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How to get started in Cider. The definitive(ish) guide to beginner'

Cider

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#21 Judanero

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 02:58 PM

Has anyone steeped some crystal malt and added that to get a bit of sweetness? would that even work?

 

I've never brewed a cider but promised the missus I'd make her one for when she's stopped breast feeding, so figure I should get onto it.

 

Cheers



#22 Airgead

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:08 PM

That could work. You will get some unfermentables out of crystal. Never tried it myself though as the missus hates the taste of malt in a cider.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

Edit - and BTW - if you have a new sprog, even cider probably won't help get you laid. :unsure:


Edited by Airgead, 14 May 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#23 Judanero

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:31 PM

 if you have a new sprog, even cider probably won't help get you laid. :unsure:

 

Damn... this was supposed to be my fool proof plan.  :lol:



#24 fletcher

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:34 PM

i just used US-05 yeast for my cider (apple juice, pear juice, honey, tiny bit of lemon juice and tea) and had a quick gravity/taste test this morning. it's been fermenting at 16C and has been fermenting since 05/05. it was sitting at 1.011 (started at 1.048). can i expect this to get lower? i'm hoping it doesn't as it currently tastes amazing. won't kill me if it does and gets drier - although i tried using an ale yeast to prevent this if possible.



#25 Airgead

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 04:15 PM

i just used US-05 yeast for my cider (apple juice, pear juice, honey, tiny bit of lemon juice and tea) and had a quick gravity/taste test this morning. it's been fermenting at 16C and has been fermenting since 05/05. it was sitting at 1.011 (started at 1.048). can i expect this to get lower? i'm hoping it doesn't as it currently tastes amazing. won't kill me if it does and gets drier - although i tried using an ale yeast to prevent this if possible.

 

Ciders will usually ferment dry regardless of the yeast. As long as the strength isn't above the alcohol tolerance of the yeast it will go dry. Ale yeast tends to handle up to 12% or so and your 1.048 isn't even close so I'd expect some further movement. It may be that you juice was low in nutrients and you have a very slow or completely stalled fermentation.

 

I'd check the gravity a couple more times a few days apart. If the reading is steady its probably stalled. If its still moving then its just slow.

 

If its stalled, you could bottle it up. Be careful though as a stalled fermentation isn't the same a a stopped one. Something, even the addition of priming sugar or the agitation of bottling could wake the yeast back up again. Or it might not. Stalled fermentations give me the heebie jeebies.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

Edit - missed the fact that you used pear juice. That can apparently add unfermentables. So you may not go completely dry. I'd still check the gravity a few times though.


Edited by Airgead, 14 May 2013 - 04:16 PM.


#26 mikec

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 04:40 PM

Great little guide.

 

FYI Oztops will leave you with a carbonated cider, doing it in a juice bottle with the lid loose will not.

The top lets out just enough CO2 to prevent the bottle exploding, but holding enough pressure to maintain carbonation.

Different caps for different bottle types. Low pressure with low carbonation for juice bottles, medium/high pressure and medium/high carbonation for soft drink bottles.



#27 fletcher

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 05:53 PM

Ciders will usually ferment dry regardless of the yeast. As long as the strength isn't above the alcohol tolerance of the yeast it will go dry. Ale yeast tends to handle up to 12% or so and your 1.048 isn't even close so I'd expect some further movement. It may be that you juice was low in nutrients and you have a very slow or completely stalled fermentation.

 

I'd check the gravity a couple more times a few days apart. If the reading is steady its probably stalled. If its still moving then its just slow.

 

If its stalled, you could bottle it up. Be careful though as a stalled fermentation isn't the same a a stopped one. Something, even the addition of priming sugar or the agitation of bottling could wake the yeast back up again. Or it might not. Stalled fermentations give me the heebie jeebies.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

Edit - missed the fact that you used pear juice. That can apparently add unfermentables. So you may not go completely dry. I'd still check the gravity a few times though.

 

cheers mate, yeah i usually check my brews once before 2 weeks to see if they're on track, and likewise, this was my one test before that 2 week date. i've read as many threads as i can - should have realised i'd get lower than 1.011 from all that reading..but i was hoping haha.

 

will definitely check it again, and might increase the temperature up from 16 to try and rouse the little buggers and see what happens. if it's just a slow ferment then no worries there. i'll wait it out and test every few days as you say. worst case, i have lactose to use before bottle conditioning.



#28 JDW81

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 06:00 PM

 i'll wait it out and test every few days as you say. 

I'd leave it alone and test it in another two weeks. You've been fermenting for less than a fortnight. IMHO cider needs at least 3 weeks, but preferably 4 in the fermenter before packaging. 

