Simple Cider with Nottingham - Fermentation Schedule

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I am going to pitch a very simple cider tomorrow evening; 6 gallons of pasteurized apple juice (no preservatives) and Nottingham yeast, no added sugar.

I've brewed with Nottingham before in ales - it seems to be done in a week or less and I generally leave the primary alone for 2 weeks before bottling. What can I expect for cider?

Nottingham has an expected attenuation of 72% in Brewer's Friend but I have heard that it can really dry out a cider (a good thing). How long will this take to drop clear in a 68F primary environment?
 

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Nottingham will take off slowly but surely in a low-sugar environment. You can expect a very attractive lacy krausen and lots of tiny little bubbles zipping up the sides. It's a good show. The actual primary is likely to be quite long (3 1/2+ weeks) and you might want to go by gravity instead of time.

I have made a number of ciders, all using Nottingham, and they never cleared appreciably after entering secondary. There are many additives you can use to encourage clearing. I've heard a dab of honey works, but I've never tried it. IMO, if you want clear cider the best bet is to use juice that is filtered first.

To allay any concerns you may have, 90% of homebrew ciders are probably made with Nottingham. It's a great yeast that treats apple flavor right and lasts to bottling for carbonation, while contributing little of its own flavor to the mix. It IS prone to going a little ape if it gets too warm, but that isn't a huge deal.
 
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I'm using filtered apple juice (Motts, no preservatives, only Vit. C/ascorbic acid).

How low will Nottingham take the SG? I have a hydrometer and will be taking gravity readings.

I'm going for a dry cider and was considering Montrachet if Nottingham wasn't suitable for that sort of attenuation. I'm assuming the quoted attenuation for Nottingham is for a typical beer wort with unfermentables.

I used Nottingham for the first time on my last ale and loved it. Great attenuation and flocculation. Good to know about the longer primary for ciders - I can plan accordingly.
 
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I pitched Nottingham on 6-gallons of straight juice, no sugar. I boiled 1/2 cup of chopped raisins and threw them in as well. Aerated the heck out of it and pitched at 70 degrees, OG was 1.050. Should be pretty happy little yeasty beasties.

The thing I love about brewing / cider / winemaking is that it is like sealing up a time capsule. "What is this going to look like in a few months?" is always the question. It's all about hope and belief in the future.

Yeah, I had a few while I was brewing - I get philosophical like that. :tank:

Thanks all for the advice.
 
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Day 5 and the airlock has puttered to a halt after four very vigorous days of fermentation. The airlock smells wonderful, tangy apple, no hint of sulfur or other nastiness. I gave the whole fermenter a good slosh to see if anything wakes up. I'll probably pull a sample tomorrow evening.
 
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Day 6 - SG is 1.013. I popped the lid to the fermenter and saw nothing but cloudy wort (must?) and bloated raisins covered with yeasts floating on top. No krausen at all, but thin streams of bubbles were still coming up everywhere. Smell was fabulous, no stink at all. Nottingham definitely doesn't ferment the same way in cider as it does in beer - the fermentation looks a lot like the Montrachet yeast in the apfelwein. I'm guessing that's because there aren't any starches to hold gas in a krausen.

I had a few ounces as a nice sampler - it's fabulous! I love how the fermentation thins the body and dries it out - this would be fantastic carbonated and chilled on a hot summer day. I hate apple juice and sweet drinks in general but I think I will love this.

I sorta wish I could stop it and bottle it now, but I want to let it dry out as far as it will go. If I like it completely dry then carbonation will be easy. I really don't want to get into the whole pasteurization nonsense. If I must I'll back sweeten with soda when I serve it, but I am really a fan of dry.

EDIT: Now that I put the lid and airlock back on I am getting a little activity. I think it could just use a good swirl every now and again to keep things moving.
 

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I'm on my second batch, a 2 gallon, and it's in secondary right now. It had seemed to slow down for a while in primary, and when I racked it to secondary it woke up a bit. It is still going pretty slow compared to my first batch.

On my first batch, a small one gallon one, I ended up waiting until it was at about 1.004, at three weeks, and then bottled it. I then did the stovetop pasteurizing thing, and it worked great for my taste! A couple of my guy friends liked it, but my wife thought it wasn't sweet enough.

I don't worry about cloudiness, myself. Can't please everyone!

EDIT: BTW, I used Nottingham, too.

Scott
 
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2 months after pitching the yeast and 3 weeks after bottling, here is my cider!

Nicely carbonated and even a bit of head (not sure how that is possible, but I won't complain). It's dry, but quite smooth. Almost like a mild ginger ale, with apple notes replacing the ginger. Has an acidic finish which might be the ascorbic acid - not a bad thing as it would be pretty bland otherwise. I think the raisins were a good idea; there is a tiny bit of sweetness & body that reminds me of the raisins. The Nottingham is pretty clean tasting - it tends to make cidery esters which really isn't a problem here. This is mighty nice chillled to just about 55F - much colder and the flavor disappears. For the investment of a few jugs of apple juice and a fist-full of raisins and some ale yeast, not a bad product!

If you have some carboys wasting space this is an easy and refreshing beverage to make, but some folks might like some more body. If I were to do it again I might try Graham's recipe just to bump up the body.

Thanks all!

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