Starting brewing with cider. Some questions.

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Levers101

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Hey all,

I've been itching to give homebrewing a try for a couple years now, and the other day I figured "What the heck, now is as good as any time."

I figured I'd start out with cider instead of beer because I figured I could get by with buying equipment as I go, specifically I didn't want to lay down $50 for a decent quality stainless pot for boiling wort along with a primary bucket and misc supplies.

My recipe, kludged from several I found online is as follows:

3 gallons of different brands of "apple cider" purchased at the local mega-mart, checked specifically to not have anything other than "apple juice from concentrate" or "apple juice" so I'm pretty sure I have no preservatives.

1.5 tsp pectic enzyme
3/4 tsp grape tannin
3/4 tsp yeast nutrient
~2 lbs table sugar
1 packet "Red Star Pasteur champagne yeast"

Soaked all components in NaOCl bleach for 1 hr.

I seem to have misplaced my kitchen thermometer so I was hesitant to activate my yeast in water with a temp I didn't know so I just pitched it into the room temp cider mix before lidding. 18 hrs later I see no signs of fermentation.

My question is: without activating my yeast what kind of time period am I looking at before I see signs of life (ie CO2 production)? (Using a opaque plastic bucket.) Should I just chill and wait or be concerned about my decision to not activate the yeast?
 

david_42

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I'd say 24-72 hours. Adding the extra sugar and not hydrating your yeast in water means the yeast has to fight a lot of osmotic pressure to start drawing water and sugars into the cells. Also, if you splashed the cider well, the yeast will go through a growth period before they start producing CO2.

2 lbs. of sugar in three gallons of cider will make for a long ferment. Plan on 4-6 weeks.
 
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Levers101

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david_42 said:
I'd say 24-72 hours. Adding the extra sugar and not hydrating your yeast in water means the yeast has to fight a lot of osmotic pressure to start drawing water and sugars into the cells. Also, if you splashed the cider well, the yeast will go through a growth period before they start producing CO2.

2 lbs. of sugar in three gallons of cider will make for a long ferment. Plan on 4-6 weeks.

Ah, makes sense about the hydrating the yeast and the osmotic pressure. Guess I need microbiology class...

Ouch... 4-6 weeks of fermentation? At what point should I rack to secondary then? And do I need to go through all that fermentation, or is there some way I can end up with a sweeter finished product?
 
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Levers101

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Cool... I got back after having a big test in one of my classes and looking in the closet and lo and behold what do I see but CO2 bubbling from my airlock. It must have started sometime in the afternoon. Great treat after a hard day!
 

Cap'n Jewbeard

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I'm relatively new to the cider-making racket, but I feel like if, with 2 lbs of sugar in... 3 gallons was it?... if he stops the fermentation at about 3-4 weeks it'll be somewhat sweeter, yes? Will it be drinkable, or nasty?

My roommate and I were willing to wait for our drunk, we did a 5 gal, christ it must have had 4.5 lbs of sugar, sat on it for 6 weeks, and it came out bone dry. We carbonated the heck out of it in the beer bottles and I told everyone it was "apple champagne." They seemed to believe that well enough, especially because otherwise they would have been expecting Mike's Hard (shudder).
 
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