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A little help with a batch of cider.

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dzlater:
At the request of a friend I decided to have a try at making a batch of cider.
Here is the rundown:
Bought 5 gallons of various brands of apple juice and cider at the local grocery stores.
10/22: Pitched a packet of Montcharat wine yeast.
11/3:   I transfered it to a secondary ( I know probably to soon ) and added 24 oz. of frozen apple juice concentrate.
11/10:  I added 2 oz. of mediium toast American oak cubes.
11/21: Gravity down to 1.001, moved out of 65°f room to cold garage.

 The carboy is filled up to the shoulder, I have been reading one wants to pretty much fill it up to the top to avoid oxidation. Should I add some more juice, or some more concentrate to bring up the volume? I am not sure if it's a good idea but I also was considering buying some apples peeling, slicing them up and then and cramming in the carboy. Thinking this would take up some head space and add a bit more flavor as well as fermentables. If I do any of these things should I bring it back inside where it's warmer?
  Also if anyone has any advice on adding acids, tannins, sweeteners etc. I sure could use it.
Right now I am figuring on not messing around with it too much, but just let ferment out and bottle it using carb tabs, in 2 liter soda bottles.









cheba420:
If you are not kegging this or do not have a kegging system in place, you will not want to use any more sweetener than you already have (frozen concentrate). When you bottle, the remaining yeast will eat up the sugar in the sweetener and you'll blow your bottles.

I do not use any acids in mine but I have always added pectic enzyme to help clear the cider. The best advice I have for cider is to be patient. I feel they take a good 3 months to mellow out and get where you want them. As for the headspace and oxydation, If you had an active fermentation, you should have co2 built up in the headspace. However, if you're removing the bung to check from time to time you need to be able to flush that space with canned co2. Personally, at this point, I would not add fruit to the cider to reduce the headspace. I think the risk of contamination outweighs the risk of oxydation.

If you're not kegging, you can either have your cider sweet or carbonated but its hard to accomplish both. If you want to carbonate it, it will remain dry. If you want it sweet, you can add sorbate to the must to kill off the active yeast and then backsweeten it to taste. However, if you do this, the cider will be still.

Hope that helps and good luck. Ciders are awesome in the winter and spring.

mtnrockhopper:
I've only had headspace problems when I've stored cider longer than six months. Even then, a well sealed airlock is more important.
 
The apples probably won't add noticable flavor but might introduce some new organism. I'm not really a fan of adding too many fermentables post-fermentation either. I'd taste it. If you like it, don't mess with it.

udubdawg:
I know it's not the question you asked, but I'm curious why you racked to secondary and then added more fermentables?  Wouldn't it be easier to add the concentrate, add the yeast, ferment completely, and then rack to secondary?  I assume it did re-start fermentation after adding the concentrate?  Based on the FG it must have.

and yes, I always size my batches so that my secondary will be completely full, unless I'm going to be in a keg where I can cover with CO2.  I've added a small amount of water before.  Assuming you had fermentation from the concentrate you had a CO2 blanket and though you opened it for the oak I assume that process made some more come out of solution that has again covered the cider.  So I wouldn't personally worry too much.

cheers--
--Michael

dzlater:

--- Quote from: udubdawg on November 26, 2012, 01:00:50 PM ---I know it's not the question you asked, but I'm curious why you racked to secondary and then added more fermentables?  Wouldn't it be easier to add the concentrate, add the yeast, ferment completely, and then rack to secondary?  I assume it did re-start fermentation after adding the concentrate?  Based on the FG it must have.

and yes, I always size my batches so that my secondary will be completely full, unless I'm going to be in a keg where I can cover with CO2.  I've added a small amount of water before.  Assuming you had fermentation from the concentrate you had a CO2 blanket and though you opened it for the oak I assume that process made some more come out of solution that has again covered the cider.  So I wouldn't personally worry too much.

cheers--
--Michael

--- End quote ---

 Yes, it would have made more sense to add the concentrate at the start.
I didn't have a real plan for this, I pretty much just added it on a whim. Thinking it would reduce the head space and might flavor it up a bit.
 I took a look at it a couple days ago and found the airlock was empty, not sure if it sucked back into the carboy, or I just didn't fill it. I gave the carboy a blast of CO2.
 Should I put this in a keg to age / carb. now, or just leave it the carboy for another month ?

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