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Undissolved Sugar Solids at the bottom of the hard cider? Airlocks question? Newbie. Pic attached.

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Sebass

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Good afternoon friends. I started my first ever batch of hard apple cider.

I have added 1 1/4 cup of white sugar per gallon of cider. I DID NOT DISSOLVE THE sugar in water first. It's settled at the bottom.

Will the yeast still find it and eat it and dissolve on it's own to create more alcohol then from juice sugar itself ? I'm going for ~12 ABV alcohol content.

I didn't want to dilute the cider and also potentially contaminate the batch with cooking the water in some pot. Just went easy route and my thinking is yeast will find food if it's hungry on bottom of the bottle?

I activated redstar premier blanc yeast in water and activated great. One bottle 30 min in started bubbling. Other two so far are not but patience is the key.
I'm planning to add to final product 100% juice apple/cherry from frozen concentrate and then bottle. I'm still not sure about how cheaply stop yeast from growing in bottles.

Also question on airlocks. I have filled airlock two compartments to max fill line HOWEVER the bottom portion of pipe that connects to rubber top contains no water whatsoever. Basically only those two twisty compartments are filled with water and rest is just air. It was hard to fill any other way.

Is that ok or the whole airlock up to max line needs to be filled with water?
 

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PT Ray

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I'd be really surprised if the sugar on the bottom doesn't get converted / dissolved before too long. It's not ideal but nothing the yeast shouldn't be able to handle with too much delay.

You wanting to add juice prior to bottling is called back sweetening. Traditionally you'd add metabilulfite and sorbate to halt refermentation. I've read that freezing the cider before back sweetening works to a certain degree. I've never tried the freeze method.

Before placing airlock in place, fill as shown. If you add the water while attached to jug, the water won't displace into both chambers. As pressure builds, water gets pushed to one chamber before burping. In the event there's a vacuum, water gets pulled to the other side. Don't overfill as some may get sucked in if there's ever a vacuum.
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Sebass

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Thanks a lot for tips. Rookie mistake with that sugar. I've started with yeast and should have started with sugar first.

I've used Red Star Premier Blanc as yeast, Yellow label. Entire packet of 5g for 2.5 gallons of juice.

One bottle almost in 2 hrs started going crazy sparkling Co2, probably cause it got most active yeast from top, althoguh i did mix it well before dumping it in. The slowest of all is that 1.75L bottle.

I also now i wish i started with Mead instead of cider but apple juice was on sale for $1 for 1/2 gallon so went for 4 of them. I happen to have 5 lbs of honey on hand anyway.

I've used 1 1/4 cups of sugar/gallon of juice or 0.60 cups of sugar in that 1.75l bottle. I'm going for max alcohol content for that yeast allows, which is from what i've read up to 18%? If i get anywhere 12% plus i will be happy with it.

I'm thinking of either back sweetening it with concentrated cherry apple juice which i already have or maybe buying frozen strawberries from Costco.
 
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Adding the sugar without dissolving it first is no biggie. It will dissolve in the cider, if not in the first hour or so, then for sure when the fermentation process starts mixing things.
After fermentation is finished, you can stop things with metabisulphite(camden) plus sorbate to stun the yeast, then backsweeten with the concentrate. This will give you a sweeter, but flat product. If you want some carbonation, then you can't use the sulphite/sorbate. Instead you would backsweeten and prime, then pasteurize the bottles when they reach the amount of fizz you're looking for.
 
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Sebass

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Jim thanks a lot for tip. Yes i want carbonation and lots of it if i can without blowing the bottles. 50-70g of sugar / gallon ?

I have found a method of using a cooler not pot for pasteurizing it as plastic has slow temp transfer so no blow ups in pot due to to fast transfer of temps by metal. Also if it blows up it will be contained in cooler and would dump the waste into toilet. No clean up. lol.

I regret not starting with mead. Seems like really cool product to try first. Especially that i never tried it before. Next batch will be mead. I don't have extra brewing vessels and don't want to waste anything so either i wait or buy some new vessels and start another batch. I think i'll wait.
 
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I use the cooler method of pasteurizing. It works, and I agree- less chance of bottles exploding during the process. Last year I had 1bottle in the batch whose cap blew off, but none of the others, and no bottle grenades.
I backsweeten and prime with one can of frozen apple juice concentrate for a 3 gallon batch and pasteurize after about 4 days. Bottle one in a soda bottle and you can tell easier when they are ready to be treated.
 
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Sebass

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Follow up question if you guys don't mind. I don't have hydrometer yet so i have no initial OG reading. I've ordered one but obviously for this brew i won't get initial reading. It appears already like yeast has chewed threw that sugar on bottom after one week. All i see now is yeast settlement on bottom, very thin layer of it.

I'm not looking for specific number but ball park, what would be estimated alcohol content of Best choice apple juice with added 1 1/4 lbs of white sugar to 1 gallon bottle be (ABV)?

I've used redstar premier blanc, yellow label yeast. Not sure if that matters or not. I've also used 5g for 2.5G of brew, so 2g of yeast per gallon.

From what i've read it's strong yeast. It says wine yeast on it but i've ready it's really Champaign yeast that's relabeled. Time for fermentation will be 2 week, or more if it needs more.

I may keep this as wine. I didn't decided yet. It will depend on the taste and dryness or sweetness of it. I prefer sweeter brews but i can't drink too much of them and I want to be able to drink more then less obviously. I'm not a fan of dry but maybe i can get use to it. I dunno. Thank you in advance.
 
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PT Ray

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I figure around 12.5-13.5% abv. Apple juice at 1.050, cane sugar 1.046 per pound per gallon yielding a 1.1075 starting gravity. For finishing gravity I'm feeling that a 1.005 is in the ballpark. This yields a 13.45% abv which I think is a best case scenario. Minimum, 12.5% range.
 
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