then that goes way down.
But to answer the other part: if, by winning a lottery, you did have E. coli in the cider, I have no idea what would happen....

I have 11 gallons going right now, all with about .75 # of honey per gallon (1.067).
3 - S04
3 - Nottingham
5 - S04 with 2 stick cinnamon

I need to try playing with some of the crapapple juice and see how that changes the profile.
 
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CvilleKevin

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wcarter - I've never had much luck trying to ferment out juice with sorbate. It always fermented out but tasted nasty. Others have had OK results. I think it might help to repitch in the middle of the ferment so that there are fresh yeast cells working on the cider. Good luck.

You dont have to worry about e-coli if you are making hard cider. The alcohol will reduce e-coli to negligible levels. This was reported in the journal of food safety in 1996. I think you have to pay for the study, but here is a link to the abstract. Bottom line "alcoholic fermentation of fresh cider is an effective means of destroying this pathogen"
http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2577265

Kurt - looks good. Crabapples are often good for the mix, I dunno about crapapples tho ;)
 
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CvilleKevin

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The weekend before last, some friends came over to check out this season’s experimental batches. We checked out 4 DME batches, 13 wheat and pilsner yeast batches and 2 batches from last year, so 19 liters total on the menu, plus a few extras that we drank afterwards for good measure. It was a pretty good crowd and 19 folks were kind enough to fill out rating sheets. Overall, it was one of the best tastings so far.

The juice was mostly from two pressings this Fall: The first was a mix of Cortland, McIntosh, Gala, Jonathan, pressed on 9/14/09 with an OG 1.050 and pH 3.7. The second was a mix of Stayman, York and Empire, pressed 10/8/09 OG 1.054, pH 3.9. All batches were unpasteurized juice with no k-meta. Most were gallon batches, cold crashed and bottled right afterwards



Here are the ciders with (average scores – rated 1-10, with 10 highest) and [overall ranking] for top five

DME batches – all one gallon batches from the 9/14 pressing. All were cold crashed after 6 days of fermentation

(4.86) – 6oz light malt, S04 ale yeast, fg 1.006
(4.69) – 6oz dark malt, Nottingham ale yeast, fg 1.004
(6.91) – 6oz light malt,, US05 ale yeast, fg 1.012
(6.09) – 6oz dark malt, US05 ale yeast, fg 1.010

These 4 DME batches were the best of the 15 batches that I made. Of these, the US05 came out the best. The one with the light malt had a little bit of fizz, so the cold crash didn’t completely stop that one. All of them were fairly cloudy. At this point the DME batches were about 6 weeks old and hopefully will continue to improve, although at this point, not much to write home about.

Wheat/Pilsner batches – All of these were one gallon batches from the 10/8 pressing, except for the first one, which was a keg batch from the 9/14 pressing. This recipe is one of the regular crowd favorites, so I considered it the one to beat as far as the wheat yeast batches were concerned. The others were crashed to taste, from 6 to 21 days after pitching the yeast:

[2] (8.32) – 24oz Turbinado, 12oz Dextrose (keg batch), Wyeast 3068 fg 1.026
[4] (8.21) – No sugar. Wyeast 1010, fg 1.010
(6.68) – 7 oz wildflower honey, Wyeast 3638, fg 1.010
[1] (8.38) – No sugar. Wyeast 3056, fg 1.012
[5] (7.91) – 4oz Turbinado, 2oz Dextrose. Wyeast 3333, fg 1.020
(6.91) – 7 oz wildflower honey, WLP380, fg 1.008
(7.41) – No sugar. Wyeast 3638, fg 1.012
(7.69) – 4oz Turbinado, 2oz Dextrose. Wyeast 3942, fg 1.010
(6.56) – 7 oz wildflower honey, Wyeast 3056, fg 1.004
(7.47) – No sugar. Wyeast 2001, fg 1.012
[3] (8.28) – 4oz Turbinado, 2oz Dextrose. WLP380, fg 1.014
(7.13) – 7 oz wildflower honey, Wyeast 1010, fg 1.010
(7.36) – 7 oz wildflower honey, Wyeast 3333, fg 1.018

The 3056 batch barely edged out the previous crowd favorite 3068, with the 1010 and WLP380 close behind. Its worth noting that the 3068 was keg carbonated while the others were still – they probably would have scored higher if they had been carbonated.

