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First Time Cider

Discussion in ''Non Beer' Brewing' started by hazboticus, 2/12/14.

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  1. hazboticus

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    Posted 2/12/14
    Hi Everyone!

    I was hoping to get some advise on a first time cider brew, having read through the starter thread I started brewing with some decent know how I just wanted to sense check some steps with you lovely people before I go and ruin something.

    I started brewing a couple years ago for fun and understand most of the basics however I have never produced anything that I would say is 'good' so I am approaching this with a bit more science and planning but I am a bit stumped.

    Firstly the process so far so you have some idea of what's going on

    Recipie is;

    25 litres Apple Juice (coles Home brand - no sulphates)
    2 Litres Pear Nectar
    1kg Brown Sugar (dissolved in water)
    7 grams Cider Yeast (from Daves Home Brew Sydney)

    All ingredients were combined into a 30 litre vessel (properly sterilized with Isophor) shaken and left to ferment.

    First day had very little activity that progressively increased to a constant bubbling and even a bit of foaming at the top (enough headroom so there were no issues).

    The brew has been going for about 10 days and seems to have finished off the sugars - temperatures have been fluctuating between mid 20's and 30's over the period as it has been kept in the shed.

    Last night I went out to try a bit and it came out quite watery and dry and tasted almost entirely non-alcoholic - we were aiming for a solid 7-12% (I haven't taken my readings properly so that's a bit of an issue but will get a gravity reading tonight).

    Has any one had experience with this flavour issue? Is this normal? I have read that cider requires serious conditioning (3 weeks or more) before it has any hint of flavour however Im still not convinced.

    We are looking to back sweeten half the batch at bottling with a Lactose sugar syrup - aiming to hit a standard store bought level of sweetness (not that Swedish pear level) at a rate of 30 grams per litre. Has anyone had experience with this and can recommend a good amount of sugar to use?

    Many thanks,

    H
     
  2. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    The store juices have very little in the way of flavour once the sugar is gone.
    Conditioning will help a lot. 6 weeks minimum is a target I aim for.
    But you do get very subdued flavours straight after it's finished.
    However your hot temps may not be helping aswell as needing to add a good amount of yeast nutrient, as there is very little naturally in the juice
    I use GoFerm http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/nutrient_strains.php

    as for back-sweetening read the "Sweet Cider" thread below.

    Get on down to a farmers market, find an apple grower and buy their best cider juice.
    Even the juice from the normal eating/ juicing apples will be superior (and far cheaper) than using store bought stuff.
    So the "everyday" juice I can get is Jonagold + Fuji, but come the right time of the season I can get Orange Pippin and it's the real deal cider apple.

    Also the yeast plays a part.
    I started off with using EC1118 and DV10 Champagne yeasts. they are highly efficient at making alcohol, but don't promote any real flavour.
    I've switched to Lavlin 71B and it produces a much rounder, flavoursome drink, which gives the impression of sweetness.

    Forget sweet, convert your tastes to proper, natural tasting cider.
    Nothing but pure, fresh apple juice (with absorbic acid added) and yeast.

    I stuffed around with pear juice, different priming sugars, etc
    none of it made any appreciable difference.

    I prime my bottles at 10g/L for a nice fizz
     
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  3. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Great stuff man thanks for the input. I will definitely be following your advise for the next batch - just trying to nail the chemistry this time. Ill have to find a grower near sydney :D

    The sweetness thing was more for the GF and a couple mates prefer sweet ciders. Ill tell em to politely rack off cause I like it dry.

    In regards to the yeast nutrients - I didnt add any and now I am worried they might have died off, I did put them in warm bath with dissolved sugar to wake them up but that was the only extra encouragement they got. Do you think they might have died? Based on the dryness of the brew I would say the sugars are 95% gone which would indicate a healthy fermentation if I am not mistaken.
     
  4. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Just add some fresh juice to the glass for those who like the sweetness.

    What I do anyway, is rack the whole batch into a second fermenter as pictured here, as soon as airlock activity stops
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/1488786_624848964274772_581861813165729192_n.jpg?oh=972bb7779b0dc066d234d445c6401871&oe=54FF7A75&__gda__=1427093401_469118b3d170e7b3815908d5e6411ea6

    this allows a bit of gentle mixing, gets the majority of the spent yeast out of the way, but it will ferment a little more to ensure it's finished
    I Like to leave it at least a week in this secondary vessel, for it to finish and then clear off before bottling.

    This one here really shows how good the Orange Pippins are
    A very dark orange juice (front vessel) to start with
    https://scontent-b-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/l/t1.0-9/10176171_631920290234306_7155437895021037642_n.jpg?oh=ec197fc4bf2eddc4cbeb42dc6f136681&oe=550915C6

    After 1 week of racking and 6 weeks in the bottle, it clear up beautifully to this
    https://scontent-b-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/p417x417/10559868_678033488956319_8328604632474978201_n.jpg?oh=4338fe0c0995b7b4aa39af1b21549982&oe=551E2B14
     
  5. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Wow that looks delicious :) Gives me hope.

