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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: timmyr on August 28, 2010, 02:09:03 PM

Title: How long it too long?
Post by: timmyr on August 28, 2010, 02:09:03 PM
G'day all, I'd like some advice on my cider experiments.  Below are the cliff-notes and a link to my discussions with Andrew Lea who has been incredibly helpful and whose book is a must-read for anyone getting into cider.

So I made cider last Fall.  From the subject of my post you can guess
that life got in the way and all my cider is still siting tight in my
basement in secondary fermenters since Nov 09 I think.  Getting ready
to taste them...any thoughts on if they are all going down the drain?

As this has become a bit of my record-keeping, I thought I'd post an
update.  I've packaged my first two batches of cider into 3-gallon
cornelius kegs.  Both batches came from flash-pasteurized juice with
an OG of around 1.044, FG 0.999. Batch 1, fermented with White Labs
WLP775 is extremely tart/sour, with no obvious vinegar off-flavor.
Batch 2, fermented with Red Star Cote de Blanc, is much less tart,
smooth but does not have as much apple-like flavor coming through.
Batch 1 could possibly be kept long-term as a sour-blend batch.
Batches 3-5 are awaiting bottles or kegs, but I think I may plan to
just package in 750ml bottles and see what happens.  I tend to think I
waited too long to package, but am excited to now do some taste
testing/blending and sweetening as apple-harvest is upon me once again
very soon and I want to make 10-15 gallons this year.

http://groups.google.com/group/cider-workshop/browse_thread/thread/d19ae8e175412f9c/fe820e5201aaa718?lnk=gst&q=Timmy#fe820e5201aaa718 (http://groups.google.com/group/cider-workshop/browse_thread/thread/d19ae8e175412f9c/fe820e5201aaa718?lnk=gst&q=Timmy#fe820e5201aaa718)

Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 28, 2010, 05:18:22 PM
What kind of advice are you looking for?

If you want to sweeten it, I would treat it with sorbate, add frozen apple juice concentrate for sweetness and to bump up the apple aroma/flavor, keg it and force carbonate it.  But that's just me, I like my ciders on the sweeter side.
Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: euge on August 28, 2010, 05:27:18 PM
Not sure how long is too long, but ciders seem to benefit from aging. I made some that was horrible initially but after "forgetting in the garage" for over a year they turned out quite similar to a pretty decent Chardonnay!

That flash pasteurized cider ends up fairly tart so I back-sweetened it in the keg with some frozen concentrate. Balanced out the tartness and got quite a few complements from my non-cider drinking friends. I have to bust out the next keg soon!

It's fantastic you can get fresh juice.

Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: timmyr on August 28, 2010, 07:06:34 PM
It's fantastic you can get fresh juice.

S. Illinois has a lot of orchards.  I have sourced two that have fresh, unpreserved juice.  One can provide it unpasteurized and one flash-pasteurizes.

My juice thus far is REALLY tart, but I do not get any acetobacter or vinegar from it, so I think all is well.  I have my first 2 small batches in kegs now and am chilling, carbonating and then will taste and figure out how much sugar to add.

I probably need a decent graduated cylinder and dropper or something to work in small amounts...or I'll just wing it.
Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: monomer77 on August 31, 2010, 02:44:28 AM
I'm in Illinois. what places are you getting the cider/juice from? thanks
Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: enso on September 03, 2010, 01:08:50 PM
It is difficult to control the acidity of the finished product when you do not have control over the source juice.  Cider is all about blending from start to finish.  The best you can do is attempt to blend it at this point.  There are ways of reducing acidity along the way such as malo-lactic fermentation, but that is a bit tricky and it is too late for this batch anyway.

If you can, the easiest way is to start with a good blend of apples.  You want a good mix of neutral sweet, bitter (tannic), and sharp (acidic) apple varieties.  If you have too many sharps or bitters you will have a tart acidic or dry tannic cider.  Bittersweet and bittersharp varieties are harder to come by these days as hard cider has not been as "fashionable" since before prohibiton in the U.S. and not many producers grow these older varieties as they are really only good for cider (hard) production.

In your case I would recommend fermenting another batch of cider and try and keep it more neutral and not too acidic.  Try and get a fairly sweet cider made from neutral medium to low acid apples.  Golden delicious is pretty low acid and neutral.  It may even turn out pretty bland and insipid by itself, but then you can blend it with your overly acidic cider.  Do taste trials using a graduated cylinder and then scale up the ratios to blend the ciders.  Then let them sit in a keg or carboy after blending for a while to stabilize before packaging.
Title: Re: How long it too long?
Post by: timmyr on October 11, 2010, 01:57:42 PM
I'm in Illinois. what places are you getting the cider/juice from? thanks

I am so sorry I forgot to reply sooner.  Mills Apple Farm in Marine, IL is my supplier this year.  I have started batch #2 for 2010 on the dregs of batch #1.  Both fermenting happily along with 10 gallons of Porter for the winter.