The 12 wheat and pilsner batches were from a total of 21 test batches. During the World Series, a buddy and I sampled a grolsh of each and these 12 were the ones that made the first cut. The others may get a bit better with age.

None of the batches with honey scored very high, although there were a couple that I thought were pretty good (the 1010 and 3638). In retrospect I should have used an orange blossom honey instead of wildflower for the wheat yeast cisers. Wildflower works well with the ale yeasts but doesn’t seem to fit the wheat yeasts very well.

The 3638 and 3333 wheat yeasts were the most clear, followed by the 3943, 3056 and 380, and then the rest. The 3333, 3942 and 2001 fermented the fastest, followed by 3056, then the 1010, 3638 and 380. The 380 took the longest to start fermenting and needed a blowoff tube. The 1010 also needed a blowoff tube

I liked the taste of the 2001 – it was a little more distinctive than the others, but unfortunately it picked up some sulfur in the bottle, which depressed the score. This one stank a bit when it was fermenting – it was the only one that did. At bottling time the smell had cleared up and it smelled and tasted great, but the sulfur smell came back after a couple weeks in the bottle. I think this one would have scored a lot higher if it had been a keg batch, because I could have scrubbed it. I’ll probably do a keg batch with it later in the season, even though it didn’t make the top 5.

The last two bottles in the tasting were some dry batches from last year. These were both keg batches:

(7.08) York and Fuji apples, Pressed 1/5/09, 1 ½ lb Basswood and 1 ½ lb Clover honey, S04 ale yeast, fg 1.002
(6.08) Stayman and Winesap apples, Pressed 10/30/08, 1 lb Turbinado ½ lb Dextrose, Wyeast 4184 meade yeast,

Both have improved since last summer and got better scores. As dry ciders go, they were great. They got a lot of 9’s and 10’s from a few folks who like dry ciders, but the majority of folks didn’t care much for them and they didn’t even get close to breaking into the top 5

I’ll be getting more juice in another week and will definitely make some more keg batches with a few of these wheat yeasts. As far as experimental batches go, I got 8 different dry yeasts that I ordered from the UK which arent available in the US, so I’ll be checking those out, along with some other dry yeasts.
 

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Kevin. It's Pete. Thanks again for having us over for that tasting. It was great. The wheat yeasts definitely mesh well with cider. Those were some pretty tasty ciders.

I have a question though. How come you never use brown sugar? Does it leave a weird lingering flavor? With that cider I'm getting next week I was gonna do 2lbs of brown sugar with WLP300 and hopefully get some of that appley, banana-ey, molassas-caramel flavor.
 
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CvilleKevin

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Hey Pete - no reason not to use brown sugar. It will definitely give you the molasses - caramel flavor, which a lot of people like.

So far, I've mainly stuck with the turbinado/dextrose mix because it tastes the most like apple sugar, so is the most neutral when it ferments out. My goal has been to capture the apple flavor and try not to add much to it, other than with some honey now and then.

I guess thats because I came from a wine background, where the goal is to get the flavor out of the grape without a lot of interference (even though a lot of the flavors come from the barrels) - as opposed to beer making, which is a lot more wide open in terms of adding flavors. Also because I still have a backlog of about 20 different yeasts that I want to try and I can only wrap my head around one or two variables at a time.

One of these days I'll probably experiment with adding some different flavors - brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, oaking , etc. Maybe next season, maybe earlier if your batch comes out really good.
 

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S04 does great at 58-60. You might want to start it a little warmer if you can, but I've started at lower temps before with no problems. S04 produces very little foam, although that is somewhat juice dependent. I pour off a little less than a quart from my 6 gal carboys and that is plenty of headspace. You could go at least to 14 gal.
Hey CK,

I made my 14 gallons, boosted with dextrose ans honey, OG was 1.068. Pitched 3, 11g sachetes of S-04. It has been 2 weeks almost and it is only at 1.022. It has been fermenting around mid 60's. When I checked the gravity it was at 67 degrees, so that should be about the right temp. Never used 04 before, the sample tasted fantastic. Do you think it will go down some more? What should I do? No activity in the airlock, but that doesn't mean there isn't activity. Thoughts?
 
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CvilleKevin

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I've had S-04 batches take as long as 4-5 weeks to ferment out once the temps get cool. Using honey also makes it take a little longer, so 1.022 after 2 weeks at mid 60s is probably fine.

