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Measuring S.g. Of Cider Ingredients

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machalel

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Hi all,
On the weekend I started my first cider with real fruit, and had a few things that didn't go as planned / stumped me.
I'm doing an Apple, pear, and plum, and without a fruit press, had to resort to a food processor. This is when I ran into my first problem - I had no clue how to measure the specific density of this pulp. I am assuming that the yeast will consume some of the sugars in the solids, so my final ABV will be more than what I can estimate?
The second issue was that when I pitched everything into the primary and took a reading, it was much too low (1.028). This is in part due to me adding too much water, but also (I assume) because I didn't "press" the juice?
This leads to my third problem, where I added extra juice concentrate. I measured the SG of this concentrate, and it was 1.091. How do I put this into Beersmith, as it doesn't accept anything over 1.046...?
Fourth issue is that I'm assuming this will be quite dry. I have read about adding some lactose to help sweeten it a bit, but have never done this before. Can I add this after fermentation? And how much do I add to get it to semi-sweet? I'll put up my exact recipe when I get home for everyone to pick apart :p
Oh, and my final starting gravity ended up being 1.036.
 

Airgead

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Hi all,
On the weekend I started my first cider with real fruit, and had a few things that didn't go as planned / stumped me.
I'm doing an Apple, pear, and plum, and without a fruit press, had to resort to a food processor. This is when I ran into my first problem - I had no clue how to measure the specific density of this pulp. I am assuming that the yeast will consume some of the sugars in the solids, so my final ABV will be more than what I can estimate?
The second issue was that when I pitched everything into the primary and took a reading, it was much too low (1.028). This is in part due to me adding too much water, but also (I assume) because I didn't "press" the juice?
This leads to my third problem, where I added extra juice concentrate. I measured the SG of this concentrate, and it was 1.091. How do I put this into Beersmith, as it doesn't accept anything over 1.046...?
Fourth issue is that I'm assuming this will be quite dry. I have read about adding some lactose to help sweeten it a bit, but have never done this before. Can I add this after fermentation? And how much do I add to get it to semi-sweet? I'll put up my exact recipe when I get home for everyone to pick apart :p
Oh, and my final starting gravity ended up being 1.036.
OK.. first up, adding yeast to fruit pulp will get you fermented fruit pulp. You still need some way to extract the juice from the pulp. Much better to do that bwefore fermentation as doing it after you get off flavours from the oxidising pulp etc. You also shouldn't need to add water at all. A cider is usually 100% juice. No water. Juice on its own is around 1.040 to 1.050 or so. No water required.

Beersmith (and all brewing software to date) is really bad at ingredients like juice that provide both sugar and water content. They just can't handle it. All the measurements in beersmith aren't the SG of the ingredient but the contribution to SG of the brew in points per pound per gallon (so one pound of a 1.00 ingredient in 1 gallon will raise the SG by 1 point). That's a really hard calculation to do. I usually don't bother.

Cheers
Dave
 

machalel

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OK.. first up, adding yeast to fruit pulp will get you fermented fruit pulp. You still need some way to extract the juice from the pulp. Much better to do that bwefore fermentation as doing it after you get off flavours from the oxidising pulp etc. You also shouldn't need to add water at all. A cider is usually 100% juice. No water. Juice on its own is around 1.040 to 1.050 or so. No water required.

Beersmith (and all brewing software to date) is really bad at ingredients like juice that provide both sugar and water content. They just can't handle it. All the measurements in beersmith aren't the SG of the ingredient but the contribution to SG of the brew in points per pound per gallon (so one pound of a 1.00 ingredient in 1 gallon will raise the SG by 1 point). That's a really hard calculation to do. I usually don't bother.

Cheers
Dave
Thanks Dave,

Yeah I had a bit of a brain-fart (it was late at night) so half of the fruit is 'pulped' and half is 'pressed' (well, as pressed as I could make it with random kitchen items). Oh, and by pulped I mean blended up in the blender with a bit of water, so it's kinda more like slops than pulp :p

Yeah, I now know that I shouldn't add water... I dont know why I did... habbit from making beer I guess?

Hmmm ok... I'll have to do a bit more research about specific gravity etc.

My final ingredient list looks like this (weights are what went into the fermentor):

4L Apple Juice (raw, unfiltered) ~2.88 kg @ 1.040
1.25L Apple Juice (concentrated) ~1.06kg @ 1.090
2.5kg Batlow Apples (Pressed to 1.5L @ 1.032)
1kg Granny Smith Apples (Juiced w/ pulp)
800g Black Blood Plums (Juiced w/ pulp)
475g Red Blood Plums (Juiced w/ pulp)
425g William Bartlett Pears (Juiced w/ pulp)
100g Invert Sugar
100g Dark Brown Sugar
100g Honey
7L Water
10g Diamminium Phosphate
- Cider Yeast (Not sure of exact type)
 

machalel

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Well it dropped 6 points in the first 3 days, and then 24 points in the next 4... Currently sitting on 1.006

Tastes quite nice actually, very light and refreshing, and a bit tart. I think it's going to be a good "hot summer day" cider.
 

Gop

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I'd have a go at it. Just let it's SG get as low as possible. Consider leaving it for up to 3 months and it should have aged nicely.
 

machalel

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well it's going to have to sit there for a bit, as all my other containers are full at the moment :p

Down to 1.002 now, and I've test bottled one (PET bottle - keeping an eye on it, and when it gets 'full' feeling will put into fridge and drink :))
 

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