Author Topic: Starting My First Cider  (Read 1364 times)

Offline ChitownJT

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Starting My First Cider
« 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!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 08:14:01 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!
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.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 08:49:48 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 09:13:53 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!

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.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 09:16:24 PM »
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.

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 09:39:12 PM »
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.
Dave

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 09:49:09 PM »
1. Probably not. But if you feel the juice has been contaminated in some way post UV treatment, 1 tablet in 5 gallons for 24 hours should suffice.
2. I add some Wyeast nutrient and some DAP. But that's just me.
3. Not for scrumpy cider!
4. You can add any sugar you want. Add no sugar and you have common cider. Use the proper apples and you have English cider. Add some table sugar, white or brown, and you have New England cider. Raisins and spice and maybe maple syrup make it official. More sugar and you have apple wine. Substitute honey and you have cyser. Use honey and maple syrup and you have acercyser. You get the idea.
It needs to be heated to pasteurize it and/or make it easier to dissolve in the apple juice. Honey and maple syrup shouldn't need to be heated.
5. You don't need a starter. But expect it to ferment slower than beer, even with a starter.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 11:20:48 PM »
I started a cider the other day. Never made one before. The whole idea was because I had a package of US05 and wasn't using it. I sanitized a fermentor, dumped in two gallons of 1.050 Western Family apple juice "made in China", then dumped in a half pack of US05. I am not planning on winning any awards with it. Might just heat it up with a little cinnamon and sugar on a snowy day.

Offline arafly

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 01:55:47 PM »
I had a "first cider" related question too, so the answer to this may help both myself and the original poster -

My first cider is down from about 1.50 OG to 1.06 after 9 days in the primary. The airlock is still going about once every 20 seconds. Tastes great, still a little hazy, not too sweet or dry...

So my question is, should I rack it to a secondary at this point, let it keep going a little longer, or just go ahead and bottle it?

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 02:42:46 PM »
I would let it go. It is going to slow down a lot at this stage, and is probably about 2 more weeks from FG, based on my experience. It will clear after it hits FG, and then you can bottle (w/sugar if you want it to be sparkling), or Keg (if you want to back sweeten).
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 07:11:20 PM »
I would rack it right now and slam it with gelatin and sulfite/Campden.  Otherwise it will probably keep on fermenting down below 1.000 and be very very dry.  Which is fine if you like dry cider.  But if you want sweetness, go ahead and rack and knock out the yeast right now.
Dave

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Offline phunhog

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 08:28:37 PM »
After reading Zymurgy I am planning on making my first cider with WL 007.  I was going to use only apple juice, no extra sugar.  What kind of time frame am I looking at for a 5% cider?  I was hoping to have some hard cider around for the holidays.  I routinely go grain to glass in 3 weeks for low gravity beers  are ciders similar?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 09:01:46 PM »
Ciders generally take longer than ales.  The fermentation doesn't take off fast in the first 48 hours like for beer.  Cider will fizz and fizz slowly over the course of 3-6 weeks, and needs to be racked once or twice if you don't want the cider to ferment out bone dry.  Cider will ferment fast at room temperature and taste okay, but it's better if you can "lager" ferment it around 45-50 F for a couple of months.  You might get a decent cider by Christmas, fermented 65-70 F, but you're cutting it awfully close.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 09:29:18 AM »
I would rack it right now and slam it with gelatin and sulfite/Campden.  Otherwise it will probably keep on fermenting down below 1.000 and be very very dry.  Which is fine if you like dry cider.  But if you want sweetness, go ahead and rack and knock out the yeast right now.

Except that won't stop fermentation.  You need sorbate, not sulfite, to do that.  And even that is unreliable.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 10:52:21 AM »
Denny may be right.  I use both sorbate and sulfite.  AND gelatin.  I'm running several experiments right now aiming to kill fermentation dead before it goes below 1.000, and will soon be able to report back with greater certainty on what works best.  But at least for the first couple of batches, it looks like it worked like a charm.  No gushers or explosions yet.  Am I playing with fire?  Okay, I admit it -- maybe.
Dave

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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Starting My First Cider
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2013, 08:28:28 AM »
Most wine maker use potassium metabisulfate to sterilize bottles before racking and bottling, and use Sorbate as Denny said to stop fermentation to back sweeten.  I dont know the amount per gallon needed though unfortunately.

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