 

If it finishes dry, back sweeten in the glass with juice, or leave it in the bottle for 12 months and watch those flavours mellow. IMHO cider needs a long, slow and cool condition before it really starts to come into its own.

 

JD.



#29 fletcher

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:36 PM

I'd leave it alone and test it in another two weeks... long, slow and cool condition before it really starts to come into its own.

 

JD.

 

sounds scarily similar to lagering for me. i'd do it, but i'd get way too impatient. it's only 10 litres too (kind of a test batch). damn being impatient! haha



#30 treefiddy

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:01 PM

Great little guide.

 

FYI Oztops will leave you with a carbonated cider, doing it in a juice bottle with the lid loose will not.

The top lets out just enough CO2 to prevent the bottle exploding, but holding enough pressure to maintain carbonation.

Different caps for different bottle types. Low pressure with low carbonation for juice bottles, medium/high pressure and medium/high carbonation for soft drink bottles.

 

 

I've tried a 2 L juice bottle with the lid cracked just enough to allow excess gas to escape. It worked fine, fair carbonation.

 

It did feel pretty ghetto though, but I do like to experiment.



#31 gc.camel

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:53 PM

Going to give a cider a go in a couple weeks when a fermenters freed up.

 

I was thinking a 10ish liter test batch incase it i don't like it!

 

7.2L Berri Apple Juice (3x 2.4L bottles)

2.55L Goulbourn Valley Pear Juice (3x 850mL tins)

Half a US05

and some lactose

 

Any thoughts on a good amount of lactose to start at. I was going to guess 100g. I don't like my cider too sweet but not too dry either :)

 

Once fermented could i just keep adding more lactose until i liked the result?


Edited by gc.camel, 14 May 2013 - 08:54 PM.


#32 JDW81

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:44 PM

sounds scarily similar to lagering for me. i'd do it, but i'd get way too impatient. it's only 10 litres too (kind of a test batch). damn being impatient! haha

Not quite, lagering is done at very cold temps, cider would be conditioned at cellar (or melbourne garage) temperatures.



#33 Airgead

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:05 AM

Yep. Cider was traditionally brewed at harvest time (autumn), conditioned over winder in cellars then served in the spring.

 

Mine tend to get 2-3 months at 8-10C to condition but then I make 40-50l each year for the missus which is exactly enough to last her right through the year until the new batch is properly conditioned and ready.

 

Cheers

Dave



#34 practicalfool

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

A little tip towards carbonating in a juice bottle for those that won't bother with oztops:

A. cider shouldn't be dry yet
B. there needs to be headspace in the bottle
C. squeeze out the air from the headspace and screw the cap on securely, place in door of fridge. Wait a day, the bottle should have reformed into the squeezing you did. It's carbed enough to drink. Works best with wine or champagne or other such 8-10C tolerant yeast.
D. how this works? Doors of most fridges aren't directly cooled, they are cooled through the depth of the shelves. This leaves them warmer than the rest of the fridge. Typically I'd leave the butter dish in the door. This is sort of ideal slow champagne fermentation territory. So, right yeast and bottle and you get gradual carbonation from sugars remaining in the juice. As a bonus, the cold helps yeast settle pretty well on the bottom of the bottle.
E. as a repeat reminder of Dave's warning, juice bottles aren't meant to be pressurised. I'd recommend never doing this outside a fridge or controlled environment. The weakest parts are the lids usually but it can also happen at the bottom where the rim the bottle stands on is worn out or the moulding that sews it together has a defect. Use common sense, use a new bottle if you do. Extra juicy juice bottles have these large grippy caps that I'd attest to the strength of by design that they don't break easily. I'd save a few caps for this kind of thing, sanitise and reuse.

Goes without saying but in the spirit of the guide, if you are fermenting in 20 odd juice bottles, why would you then bottle it on into smaller bottles? Is it worth the risk of infections and hassle. Rather put it all in a big fermenter and do a single ferment. Well, that's just pre-emptive advice.

#35 donburke

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:37 PM

I've pitched a cider on Monday

 

15L apple/pear juice (5 x 3L just juice apple/pear juice)

4L pear juice (5 x 850ml goulburn valley pear juice)

1 teaspoon yeast nutrient

2 x red star champagne yeast (rehydrated)

 

currently fermenting at 18 degrees, slowly

 

questions

 

1) is the ferment temp of 18 ok ? (red star champagne yeast has a range of 15 - 26) 

 

2) is there any benefit in leaving the cider on the yeast cake after final gravity, like we do in beer to clean up ?

