Brewing Discussions > Cider, Perry, Wine & Mead

CIDER 101

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Will_D:
As we are getting closer to the mega-juice delivery here are my notes and thoughts on making cider.

There are options at nearly every stage. I will list the options and highlight my preferred choice. I am not saying it’s the correct option but it’s what I do!

CIDER 101

As soon as you get the juice you need to check the gravity and pH (if possible)

Last year’s juice stats:

Gravity(hydrometer) = 1.051
Gravity(Refractometer) = 1048
pH @ 13C 3.80


As far as the gravity is concerned you can assume that the cider will ferment out to approx. 1.000

So the above would yield typically 6% abv

Option 1:
Add extra sugar to boost the gravity and colour(if using dark sugar)
Do not add any sugar.

I chose not add sugar

Now the pH reading is all about Option 2 and 3

Option 2:
Add Campden tabs depending on the pH
   Recommended doses are:
         > 3.7: 3 tabs per gallon
   3.4 .. 3.6: 2 tabs per gallon
   3.1 .. 3.3: 1 tab per gallon

I chose to add 2 tablets per gallon Don’t worry all the SO2 will be fermented out!

You can then leave the juice for a day or so with no risk of natural yeasts starting up!
Also if you can’t start fermenting make sure the juice is kept cold

Why add the CTs?  One reason is just to boost the acidity and secondly to suppress the natural yeasts ( well both in fact)

Now we come to Option 3:
What yeast to use?

If you don’t add the CTs then you can use the natural yeasts present
If you don’t add the CTs then you can also add commercial yeast so you have a mix of strains

Commercial yeast you can use:
Youngs/Magnum Cider yeasts
Wine making yeasts like a chardonnay or a champagne yeast
Nottingham Ale yeast (recommended recently)

Or one I am testing at the moment: WLP-830 German lager (fermenting happily at 10C)

Last year I used the Chardonnay. This has the advantage that it usually comes with nutrient.

The brings us to the next option:

Option 4:
What additions if any?

You can add Yeast Nutrient to boost yeast growth

Pectic Enzyme (aka. Pectolase) in case there is any pectin present but this is less likey as there is no pulp (I think thats where the Pectin is)

Some blends may be a bit low on Malic acid so you can add some of that but it may be better to wait until blending in the spring

We already mentioned sugar

Fermentation

Initial ferment will be warm ( about 20C ) to get the yeast going. Then will go cooler ( about 16C ) until most of the initial fermentation has subsided then it will be outside for the winter at whatever temps we get.

Last February I had a look and proceeded with the next stages.

By now the cider should be clear, bright, flat as a flat fool and probably as dry as a very dry thing.

How to get if from here to drinkability involves more options Blending, Sweetning and Carbonation

Blending Ciders:

You may have different batches of cider from this year or even previous years, if so you can experiment with blending the juices

Sweetning the juice:

You can use the artificial sweetners – the downside is that they add no body and some of them can be detected on the palate

Use more natural unfermentables like lactose or malto-dextrin – these add sweetness and body

If use either or both of these then you can bottle condition as you would a beer

Adding sugars:

You can sweeten the cider by adding white sugar, brown sugar, fresh apple juice or reduced concentrated juice or fruit wines or extracts but then you MUST PASTEURISE the cider!

Pasteurising:

This is actually very easy:

Heat your cider in a pot/burco or whatever to 70C, hold at 70C for 15 mins and then you have pasteurised the cider. ( Note you can also do this to the original juice if you want to store it for drinking or sweetening or making cider in the spring)

As the cider is warming up I do the blending of the sugars and juices to the raw cider. The bit of warmth brings out the flavours nicely

Cool it with a copper coil if you have one.

The cider can then be bottled as still sweet(to taste) cider

If you want carbed pasteurised cider then read on:

Fill a corny keg, chill to about 2C and force carb it.

You can also fill bottles from it with a counter pressure filler.

Here’s to the cider season

NJoy

Greg2013:
This will be my first time brewing with this juice, what would be the best yeast for me to use and how much for 25 litres of apple juice? I have 50 litres coming so i want to do one drum more or less standard,not taking any chances. The other drum i am thinking of splitting into smaller quantities for a bit of dabbling? Any suggestions on this please ? BTW thanks for the post above, might be a good sticky ?  ;D

Greg2013:
Got that Tube thanks ;D

Eoin:

--- Quote from: Greg2013 on October 16, 2013, 06:52:22 PM --- Any suggestions on this please?

--- End quote ---

Beef it up with honey to make a cyser.

Add some mild spices.

I'll be keeping this pretty straight up myself for the purposes of checking out the juice quality.
I've only used supermarket juice up to now apart from a failed attempt using cookers.

Sent from my HTC One

Eoin:
I have a 6l press but it's seized.

Sent from my HTC One

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