    I am brewing in one of these http://www.bunnings.com.au/venture-bmw-30l-blue-tint-wide-mouth-water-storage-drum-with-bung_p3240534 and dont have a second fermeter to Rack into - is that totally necessary? I suppose I could bottle rack but my thinking was along the lines of just using the spout to Fill the bottles up - it sits slightly above the bottom so the yeast cake will stay down there and it should clear a little.

    The Alcohol content and yeast nutrients are my biggest questionmark I think - if its not alcoholic there's no fun :p
     
  6. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    you'll definitely have plenty of alcohol given what you've described.
    what % sugars is the bought juice.

    My fresh stuff is up around 16% and gives my better than 7%

    A second or third fermenter is a really good idea, it gives you somewhere to rack off into aswell as a vessel to bottle out of, again to prevent sucking up the yeast.
    or just extra clean/ sterile areas to store things in.

    I use a product called Sanitec from local cleaning supplies place
    http://www.huntersproducts.com.au/products.php?cat=69&pid=665

    It's a no-rinse (assuming proper dilution), food-area sanitiser. Ammonium based.
    i just go nuts and spray/ wipe everything with it anytime I do something with the cider.
     
  7. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    The juice is around 94 grams per litre ~10% The additional added sugars should bring this to around 127/Ltr. ~12% Reckon it needs more sugar?

    Also for racking - could I simply rack into my bottles (going back into the 3ltr. ones) and let it condition out for a week to ensure all sugars are gone then add priming sugar and Cap off? I was hoping we could just chuck the priming sugars in this weekend, cap then leave them in the shed for 6 weeks to condition - the plastic bottles can take a serious amount of pressure so I am not too worried about that - its more the issue of the lees contaminating the brew.
     
  8. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    if you're worried about it not being finished, then just give it a good gentle stir now and throw in a teaspoon of sugar
    this will definitely make it bubble again which is good for expelling any oxygen from the head-space.

    if you're not fussed about a clear cider, then don't bother with racking off again, but you will get a lot of sediment in the end product
    My latest batches have had even longer rackings and they only produce maybe 1/8 teaspoon of sediment in a bottle (I'm using champagne bottles, they take the pressure and less bloody bottles to clean/ fill and cap)

    Sometimes too much sediment can leave a yeasty taste or smell, but pouring off very gently into glasses will leave it behind aswell as aerate the drink which allows those smells to dissipate (letting it breath)
     
  9. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Cloudy is good :) I think my plan will be to rack into bottles on Sunday - Ill chuck a bit more sugar in today to make sure its done and give it a shake.

    Ill let the bottles sit with loose caps for 2 weeks then top off with priming sugar and start thinking about the next batch :)

    or does that sound a bit too fast? maybe I should add the extra sugar and let it sit another week?
     
  10. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    nah, it'll churn it up in a few hours.

    leaving the lids loose on the bottles will only risk contamination.
    If you're going to leave it another week.
    leave them where they are, that will allow the yeast cake to harden up again underneath the bung
    I'd even tilt it backwards 5 degrees to allow the yeast to settle away from the bung, so when you bottle from the bung (I assume you have a tap and hose to go in there) the cake isn;t disturbed
     
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  11. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Solid - Ill do that then and see how it goes. Its been kept pretty sterile but I suppose it might already be contaminated as I couldn't use an airlock on this one - just had the fermenter lid on but half a screw loose (the whole thing was sterilized) but we will see how it goes. Practice makes perfect :super: Thanks so much for your help! :chug: Ill throw some photos up when its bottled for some idea of the clarity.
     
  12. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    So I chucked in that sugar and set everything up to bottle - Spigots sterilized and in and I took the advise from Mutaneer and tilted the vessel back a bit to push the lees away from the spout. Hopefully 4 days will be enough for it to settle.

    Here are a couple photos I took for Colour - I have no idea what my Hydrometer reading means but I am fairly certain it is saying fermentation is done as there are no longer sugars present.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Mutaneer

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    Posted 3/12/14
    yep, 1.00 or less is done.

    What was your original gravity reading?
     
  14. hazboticus

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    Posted 3/12/14
    Mate I have no clue - Im going to get some juice tonight and add enough sugar to bring it to my ~12% sugars calculation and take a measurement. Should be accurate enough for a reasonable estimate on its content.

    I did have a test batch in the fridge - same fermentation cycle but zero conditioning and flat and it has cleared out to look exactly like a store cider, about 5 gram/litre of sediment but its not to bad. Tastes a bit like cheap (and Weak) white whine.
     
  15. Mutaneer

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    Posted 4/12/14
  16. hazboticus

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    Posted 4/12/14
    Indeed - Just wish my Hydrometer had arrived before we brewed :blink:
     
  17. Airgead

    Ohhh... I can write anything I like here

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    Posted 4/12/14
    Patience grasshopper... you must learn patience.
     
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  18. hazboticus

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    Posted 4/12/14
    Patience is a Virtue I am learning slowly :huh:
     
  19. Airgead

    Ohhh... I can write anything I like here

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    Posted 4/12/14
    Cider will teach you patience.

    Mead will make you a master.
     
  20. hazboticus

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    Posted 4/12/14
    ahahaha I should have a little sign on my shed with that on it. The real test will be not drinking it while it matures. 6 weeks is practically forever.....But I suppose I can make 2-3 more batches in that time :beerbang:
     

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