Author Topic: First cider  (Read 1390 times)

Offline Michael Thompson

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First cider
« on: September 30, 2010, 09:12:04 PM »
OK, a friend of mine was heading to a cider/apple festival. so I handed him a five-gallon bucket and asked him to bring some back. No idea what kind of apples they'll have. It's on the Western Slope of Colorado, near CedarEdge, if anybody knows where that is.

I've seen suggestions on here to use champagne yeast, cider yeast, wine yeast, ale yeast, or just allow the completely unknown natural yeasts to do their own thing. Campden tablets, sulfites, clarifiers, whatever. How about some friendly advice?

Offline euge

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Re: First cider
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 09:52:51 PM »
Hopefully he'll bring back 5 gallons of juice not apples. ;)

You can stun the yeast when desired sweetness is achieved or backsweeten. Either way you'll have to stun the yeast unless you keep the cider cold to retard fermentation. Or you can let it ferment out but it'll get pretty dry and maybe sourish.

There's specific cider yeast but I think plain old English yeast works well. Otherwise it's a lot like beer. Hope this helps. :)
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Offline stlaleman

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Re: First cider
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 02:37:18 AM »
Use a cider yeast, you'll be happy with the results. The right yeast for the right job!

Offline alikocho

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Re: First cider
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 03:33:58 AM »
I'd advise using a specific cider yeast, or better still the wild yeast that will be present in the juice. The latter is a bigger risk, but ought to make a better cider.

As to sulfiting and sorbating - sulfites will inhibit the wild yeast and bacteria, so if you sulfite you can't really use the wild yeast form the apples. You can sulfite or sorbate at the end of fermentation to stop refermentation.

Clarifying - This is one of my bugbears, and you need to decide whether you want your cider to be clear. It does not need to be clear, and hazy and opaque ciders are perfectly acceptable. Given time, some ciders will clear of their own accord, but they can be cleared using finings (bentonite works well) and some may need a pectic enzyme to destroy a pectin  haze in the cider (this is best added at the start of fermentation rather than the end).
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Offline Michael Thompson

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Re: First cider
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 08:48:07 PM »
Clarifying - This is one of my bugbears, and you need to decide whether you want your cider to be clear. It does not need to be clear, and hazy and opaque ciders are perfectly acceptable. Given time, some ciders will clear of their own accord, but they can be cleared using finings (bentonite works well) and some may need a pectic enzyme to destroy a pectin  haze in the cider (this is best added at the start of fermentation rather than the end).

When you say bugabear, you mean the whole idea is overrated? I don't mind cloudy, I'm not selling it to anybody.

I've read about the pectic enzymes, but I don't really understand all I know about that.

Offline alikocho

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Re: First cider
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2010, 03:51:13 AM »
Clarifying - This is one of my bugbears, and you need to decide whether you want your cider to be clear. It does not need to be clear, and hazy and opaque ciders are perfectly acceptable. Given time, some ciders will clear of their own accord, but they can be cleared using finings (bentonite works well) and some may need a pectic enzyme to destroy a pectin  haze in the cider (this is best added at the start of fermentation rather than the end).

When you say bugabear, you mean the whole idea is overrated? I don't mind cloudy, I'm not selling it to anybody.

I've read about the pectic enzymes, but I don't really understand all I know about that.

Not only is the idea overrated, it's inappropriate. The BJCP guidelines allow for some lack of clarity, but not opacity, and many judges see cider as an extension of beer or mead where less than crystal is a problem except in some styles. Clarity has been further pushed by mass market brands.

To be clear (pardon the pun), cider does not have to be clear. In fact opacity or a haze is characteristic in several styles of cider in the UK - e.g. Scrumpy is ALWAYS cloudy to varying degrees.

The pectic enzyme is only really necessary if your juice has been pasteurized, as heat will have caused the pectin to form. If the juice is unpasteurized you don't need it.
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Offline Michael Thompson

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Re: First cider
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2010, 11:39:40 AM »
Thanks for the "clarification." :-)

However, I may have committed some cardinal sin with this batch. A friend at the pub chided me severely because I boiled it. He says I have set the pectin and driven off the volatiles.

After the references to stunning the yeast and treating it much like beer, it just seemed instinctive to boil it to eliminate any nasties before fermentation. I know some people like the lottery of natural yeasts, but the odds did not seem good to me, especially as I'm not really familiar with the source of these apples.

I boiled the must for 30 minutes, then cooled it and pitched Lalvin EC 1118, which is a champagne yeast. I wanted cider yeast, but my local HBS didn't carry it, so I made do.

I'm not terribly worried about the pectin. At worst, I can clarify it later, or I can just drink cloudy cider, which is no problem to me. (Or is there another reason I SHOULD be worried about the pectin?)

The thing about the volatiles does concern me a bit though. Will this harm my flavor profile?

Is this a horrible sin, or just a minor glitch in the learning process? Has anyone else boiled their must before fermenting? How will it affect the cider?

BTW, I'm not getting a very active fermentation (at least not compared to beer). It's sitting in my basement at about 70 degrees F with only a little foam on the top and no real bubbling. Do I need to repitch or anything?

TIA

Michael

Offline euge

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Re: First cider
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2010, 11:46:23 AM »
NO!

It won't behave like beer. Sounds like you have a good ferm going on.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: First cider
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 01:01:57 PM »
Just fermented my first two batches of cider.  I used champagne yeast on one batch and it took a bit to really get rocking, but once it did I needed a blow off tube.

I do have to say though that I found the fermentation to be very beer-like.

Also, if you can get UV pasteurized, I don't think you need to worry about pectin.

For what it's worth this link has more info on making cider than you could possibly ever digest: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/results-juice-yeast-sugar-experiments-83060/

In the interests of sharing info, I'm assuming that posting a link to another forum is acceptable under forum rules...
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Offline alikocho

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Re: First cider
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 02:08:50 PM »
Volatiles - some may have been lost in the boil, but I wouldn't sweat it. This is apple juice, not honey, and is more robust.

As to the pectin, yes you should think about it. Pectin will form pectin blobs around yeast (think tiny frogspawn), preventing it from fermenting the sugars. My advice would be to hit it with pectic enzyme (2 tsp per gal as you heated). You should then see a pick up in ferment, although what you have going on doesn't sound bad and you don't need to repitch.  It won't behave like beer - ther'll be some foam for a bit, then it will gently ferment for some time.
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