You might want to give it another week if its at 1.022, but if you like the taste, you could crash it now. For my taste and the juice I get, S-04 is still a little sticky sweet tasting until it gets below 1.015 or 1.010, but it could be that with your juice that is a good sg for drinking. 1.022 is about right for a pub style sweet cider with about 5-6% abv like Woodchuck, Original Sin, etc.

Its possible that the sg could stick at 1.022 on its own, but that would be unusual. S-04 does seem to use more nutrients than other yeasts, which I think may be one of the reasons that it is fairly easy to cold crash, so if you were starting with a juice that didnt have a lot of nitrogen, maybe it could stick on its own at 1.022. I have been able to get 3068 to stick above 1.020 on occasion.

What type of juice did you use?

If its really stuck and you wanted it a little less sweet, you could add just a tiny bit of DAP - but you would want to be careful not to add too much so that it goes all the way dry (or else you would have to cold crash it).

I have thought about inducing a stuck fermentation and then using a tiny bit of DAP to bottle condition (since the cider would already have the yeast and sugar, it should need just a tiny bit of nutrient for the yeast to process a little more of the sugar), but I have no idea how much DAP you would need to get just a little more carbonation but not too much.
 

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I'll wait and see were it is in a few weeks. I've always used wine yeast. S-04 leaves so much more apple taste. The juice was not fresh pressed. It is only apple, not from concentrate, or anything else. Got a great deal on it for $1.80 a gallon. 14 gallons for under $35 I'll take that. I'm in no hurry, but 1.022 looked a little high. Thanks, no matter where it finishes, it will be my best yet. I really like the S-04 yeast.
 
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CvilleKevin

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sounds good! - if you like the way it tastes after 2 weeks, you might not want to let it go too far before tasting again - maybe every 2-3 days until it is where you really want it.

S-04 will usually take it down to 1.000, but IMHO below about 1.005 it loses a lot of the apple taste and around 1.008 to 1.012 seems to about the right balance of residual apple sugar for the juice I use. You might want it a little higher or lower.
 

eeebigeee

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I just pitched WLP550 (Belgian Ale). I've been wondering how Belgian strains would do so I just did a single gallon. Let you know in a few weeks
 
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CvilleKevin

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I picked up 60 gal of juice on Tuesday. The pressing was 50% Stayman and 50% Pink Lady. Tasted great! Sg was 1.057, pH 3.8. Unpasteurized, no k-meta. 8 keg batches and 14 experimental batches



The above pic is a couple of hours after pitching the yeast. The 8 carboys on the right are the new juice, with a couple from the last batch still clearing. The cider is still nice and dark. You can see how the two batches with honey have already started clearing in just a couple hours (3rd and 8th from the right).

Ferments started in a few hours and after three days, the ciders are considerably lighter. Three of the experimental batches needed blowoff tubes, as did the wheat, pilsner and DME keg batches. A few of the batches are a little stinky, but overall, it smells pretty good.



The experimental batches were all done with no added sugar, except for the 2001 pilsner, which has malt added. So far, the K97 batch smells the best. The 14 batches (with smell after 3 days) are as follows:

Morgans Ale yeast – nice light apple smell
Gervin English Ale yeast – light sulfur smell
Youngs cider yeast – nice light apple smell
Youngs Ale yeast – needed blowoff, smells good
Youngs lager yeast – needed blowoff, not much smell
Brupaks Ale yeast – nice overall smell, slight sulfur
Ritchies Real Ale yeast – needed blowoff, light sulfur
Ritchies Real lager yeast – faint apple smell
Safbrew T-58 yeast – light sulfur with a little apple
Vintners Harvest MA33 yeast – not much smell, very light sulfur and apple
RHST yeast – malty smell
Assmanhaussen yeast – faint apple smell
Safale K97 yeast – very nice apple smell
Wyeast 2001 (amber malt) – fairly sulfur with some apple
natural yeast – hasn’t started yet



The ale yeast keg batches smell great. These three had some really interesting looking krausen after 24 hours or so. After 48 hours the Krausen dropped. Left to right:

White Sage Honey, S04 yeast
No added sugar, S04 yeast
18oz turbinado, 9 oz dextrose, US05 ale yeast



The wheat, pilsner and DME batches all needed blowoff tubes after a couple of days and a few of these needed a change of water so that bubbles didn’t reform and come up through the top of the bottle. From left to right:

No added sugar, Wyeast 3068 – not much smell
No added sugar, Wyeast 1010 – a bit sulfury
Orange blossom honey, Wyeast 3638 – smells good
No added sugar, Wyeast 2001 – very sulfury
Amber malt, US05 – smells good

I knew going into this that the 2001 was going to be sulfury. The gallon batch that I did in the last round had a really nice apple taste, so I’m hoping it wont take too much effort to scub the sulfur smell
 

ChemEMc

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Your cider porn has me salivating!

