The cider thread

Discussion in 'Brewing & Beer Knowledge' started by Steve, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Steve

    Steve Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Who's making cider here? Been doing quite a bit lately since moving down to Florida. Sadly not a lot of fresh pressed apple cider here, but plenty of other fresh pressed fruit.

    Making a 20% mango cider with some nice fresh pressed mangos as of now.
     
  2. Snarf

    Snarf

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    I joined the hb club in Asheville last year because they do a big cider pressing. I got 15 gallons last year and split it three ways. Two batches got campden - one Nottingham and one Wyeast Sweet. I had to repitch both after a few days and the end product sucked. The batch I let ferment on it's own eventually got pretty good, but it was very 'assy' for months.

    This year, I'm hoping for 15 gallons again, but I'm going to let it all ferment on it's own. I'm hoping racking off the lees several times will help with the stank factor.
     
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  3. JoeLikesBeer

    JoeLikesBeer

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    Nov 11, 2013
    Be careful with the racking. I'd highly recommend purging your vessels with C02 and racking very slowly. You can drive off a lot of aroma if you splash and oxidize.
     
  4. Snarf

    Snarf

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Excellent point. I was too lazy to type that, but I've already been warned about oxidization by a friend who makes cider every year.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  5. rcubed

    rcubed

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    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    My friend Chris Banker gave a great talk on making cider from juice (i.e. not fresh pressed) at last year's NHC. Check out his presentation on the AHA website.
     
  6. JoeLikesBeer

    JoeLikesBeer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Nice. I'll give that a look. I used to make pretty good cider back in the day with a jug of unfiltered cider like the kind you usually see around harvest/late fall in milk jugs, or R.W. Knudsen brand in the glass jug.

    Easy method - have the yeast and airlock ready.

    1. Open jug
    2. Pour out about half a cup of cider and drink it! (not from the jug tho)
    3. Pitch half a packet of dry yeast
    4. Wait until activity stops, recap, and put in the fridge immediately.

    You end up with all the yeast settled at the bottom so you could rack if you wanted, but I used to just pour carefully from the jug into glasses. It ends up lightly sparkling, not fully carbonated.

    These days I crave that big fruity aroma from unpasteurized fresh press. You just can't get that with pasteurized juice. The complexity still isn't there with most ciders too. Someday we'll have some real cider apple acreage in this country. We're just making compromises until then.
     
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  7. Michigan

    Michigan

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Royal Oak, MI
    I just buy unpasteurized cider from the cider mill by me and forget about it until the jug nearly explodes in the back of my fridge. Open it up and pour a carbonated glass of hard cider. I'd guess it comes in around 5-6% ABV
     
  8. Kirkse

    Kirkse

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    rurrrral, IN
    Just bottled my first cider. Whole Foods unfiltered apple juice and champagne yeast. Super easy and quite tasty. I'm planning to use Dupont Cidre dregs for my next batch.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Skittle34

    Skittle34

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Location:
    Northampton, MA
    Any idea how many gallons I can feasibly get from a bushel of whole apples? Would it be a better idea to grab some local pasteurized cider for my first go round? Shanks brother-men
     
  10. FTowne

    FTowne

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    Home
    How long do you let it ferment?
     
  11. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo

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    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    I have heard two bushels yields about 5 gallons so you should be able to get ~2.5 out of your single bushel. Do you have access to a press? If you do I say go for it.
     
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  12. Skittle34

    Skittle34

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    Aug 29, 2013
    Location:
    Northampton, MA
    Good to know!
     
  13. Kirkse

    Kirkse

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    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    rurrrral, IN
    I bottled it after about two and a half weeks. It was done fermenting after about 4 days though. It obviously needs a little more time, but I was too impatient.
     
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  14. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    I just started my first cider of the season. I picked up 3 gallons of unpasteurized cider from a local orchard. Heated it on the stove to ~185F (don’t let it boil) and let it sit for a little while to kill all the wild yeast/bugs. Rehydrated some Nottingham dry yeast and gave it some yeast nutrient to get it kicking before pitching it into the cider. Don’t just pitch dry yeast directly into the cider, especially if you’re doing a full 5 gallon batch. It will work but the yeast are going to be stressed which will lead to an inferior product (off flavors). They’re already pissed that someone dried them out and put them in a little package with no food for an extended amount of time. Plus it doesn’t take much to rehydrate them and toss them some nutrient. I plan on picking up 4 more gallons with 3 getting Saison yeast and 1 fermenting with its own wild yeast. I treat the cider like beer when fermenting. After pitching the yeast shake the carboy vigorously for a few minutes to get oxygen in the cider for the yeast. After that do the normal stuff to keep oxygen out (bung and air lock). 1 month ferment, can rack into secondary halfway through if you’re worried about the lees giving it a bitter taste. I’ve never had a problem with this in beer so I don’t typically rack to secondary. Bottle condition for 2 weeks minimum. Boom, just in time for Thanksgiving. It’s a lot easier than all-grain brewing.
     
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  15. FTowne

    FTowne

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    I need to give this a try. Why saison yeast? What are the benefits?
     
  16. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Two reasons. First, I love saisons. Second, ciders are tricky to keep from getting extremely dry while bottle conditioning. While saisons are dry, the Dupont yeast strain is notorious for getting stuck in fermentation and that is what I'm banking on. I also haven't seen anyone do it so I want to see how it will turn out.
     
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  17. koopa

    koopa

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    I sat in on one of his seminars last year. Seemed like a nice enough guy but I wasn't impressed by what he had to say or by the ciders he served. Store bought juice ciders fermented with beer yeast simply don't compare to fresh pressed ciders (when the pressing are the correct varietals) fermented with white wine or cider yeast IMHO. The best hard cider comes from tart, tannic, bitter apple varietals that aren't the kind used in making store bought apple juice. Not sure if he really believed what he was claiming, or if he was just trying to make hard cider making seem more approachable though.....
     
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  18. dbrese

    dbrese

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    I've been making hard cider for the past five years as a seasonal diversion from brewing. It has taught me more about focusing on yeast selection and fermentation techniques due to the fact that one doesn't actually "brew" a cider. The comment above is very true about the vast difference between store bought apple juice and cider-specific varietal apple must that comes from a cider mill. It's similar to the difference between wine grapes and table grapes. You can't come close to the flavor and complexity with the usual apple juice and you probably won't be making the alcohol-pop Woodchuck or Strongbow sweet ciders with the acidic and tannic varieties.
     
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  19. koopa

    koopa

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Got a carboy of cider fermenting at this moment....

    50% Reine De Pomme
    25% Redfield
    18.75% Jonathan
    6.25% Golden Russet


    Pitched on Sunday....

    [​IMG]

    Currently.......

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Skittle34

    Skittle34

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Location:
    Northampton, MA
    Fermenting under it's own accord or did you pitch some yeast?