 

3) if I crash chill, then keg, it might be too dry for my liking, so I might back sweeten with pear juice, if I do is there any chance of continued fermentation with the keg sitting at 3 or 4 degrees in my kegerator (yeast lower range is 15 degrees) ?

 

thanks



#36 kierent

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:47 PM

Going to give a cider a go in a couple weeks when a fermenters freed up.

 

I was thinking a 10ish liter test batch incase it i don't like it!

 

7.2L Berri Apple Juice (3x 2.4L bottles)

2.55L Goulbourn Valley Pear Juice (3x 850mL tins)

Half a US05

and some lactose

 

Any thoughts on a good amount of lactose to start at. I was going to guess 100g. I don't like my cider too sweet but not too dry either :)

 

Once fermented could i just keep adding more lactose until i liked the result?

 

I did a cider a couple of years back using lactose as a sweetener and from memory I used 200g in a 20L batch and it was quite sweet. Not as sweet as the commercial ones but I find them almost undrinkable. Also as you say, you can add lactose at the end to taste so maybe start with 80g. That's only from memory though, someone else may have better advice. I also used lemon juice and tea in mine which would change the characteristics a bit. 



#37 JDW81

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:54 PM

Going to give a cider a go in a couple weeks when a fermenters freed up.

 

I was thinking a 10ish liter test batch incase it i don't like it!

 

7.2L Berri Apple Juice (3x 2.4L bottles)

2.55L Goulbourn Valley Pear Juice (3x 850mL tins)

Half a US05

and some lactose

 

Any thoughts on a good amount of lactose to start at. I was going to guess 100g. I don't like my cider too sweet but not too dry either :)

 

Once fermented could i just keep adding more lactose until i liked the result?

Use the whole pack of yeast. Other than that looks fine to me. 

 

I'd be light handed with the lactose first time around. You can always sweeten with juice in the glass if it is too dry, but if you over do the lactose it will taste horrid.

 

JD



#38 Airgead

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

I've pitched a cider on Monday

 

15L apple/pear juice (5 x 3L just juice apple/pear juice)

4L pear juice (5 x 850ml goulburn valley pear juice)

1 teaspoon yeast nutrient

2 x red star champagne yeast (rehydrated)

 

currently fermenting at 18 degrees, slowly

 

questions

 

1) is the ferment temp of 18 ok ? (red star champagne yeast has a range of 15 - 26) 

 

2) is there any benefit in leaving the cider on the yeast cake after final gravity, like we do in beer to clean up ?

 

3) if I crash chill, then keg, it might be too dry for my liking, so I might back sweeten with pear juice, if I do is there any chance of continued fermentation with the keg sitting at 3 or 4 degrees in my kegerator (yeast lower range is 15 degrees) ?

 

thanks

 

1 - yes but I find that ciders are better if you go cooler and longer. I'd go with 15 personally but 18 should be fine.

 

2 - Depends a lot on the yeast. Yeast is a lot like kids. When they are finished with something, some will clean up. Others will make more mess.

 

3 - With that amount of pear juice its likely to be resonably sweet anyway. If really like lolly water, you can sweeten the keg and keep it cold. You will be fine. I do that quite often by adding a little honey (maybe half a cup) to the keg to add a really faint honey taste and touch of sweetness. Don't let it warm up though.

 

Cheers

Dave



#39 Airgead

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:24 PM

Use the whole pack of yeast. Other than that looks fine to me. 

 

I'd be light handed with the lactose first time around. You can always sweeten with juice in the glass if it is too dry, but if you over do the lactose it will taste horrid.

 

JD

 

Yep. You can add but can't take away. As lactose is unfermentable you might as well leave it out for fermentation and add to taste once finished.

 

Cheers

Dave



#40 donburke

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:28 PM

1 - yes but I find that ciders are better if you go cooler and longer. I'd go with 15 personally but 18 should be fine.

 

2 - Depends a lot on the yeast. Yeast is a lot like kids. When they are finished with something, some will clean up. Others will make more mess.

 

3 - With that amount of pear juice its likely to be resonably sweet anyway. If really like lolly water, you can sweeten the keg and keep it cold. You will be fine. I do that quite often by adding a little honey (maybe half a cup) to the keg to add a really faint honey taste and touch of sweetness. Don't let it warm up though.

 

Cheers

Dave

 

thanks for the response airgead

 

I don't normally drink cider, except I tried vinaceous forbidden fruit pear cider and I quite liked it, it wasn't as sweet as the Swedish varieties, and had a champagne like character

 

so that's what i'm trying to get, hopefully my choice of ingredients will get me something close

 

cheers







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