Sadly my current batch of cider has me less than pleased. Can't really put a finger on what is off. Might have been the spices (mulling), might have been the yeast (really slow, maybe bad?, notty, didn't get a chance to check lot number). It smells really "yeasty" is really all i can say of it. And a little sweet for my taste (crashed it early to bottle in time for thanksgiving trip home). Everyone else really loved it though... I'm letting it sit and age carbed in the keg, might repitch yeast to take down the sweetness.

Anyway, my point of responding was actually to ask when the cider "season" ends here in Va. AKA, how long do i have before i am going to have a hard time finding fresh cider?
 

guscampag

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I have a 5-gallon batch going that I started about 2 months ago. SO-4 yeast with 2 lbs of granulated sugar. Started at 1.072. It has been really really slow fermenting and seems to have stopped at 1.020. It has been there a week or so. I was planning to bring it down to 1.010 or so as suggested but it doesn't seem to be getting there. This is my first attempt at cold crashing and keeping some apple flavor. I have not been very happy with my cider attempts in the past. Would it be a good idea to go ahead and rak, cold crash and bottle this stuff now? It tastes pretty decent.
Thanks for any input.
 

Kurt_S

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I have 11 gallons going right now, all with about .75 # of honey per gallon (1.067).
3 - S04
3 - Nottingham
5 - S04 with 2 stick cinnamon

I need to try playing with some of the crapapple juice and see how that changes the profile.
Interesting. They have been fermenting for 3 weeks. Temps were 60, but now about 55. They are going sslllow at this point. All have activity, but measure:
S04 - 1.024
Nott - 1.024
S04 w/ cinn - 1.030 (started a day or two later)

Taste fine, but I may try to find a slightly warmer location if they slow much more.
Picking up 10 gallons on Friday. Gotta decide the plan with them. Cranberry for 5 and maybe cinnamon in the other 5 - both added in the secondary I think.
 
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CvilleKevin

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EricMc - The presses in Central VA usually go until late December or early Jan. Last year I heard about a place that was pressing out of cold storage until early Feb (I dont remember the name - they were already out by the time I called them in late Feb)

guscampaq - If it tastes good at 1.020, you can always stop it there - that would actually be on the low side for a commercial pub cider. I personally like it a bit drier, but SWMBO and the majority of my friends like it sweeter. What are your temps? If below 60, you might want try warming it up and see if that helps. If not, you might want to add just a tiny amount of nutrient if you want it drier. I think that one of the reasons that S04 is easy to crash is that this yeast uses a lot of nutrient. For the juice I use, it will still take it down to 1.000 with no problem, but you may be using a juice that has less nutrient to start with. Only add a very small amount of nutrient, because if you add the recommended dose, it will be more difficult to stop the ferment.

Kurt - I find that my batches take about 4 weeks when basement temp gets to 60. At 55 it will be even slower. Generally, the slower the better. I did a batch with raspberries last month and it came out great. Its almost gone. Adding raspberries to the secondary is a PIA because the fruit breaks up and is hard to filter out, but I found that if I add them to the primary about 3-4 days before the crash, then the raspberry pulp gets filtered out as part of the crashing process, so doesnt take as much extra work and still imparts a lot of flavor.
 

guscampag

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Just one more question please.
Today's high is about 40 and the rest of the week in the 30's/ Night time lows are all in the 20's. Could I just put it outside for a few days to cold crash after racking? Or would the porch (unheated) be alittle bit better (it will be a little warmer).
Thanks again.
 
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CvilleKevin

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Using outside air to cold crash could work, but is a little unpredictable. If you dont have fridge space, you could always put the carboy in a keg bucket and fill with ice. I've done that a couple times and have a friend who does this all the time. Works great and you dont have to worry about your cider freezing. Only downside is $4 for a 25 lb bag of ice.
 

