Author Topic: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider  (Read 989 times)

Offline Joe EOMFD

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Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« on: December 27, 2014, 07:35:41 AM »
 Hi everyone,

I just recently got into cider making and I'm trying to add more gravity to my cider. primary fermentation was 7 days and I just racked it today. this is my first batch and just got the first taste. it was not as dry as I wanted it to be. so, I was wondering if I boiled some fermentables and added some extra nutrient to the batch (kind of like a second fermentation) if that would help or if that would just stress the yeast to the point of tasting like s***? Like I said I am a noob so don't beat me up too bad. any help would be awesome.  thanks!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 08:49:06 AM »
Welcome. Generally, no one will give you a bad time unless you really work at it.

What was your starting gravity, final gravity? I ask because the seven day primary thing makes me think you racked it too soon, only because it takes about 3 days between final gravity readings (two readings, separated by 3 days or more, that are the same gravity) to determine that its done, leaving only 4 days for it to do its thing... make sense?

Describe your recipe and process a bit.  Makes it easier to troubleshoot.  But, generally ciders are made up of highly fermenable sugars and should be dry as can be. In fact cider makers usually have to work some magic at bottling to make them sweet.

Offline Joe EOMFD

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 09:54:11 AM »
okay, yeah, that makes sense,

unfortunately I didn't take OG or FG because this was my first batch and I kind of wanted to wing it a little bit. but this was my process for this batch:

first I started out by bringing 1 gallon of apple juice just to a boil. from there I added 2 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient, 2 1/2 lb. pure cane sugar, 8 sticks of cinnamon, and let that rest for 30 minutes. I added the "hot" gallon to 4 gallons of apple juice (100% organic, no preservatives, just pasteurized). then I prepared and pitched the yeast. I didn't copy the manufacturer of the yeast in my brew log but it was a dry champaign yeast. all of this was done in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. the first few days of fermentation the yeast were very active and boiled over but, by the time I racked the batch the bubble rate on the airlock was around 1 for every 7-10 seconds.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 10:02:13 AM by Joe EOMFD »
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2014, 10:26:49 AM »
Ding ding ding....

Yeast is what does the fermenting, right? Kind of like the engine makes the car go. So, if you're headed to the store, you wouldn't remove the engine after seven miles, right? Unless the store was only seven miles away.

My suggestion, let it be. Maybe there is enough yeast still in suspension to fire back up and finish the job.

Or, lesson learned. Start a new batch and this time don't pull the engine till you get where you are going.

Offline Joe EOMFD

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2014, 10:36:51 AM »
hahaha!

thanks, I guess I racked it too soon... how long does primary fermentation usually take?

P.S. I appreciate it.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 11:20:32 AM »
How long depends on so many variables that its just a bad idea to look that direction until you've done a few brews and know what your normal is. Could be a week, could be six. My beers take about 10 days (quickest ever) to several months, but normally around 3 weeks. You cant go by bubbles either because it can be done and still putting out bubbles, or not done but not bubbling. Thats a matter of saturation, temperature, and nucleation sites (stuff like hops or spices that bubbles form on).

I suggest just letting it ride for 2 or 3 weeks then measure gravity. Meanwhile, make another one and dont rack it till its done. If you dont have a hydrometer, they are cheap. Hydrometer, plastic hydrometer sample tube, and a cheap turkey baster to draw samples, probably under $20 total.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2014, 06:27:56 PM »
There are some very good cider makers on the forum and I'm sure some of them will chime in eventually as well. What I have gathered is that with the schedule you describe primary fermentation can take several weeks to complete and the full process pom to pint is in months.

The primary trick to speed things up is to de-gas daily for the first several days and add nutrient at each de-gassing. you can get a device called a de-gasser at wine and homebrew shops or use a mix stir or even a (new) paint stirrer attachment for a drill. you'll want to be sure you have enough headspace to prevent foaming over when you do this. This process helps prevent the dissolved co2 from dropping the pH of your fermenting must too much for the yeast. Adding the nutrients in a staggered schedule will help the yeast work over time rather than sprinting.

Fermentation temp is also important s apple falvors and aromas are very volatile so a really active fermentation like you describe will strip a lot of that away.

you've lost a lot of yeast as Jim says at this point you could try re-pitching with a new yeast, if you do that you should make a small starter with apple juice and some nutrient and get the yeast active before adding them to the inhospitable environment of the partially fermented must.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Trying to add more alcohol to my cider
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 02:15:42 PM »
Check the gravity now. Regardless of the OG, I'd expect the final gravity to be around 1.000 and it will be quite dry. I'd say it was still fermenting for sure, especially if it tastes sweet, and if you leave it alone it will continue to ferment - even after racking.
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