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Starting My First Cider

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ChitownJT:
Hey folks,

I just sourced 5 gallons of apple cider from our local farmers market and I'm planning on my first cider this weekend. I've done some skimming the site and tried to find some videos for help but I still have a bunch of questions. Any help is appreciated!

1) The cider has been UV pasturized, should I still be adding campden tablets to the cider?
2) Are yeast nutrients necessary? If so, what should I be adding?
3) Should I be adding pectic enzyme?
4) If the OG of the cider by itself is too low, is there a preferred sugar to add? Does it need to be heated/boiled or just mixed in?
5) Based off of the latest Zymurgy, I'm going to use WLP002 English Ale. Do I need to make a starter for this, or will one vial be enough for 5 gallons?

Thanks for your help in advance!

HoosierBrew:

--- Quote from: ChitownJT on November 01, 2013, 07:21:20 PM ---Hey folks,

I just sourced 5 gallons of apple cider from our local farmers market and I'm planning on my first cider this weekend. I've done some skimming the site and tried to find some videos for help but I still have a bunch of questions. Any help is appreciated!

1) The cider has been UV pasturized, should I still be adding campden tablets to the cider?
2) Are yeast nutrients necessary? If so, what should I be adding?
3) Should I be adding pectic enzyme?
4) If the OG of the cider by itself is too low, is there a preferred sugar to add? Does it need to be heated/boiled or just mixed in?
5) Based off of the latest Zymurgy, I'm going to use WLP002 English Ale. Do I need to make a starter for this, or will one vial be enough for 5 gallons?

Thanks for your help in advance!

--- End quote ---
1. Yes, crush the tablets, add to cider, and wait 24 hrs before adding yeast.
2. Yes, I add yeast nutrient at ~ 3 X the amount you'd use for beer. YMMV.
3. Yep, it will clear your cider effectively.
4. You can always fortify with sugar , but there is a tradeoff. I never add sugar automatically. I make cider not for strength, but to enjoy the apple character.  5% abv ciders are ready to drink much quicker than an apple wine (which needs to age for nearly a year +). You can add cane ,brown, or a combo of both. If you fortify with sugar, it needs to age for ~  6 months to a year +(IMO).  When I make a fortified cider, I heat/dissolve, cool, stir in.
5. I have always fermented cider dry, then slightly backsweetened to taste, but IMO unless you are fortifying with sugar to make a strong cider/apple wine, a fresh smack pack/vial will work fine, as most suitable strains attenuate very well. You should not need to make a starter for a moderately normal OG cider.

    FWIW , my most recent cider (OG  1.045) used  1 pack of WY4766 (~1 week old) and ended at .998 FG.  These strains are extremely attenuative.

erockrph:

--- Quote from: ChitownJT on November 01, 2013, 07:21:20 PM ---1) The cider has been UV pasturized, should I still be adding campden tablets to the cider?
2) Are yeast nutrients necessary? If so, what should I be adding?
3) Should I be adding pectic enzyme?
4) If the OG of the cider by itself is too low, is there a preferred sugar to add? Does it need to be heated/boiled or just mixed in?
5) Based off of the latest Zymurgy, I'm going to use WLP002 English Ale. Do I need to make a starter for this, or will one vial be enough for 5 gallons?

Thanks for your help in advance!

--- End quote ---

1) The orchard I get my cider from (and several other brewers I know) UV pastuerizes. I've never used Campden and have never had a problem (nor has anyone else I know). I don't think it would be harmful, but I don't see the need.
2) I haven't used nutrients, but I plan on it in the future. I've heard it helps the sulfur clear a bit quicker, and gets you drinkable cider sooner. You can certainly make good cider either way.
3) In my limited experience, pectic enzyme does seem to help it clear faster. Works fine without it, though.
4) I like sessionable ciders where the apple can shine through fully, so I don't add sugar to my cider. But any type of sugar would work, depending on what you're looking for. Apple juice concentrate is another option as well.
5) I've only ever used dry yeast for cider, so I can't really comment to that.

dbeechum:
1) No
2) Yes, look at wine pitching rates.
3) Not unless you're heating it.
4) Make a syrup - add whatever you want, be aware that funkier sugars mean funkier flavors.
5) A starter would still be handy depending on your gravity. Just crash and decant it well.

You can also buy my book. :)

dmtaylor:
1) Campden is optional.  I prefer to heat treat instead -- 170 F for 15 minutes.  I do this whether it's UV treated or not.  Although I also have a natural fermentation going right now, no Campden, no heat.  So it's truly optional.
2) You don't need yeast nutrients unless you experience a lot of sulfur or other strange aromas or flavors.
3) Pectic enzyme is an option.  I prefer to use gelatin near the end of fermentation instead.  Knocks out the haze AND the yeast if/when they get out of control.
4) Any sugar is fine, but personally I don't use very much if any.  You can get 6-7% ABV without any added sugar.
5) A starter in a little apple juice is a good idea.

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