RugenBrau

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Kevin,
What amount of raspberries do you add to 5 gallons? Do you use fresh or have you tried frozen? Thanks
 
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CvilleKevin

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I add about a pound and have done both fresh and frozen. The best luck I've had so far was my most recent batch, where I added a pound of frozen, (but thawed and blended) raspberries a few days before the cold crash. The berries sank and cleared the cider really nice in the process
 

RugenBrau

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I've got 5 gallons just about ready for the secondary. I'll give it a try and keep you posted.
 

Kurt_S

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I used 2 pounds and 3 pounds of raspberries for a 3 gallon batch for 2 different batches.
I backsweetened and carbonated both. They came out different, but both versions won a bronze in the GLINTCAP (Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition).
 

jrss13

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This thread has such a wealth of information, it has really helped me get started with my cider. I initially made a 1 gallon batch using organic pressed apple juice from a health food store. It was convenient because it came in a 1 gallon glass carboy. I used S-23 yeast and added some sugar to get the SG to 1.060. I got anxious and racked and crashed it at 1.020, because my friend wants me to bring it over for New Years Eve.

I know I should have waited until it was closer to 1.004-1.010... but I wanted to make sure it was crashed and ready for Thursday night. No worries though, as I have another 1 gallon batch using Musselmanns cider and frozen concentrate (didn't measure OG) that has been going for 3 days, and a 6 gallon batch that I started last night using Musselmanns, frozen concentrate and sugar to get it to 1.062.

I just pulled it out of the fridge after being crashed for 72 hours, and racked it again to get rid of the yeast at the bottom of the carboy.

I am wondering what I should do with it now? As I mentioned, I am taking it to a friends house in 2 nights for New Years Eve. Should I put it back in the refrigerator until then with a standard screw on top? Should I put it back in the refrigerator until then with the airlock? Should I bring it back to room temperature with screw on top? Or should I bring it back to room temperature with airlock?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

wcarter1227

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Decided I wanted to make another batch of cider today. Went to the store and bought a 1 gallon batch of simply juice(apple). Has a pretty decent taste to it and tons of apple sediment in the bottom of the jug. I pitched Safale us-05 and of course knocked the bung into my carboy. I figured Ill just leave it there till I rack it and cold crash it. Not having another bung I sanitized a piece of tinfoil and poked a few pin wholes in it.

I took a hydrometor reading and OG was 1.052. I will report back in a few days on how progress is going
 
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CvilleKevin

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jrss13 - if you are going to drink the cider on NYE, you are probably OK no matter which way you go. I've found S23 to be tricky to crash, but as long as you dont put it under a heat lamp, you wont get enough fermentation from any residual yeast to cause a problem in 2 days. I'd put the screw top on and leave it at room temp for a while, hoping that there might be a little bit of residual fermentation, then put it back in the fridge tomorrow afternoon. If you were going to drink this say a month from now, I'd keep it at room temp with an airlock for a while to make sure it is stable before capping it, but two days wont be a problem either way.

BCLW - yep, that's a good reference. Another is:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/better-than-apfelwein-29003/

wCarter - good luck with the US05 batch. Tinfoil and holes will work OK while the cider is fermenting hard. Once it slows down, I'd recommend getting a new bung - it will be worth the 65 cents or whatever your LHBS charges. Bungs can sometimes have off flavors - there was a batch of fermenthaus bungs out a couple years ago that were really obnoxious smelling and the smell would transfer. FH seems to have got that straightened out recently so if you have a new bung, you should be OK.
 

ByCandleLightWinery

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Tinfoil and holes will work OK while the cider is fermenting hard. Once it slows down, I'd recommend getting a new bung - it will be worth the 65 cents or whatever your LHBS charges. Bungs can sometimes have off flavors - there was a batch of fermenthaus bungs out a couple years ago that were really obnoxious smelling and the smell would transfer. FH seems to have got that straightened out recently so if you have a new bung, you should be OK.
Some intro to wine making books talk about using a cotton-wool plug. The Joy of Home Winemaking even uses plastic wrap and a rubber band for the first batch. Some metals that come into contact with alcohol break down, and it messes with the flavor. I hope your tinfoil doesn't get condensation or accidentally fall in your batch.
 
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