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My First Apple Cider Batch

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benen

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Hi!
I just purchased a 30L fermenter, airlock, thermometer, champagne yeast and sanitiser. All I need now are apples and bottles to get started. I can't wait!
I'd like to crush and press my own apples but will keep my first batch easy to begin with.
Can I use something like Berri UHT apple or apple/pear juice? It's pretty hard to find anything that is not reconstituted/preservatives etc.

Thanks

Benen
 

Bribie G

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You don't have Aldi there yet but Coles do preservative-free pure juice in 3L bottles for a dollar a litre. I understand that it comes from Berri anyway. (as does Aldi's)

Edit: do you have access to cheap apples? I understand that it takes about 50k of apples to do a batch and then you would need to run them through a juicer for n hours.
 

benen

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I don't have a juicer unfortunately which is why I'm starting off with shop juice. Us the juice you're talking about uht or is it refrigerated?
 

Airgead

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50kg of apples makes me about 40l of cider. But I have a really good juicer...
 

Bribie G

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It's UHT and they also do apple blackcurrant.
 

benen

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Great thanks for your help! I'll see how I go :) for a 30L fermenter should I fill to about 27L?
 

r055c0

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Hey Bribie G, just to be clear, is that the Smart Buy apple juice at coles? The one with the plain white label?
 

benen

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Coles were out of their home brand juice so I went with something that was $1.40 per liter. Still reconstituted but preservative free. 18L and 7 grams of champagne yeast. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan.
 

Fossey

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ro55c0 said:
Hey Bribie G, just to be clear, is that the Smart Buy apple juice at coles? The one with the plain white label?
You can use any 100% juice that is labelled preservative free. If it contains Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) that is also fine. Just check ingredients list - definitely no potassium sorbate (preservative 202).
 

benen

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Put the batch down Saturday afternoon. Was bubbling away nicely by 7am Tuesday morning when I checked it. 18L of UHT juice. Wasn't the home brand one, they were out. Went with the next cheapest. ($1.43/L) and used 18L plus 7g d champagne yeast.
Any suggestions from here? Should I throw in anything like cinamon, honey or some Granny Smiths? Or am I best to just leave it after fermentation has begun to avoid any contamination.
 

Fossey

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Leave it at least 3 weeks to a month. Then add your additional ingredients.

Best practice would be add the new ingredients to another fermenter, close to the total volume of your brew, syphon your fermented cider on top of it and top up the secondary fermenter (into the neck) with more juice. Airlock on and wait another month or two or as long as you can stand - the longer the better...

Just make sure to sanitise everything!
 

benen

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Oh really? What is the benefit/necessity of a second fermentation? Do I only need this if I want to add ingredients later rather than at the beginning?
 

benen

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I'm also concerned that this is going to be too dry to enjoy since it is just apple juice and champagne yeast.
 

Byran

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It will be dry anyway as all the sugars in the juice are fermentable. You can add body by doing a minimash of grain at a high temp and adding that eg 200grams of malt or wheat at 67 to 70 deg c for an hour. Or you can back sweeten with lactose sugar or apple juice when drinking.
 

Fossey

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Secondary will get your brew off the dead yeast and help flavours develop (with or without additions) and mellow out the alcohol if its a high ABV. Will also assist in clearing your brew.

Champagne yeast will make it dry, you can add apple juice concentrate at bottling and pasteurise in the bottles. Pasteurising needs to be done - if backsweetening like this - at the right time to ensure desired carb levels are met and to avoid bottles exploding later. There are a couple of methods, I personally use a dishwasher but will go into that if you want that info.
 

benen

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I don't want to pasteurise at this stage. I like dry cider so I'll see how it goes. Will it not clear and mellow if I just leave it in the primary for a few weeks? I don't understand how moving it can help. Wouldn't the yeast eventually drop to the bottom of the primary anyway?
 

Bribie G

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ro55c0 said:
Hey Bribie G, just to be clear, is that the Smart Buy apple juice at coles? The one with the plain white label?
That's what I've been using up to now - however see next
benen said:
Coles were out of their home brand juice so I went with something that was $1.40 per liter. Still reconstituted but preservative free. 18L and 7 grams of champagne yeast. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan.
Funny you should mention this but they only had three bottles of the 3L Smart buy left and I made up the rest of the juice with the Coles brand in the 2L bottles which is $2.40 for the bottle.
On making up my new batch on Wednesday I noted that the Coles brand is definitely darker - more amber - and a side by side proved it to be more fragrant and "appley"

I expect it depends what concentrates they use. I didn't think to do a refrac test, will do next time.

For the sweetness I keg and do one of two things;

Keg before attenuation so it's still fairly sweet, about the same as Mercury Draught
Keg when dry but add apple juice when drinking.

Another trick is to keg while still fairly sweet into a fairly warm fridge around 6 degrees, which is plenty cool for drinking - hey we are home brew men here not pub drinkers :lol:
The cider yeast seems to keep working slowly at that temperature and gasses up the keg till it's really fizzy, I mean like pouring a soft drink from a supermarket PET
It gradually gets dryer over a week or ten days so then at a certain stage I start back sweetening and this cuts the fizz as well as sweetening. Nice balance.
 

manticle

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benen said:
I don't want to pasteurise at this stage. I like dry cider so I'll see how it goes. Will it not clear and mellow if I just leave it in the primary for a few weeks? I don't understand how moving it can help. Wouldn't the yeast eventually drop to the bottom of the primary anyway?
Just leave it in primary. You'd move it if you were going to bulk age for months or bulk prime or rack onto other fruit or something. A few weeks is no drama. Once main ferment has finished, make it as airtight as you can and put it in the fridges for a while. It will clear and mature nicely.

The reason for moving is mainly to do with a thing called autolysis which can produce unwelcome flavours in a brew but the risk of its occurrence over the time frame you mention is very small in my experience and contact with yeast does wonderful things for maturation.
 

benen

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So in reality my best bet is to bottle it when fermentation is complete and just we it in the bottles? So much to learn! Everyone here is so helpful!
 

manticle

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benen said:
and just we it in the bottles?
I'm not quite sure what you mean but it doesn't sound nice. Cider in bottles, drink cider, then wee it in the appropriate receptacle (not usually a bottle).

In that order (well that's how I do it anyway). I cold condition my cider in bulk for 2-3 weeks before bottling.
 

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