Author Topic: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.  (Read 5545 times)

Offline gmac

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Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« on: January 05, 2012, 08:02:01 PM »
I picked up some cider today with the intent to do my first attempt at a hard cider this weekend.  The cider I got was from a local orchard and it is unpasteurized and frozen in 1.3L plastic bags, same as how we buy milk here.  I ended up getting about 17L of frozen cider. 
I'm going to let it thaw slowly to be ready Saturday morning.

I'm just going to use WLP833 that I have ready from a lager I brewed.  I was going to give it a wash and then pitch it.
Does cider need additional yeast nutrient?  Does anyone see a problem with this yeast?  I realize it's not a cider yeast or champagne yeast but other threads have commented on using beer yeast so I'm gonna try it.  My basement is about 58 degrees right now and I was just going to ferment at ambient temp.

Also, I tasted the cider and it tastes good but I have no idea what the gravity will be.  Is there a recommended starting gravity that I should be shooting for?  I expect to have to add sugar to hit it or I can go with it as is. 

Lastly, should I heat the cider up to 165 or so to pasteurize it?  I've seen a couple different opinions.
Thanks



Offline thetooth

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 09:23:00 PM »
I can't speak to the yeast strain, but I'm sure someone can chime in with info on that.

I will say that I've never had to pasteurize my cider.  Once it's fermented, I rack to keg and give it 3 - 6 months of aging in the cellar before putting it on tap.

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 06:44:17 AM »
I've never used a lager yeast, but I use cold tolerant wine yeast and have found that cold fermentation is wonderful. It helps retain volitile flavor and aroma compounds that can get blown out during fermentation. So I think lager yeast in the basement is a good idea.

I have used yeast nutrient in the past, but I've been moving away from it and using less each year. This year I didn't use any and fermentation is fine. I've read that most cultured orchard apples will have plenty of nitrogen from the fertilizers used, but that obviously will vary. You can always add nutrient later if fermentation is struggling.

You can take the gravity of the cider just like wort. All of the sugar will ferment out, so if you have a triple scale hydrometer look at the 'potential alcohol' scale to find the final alcohol content. The cider I get usually ferments to around 6%. Depending on the apples it can be as high as 7-8%. If it is much below 6% I would add sugar to help with stability, plus I like alcohol. 6% alcohol = 1.050 gravity.

Don't heat it. Heating is an obsession of brewers who want to make cider and try to apply their brewing techniques, no self respecting cidermaker would do it. It's like trying to take a photograph with a chef's knife.  Sulfite is a better option if you want, but with a batch of fresh yeast I'd just pitch.

Expect fermentation to take a while, a couple weeks or more.

Are you kegging or bottling?
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 06:56:58 AM »
Cotes de Blanc is my go to yeast, but the local Brewpub uses WLP-005 with good results.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 10:27:42 AM »
Are you kegging or bottling?

My normal process is to carbonate in the keg and then transfer to bottles as needed.  I was going to get hold of some 750 ml champagne bottles for this or get some more swing tops.  Usually if I'm drinking, someone else is drinking with me so we can go through a 750 pretty easily at 5%.

OK, I won't heat.  Because these are in 1.3L bags, I am going to put them in star-san for a minute before I open them but I'll open and go.  I don't know how much cider costs but I got all mine for $20 so if I fail, I'm not out much anyway. 

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 10:33:41 AM »
I often add some tannin to mine.  It seems like the sweeter the apple juice, the more insipid the cider.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 10:54:41 AM »
How do you add tannin?  Throw in a tea bag?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 11:26:12 AM »
How do you add tannin?  Throw in a tea bag?

you can by tannin at the LHBS. Which, if I recall for you is like 12 hours drive or something right? probably get it on line as well.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 11:51:49 AM »
No, just 2 hours.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 01:43:09 PM »
All the ciders I made had a starting OG at 1.055 of 1.060.  Something close to that.

They fermented out at almost exactly 1.000.

We just opened the jugs, poured them in the fermenter and threw in some yeast.  No heating, no sulfite, just pour and go.

I found that I like the cider better on the batches where we threw some craisins (dried cranberries) in with them.

I split a couple gallons off to try some different things.  

IIRC from the other threads, you are aware that it will ferment out very dry and tart.  If you want a sweet cider, you need to backsweeten or try stopping the yeast before they ferment out.

EDITED: cuz my final gravity was wrong.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 02:56:41 PM by Joe Sr. »
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Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 10:56:14 AM »
Ciders in the pail.  It's was actually still a bit frozen but I'm not gonna be around later so it got a very healthy pitch of WLP833 (which was actually at the same temp or close to it) and they can warm up to cellar temp together. 
This should be interesting.
No idea of gravity because it's got ice in it.  I'm usually pretty accurate but this time I'm winging it.  I'll take a gravity tomorrow afternoon when I get back and see what it is although I know some sugar could be gone by then.

Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 07:31:06 PM »
Checked my cider for the first time today.  Gravity was about 1.000 or maybe 0.998.  I'm guessing that this is pretty much fermented out given the volume of yeast I used.  I admit, I went to take the OG the next day and it was already working aggressively so I didn't bother. 
I tasted the hydrometer sample and it tasted very good, nice and dry with crisp apple flavour and I'm pretty happy with it given how little effort it took.
But, it's quite cloudy.  Is this normal?  I put it in the cold room at about 0C hoping that the yeast would drop out and that it would stop fermenting if it wasn't done (I was happy with the taste).  Will this help clear it up or should I rack it and fine it as well?
Also, I went to a wine shop and bought some tannin (assuming I'd do another of these).  I assume it's too late to add this?
Thanks

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 06:58:31 AM »
You can add both acid and tannin now. Pectic enzyme can help clear cider, but it is denatured by alcohol and must be added pre-fermentation. The cider should clear with cold storage. If it doesn't in a few weeks, you can try fining it, just keep waiting, or not worry about it. Many cidermakers prefer cloudy cider.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 08:35:25 AM »
My ciders have dropped clear with time.  I don't think they even required much time.

I believe that if you heat the cider prior to fermenting to pasteurize it you can set the pectic enzymes and it will stay cloudy post fermentation.  This is one reason a lot of people don't heat pasteurize cider.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Gonna do my first cider Saturday.
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 10:01:04 AM »
You can add both acid and tannin now.
How much tannin would I add?  The bottle is pretty vague.  It's powdered and just says "Wine Tannin".