HOMEBREW Digest #5723 Sun 29 August 2010

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  RE: Cider (David Kudrav)
  Re: Cider ("Michael P.Thompson")
  Re: Cider (Tim Bray)
  Re: Cider (Robert Tower)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 09:44:46 -0500 (CDT) From: David Kudrav <dkudrav at hiwaay.net> Subject: RE: Cider Last year I made a hard cider for the first time. I bought four gallons of fresh, local cider with no preservatives. I added 3lbs of clover honey (not local) and about 1/2 gallon of water. I pitched one packet of champagne yeast. I let it ferment about 1 month in primary and another two in secondary. (But believe one month in secondary would have been enough). I kegged it and only hooked it to serving pressure, so it did eventually become lightly sparkling. Everyone loved it. Two or three things I may change this year: -Make it 5 gallons instead of 4 gallons of cider. -Possibly make a true cyser, rather than cider by adding significantly more honey. (May or may not do this). -Use local honey. Hope this helps, Dave Huntsville, AL Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 13:43:49 -0600 From: "Michael P.Thompson" <thompson at ecentral.com> Subject: Re: Cider On Fri, 27 Aug 2010 12:18:56 -0500, Joe Dunne <jrdunne at hotmail.com> wrote: > As the fall arrives, a friend is encouraging me to brew a batch of > cider, > which I have never attempted. > > His plan is to pick up some unpasteurized cider at the farmers market. Sounds like a decent plan. There's a good article by Mark Pasquinelli in the latest issue of Zymurgy about making cider. Very informative, and it would probably be of great help to you. See http://tinyurl.com/ 26y8gne for details if you don't get the magazine. Michael - -- Doras Cuil Travel--Your one-stop travel source Certified Destination Specialist for Ireland and Scotland http://www.dorascuil.com Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 15:02:02 -0700 From: Tim Bray <tbray at wildblue.net> Subject: Re: Cider Fall must be approaching - the first Cider questions are popping up, like the early apples falling from the trees... > His plan is to pick up some unpasteurized cider at the farmers market. OK so far. What they call "cider" (only in America) is actually juice; properly, Cider is fermented juice. (In America, "cider" has become a marketing term - it has no formal definition, despite what many people think.) Fresh juice for drinking has a balance between acidity and sweetness. When you ferment it, the sweetness disappears entirely (all the sugars are easily metabolized by yeast). Ciders made from drinkable juices are often too acidic as a result, so you want to start with a juice that is cloyingly sweet - it should have virtually no perceptible tartness. > > From what I have read recently, you should either heat the cider to > pasteurize it or add campden tablets. > > Is one of these preferable to the other? To me, sulfite is far preferable to pasteurization. Heating fruit juice is generally a bad idea, it sets the pectin (so the finished product will never clear) and it changes the flavor. You can adjust your dosage of sulfite (Campden tablets) depending on how you want to ferment the cider. > My understanding is that the campden tablets will not necessarily knock > out the potential naturally occurring yeast that may be in the cider > while heating it certainly would. > > I'm planning to pitch a cider yeast anyway, so I'm not sure if it matters > for us. Both true. And since you are planning to pitch yeast, you can use around 100 ppm sulfite to stun the wild yeast and bacteria, wait 24 hours, and pitch your yeast. I think that's 2 Campden tablets per gallon. > Also, in an attempt to keep this simple (we both have kids and little > free time) I'm not planning to back sweeten, just ferment it out and > see what it's like. > > In the event it is too tart and we decide to back sweeten, do I need to worry > about cider yeast reaching an unpleasantly high alcohol content? Yes, because if you don't kill the yeast, it will simply consume whatever sugar you backsweeten with, and it will keep doing that until it reaches an alcohol toxicity limit or you give up, whichever comes first. The natural sugar content of most apple juices will produce a dry cider of around 5 to 7 percent alcohol; really sweet juices sometimes get to 8%, rarely even more. Most Saccharomyces yeast strains will tolerate two to three times those levels. You can get around this a few different ways: Use a less-fermentable sugar source (like honey, which often improves a marginal cider) or a nonfermentable sweetener; kill the yeast by pasteurizing before backsweetening; or, sulfite to stun the yeast, chill to drop it out, rack off, sorbate to prevent budding, and then backsweeten. > Or, should I assume that the cider yeast will stop working at a > relatively pleasant alcohol level and that the addition > of late sugars will only add sweetness? If you find such a yeast, send it to me! Or get one of the yeast labs to propagate it - North American cidermakers would be delighted to have such an option. Alas, all Saccharomyces strains metabolize fruit sugars quite readily and therefore produce a dry cider. This is why many of us persist in gambling on spontaneous fermentations: some wild yeasts have very low alcohol tolerance, and you can end up with a finished cider with residual sweetness. That's kind of the Grail for cidermakers, but it's a risky endeavour, because the alcohol levels aren't high enough to suppress some of the other bugs that will spoil the product. > Also, any thoughts on aging vs. drinking it by/on Halloween would be welcome. Generally cider will improve a lot with several months of aging, up to about 2 years. Young ciders are often harsh and overly acidic. It might be drinkable by Halloween, and I read a lot of accounts from people who say their ciders taste great after only a couple of months, so YMMV. As with beer, fermentation temperature is important. The best ciders are made with cold fermentations - the slower the better, basically. Cheers, Tim in Albion, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2010 15:07:25 -0700 From: Robert Tower <roberttower at sbcglobal.net> Subject: Re: Cider Joe Dunne of Chicago inquired about making cider from unpasteurized juice (apple I'm assuming). Yes, it's true that if you want your cider yeast to be the exclusive fermenter then you need to use campden tablets or some other form of sulfite. Otherwise, you'll get a mixed culture fermentation and depending on what's already in the juice, this may turn out wonderful or not-so-wonderful. My technique is to use a readily available dry fruit wine yeast (Lalvin K1V-1116). This is described as a "killer" strain, and I've never been able to figure out if that means that it simply will out-compete any other strains that are present or if it really does kill other microbes. Regardless, it definitely works. I never sanitize any of my equipment pre-fermentation, making sure only that it is clean. I've never had even the slightest contamination or off-flavors. Admittedly, I've never tried this using other strains so I don't know if it's simply a function of the acidity and alcohol that is achieving this or if it indeed is a function of this particular strain. But if you are looking to avoid adding sulfites or pasteurizing, I whole heartedly recommend using this particular yeast strain. I would also recommend that you invest $10 or so in an acid test kit. They are extremely simple to use. In my experience, if the juice needs any correcting it's that it is acid deficient. In this case, you add malic acid or acid blend. The directions that come with the test kit will tell you how much to add. I bring the acidity up to 0.6% total acidity and I've found this to be a good balance. Your tastes may differ, but I would suggest this level as a starting point. As far as alcohol levels go, most apple juice averages about 1.050, and it will ferment down to dryness, about 0.996 to 1.000, leaving you around 7% ABV. If you back sweeten, the yeast will wake up and start fermenting (eventually) again so if you want to retain the sweetness you will need to stop the yeast with a combination of sulfite and potassium sorbate. Read up on using the sorbate because if you add too much you may end up with off-flavors. I like my cider dry so I don't back sweeten generally, but I've found if the fermentation stops around 1.000 most people don't find it too dry. At 0.996 it's noticeably dry. If you do back sweeten be careful to not go overboard. I've found that 3-4 points of specific gravity increase will make noticeable increases in the perceived sweetness. If you want to have the cider ready by Halloween I would recommend adding yeast nutrient, thoroughly aerating the juice ("must" is the correct term at this point), and fermenting at warmer temperatures (70 F.). If you do these three things, it will be fermented down to dryness within 7-10 days and you can then rack to secondary and let it set for two more weeks before you bottle or keg. However, if you are not in a rush, I would recommend fermenting at 60 F. for a slower ferment. The advantage to this is that much more of the delicate apple aromas are not "boiled off" as they are in a violent and quick ferment. I've experimented with fermentations as high as 90 F. and as low as 50 F. and have settled on a happy medium of 60 F. At this temperature you retain the aromas but you finish primary fermentation in a reasonable amount of time. At 50 F. it takes months to finish rather than weeks. Even at 90 F. the cider tasted good with no off-flavors but it was a lot less aromatic and had less overall character. Extended aging in secondary will also improve the cider, but it's the law of diminishing returns. Once during a particularly hectic time in my life, I let a batch set in secondary for a full year before I bottled it and it was the best batch I ever made. How much better? Well, only a little bit better but it was noticeable. However, I would have rather been drinking it months earlier in its "not quite as good" state rather than having to wait so long. Someday I'll get it together to make enough of it each year so that it can rest a whole year without my running out of the previous batch. We all have our goals in life! Good luck and let us know how it turns out. Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
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