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Time for apple cider :)

mike johnson

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Well of course like everything I do I don't do it unless it's all the way. So I figured with the holidays coming why not make some hard apple cider. 3 gallons of organic apple juice 1 3 gallon bottle and one airlock later. I'm already to go
 
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humdinger

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Mike,
Does it ferment naturally? Did you just add yeast? I LOVE LOVE apple cider and adding alcohol always seems like the next logical step. Tell me how you do it. Seems simple enough.
 

mike johnson

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This was beyond simple. I went to the grocery store the other day and saw a gal. of organic apple cider for 5.99 in a glass jug .  I went to the brew store a few days later and saw that they sell glass 1 gal. jugs for around the same price as the apple juice. So instead of buying a 1 gal. jug for mead, I figured I would buy a 3 gal. jug and do hard apple cider. That way I now have 3  1 gal jugs to use for other things. After sterilizing everything I poured in the 3 gallons of juice leaving a few inches of room for the bubbling stuff and 1 lb. of organic sugar mixed with a little water. Then I added the yeast. Ill let it go for around 7-10 days rack into another container for around 3 weeks, then rack at least 1 more time to aid in the clearing. Christmas will be a bit early for it but ill let the rest age a few months after bottling.

 This is my first attempt at this so well see how it goes.
 

humdinger

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Thanks Mike. I have a beer making kit that I need to use. Then I'll have a gallon jug to work with. I may hit you up with some cider questions later on.
 

mike johnson

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why wait? With the holidays here buy a gallon of cider in a glass jar and go for it.
 

atio

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Thanks Mike. I have a beer making kit that I need to use. Then I'll have a gallon jug to work with. I may hit you up with some cider questions later on.
Don't fall into the trap that I did with my first attempt at making this.  I used the same recipe as Mike after finding it on another forum (google "Edwort apfelwein" and you can find it) that said "Use any juice, it all comes out good!"  That isn't true.  I used store brand apple juice for my first recipe and, quite frankly, it sucks.  I'm struggling to drink it to be honest.  It's just terrible.  My second batch I used Motts apple juice and it came out much better.  I used the same yeast both times (Montrachet Red Star) and the same amount of sugar both times and the difference is night and day.

My 3rd batch is fantastic, but it's not apfelwein or hard cider.  I used two 96oz bottles of Ocean Spray Cran-apple juice then filled the rest of the carboy up with Motts.  I also used three pounds of sugar instead of two.  The alcohol content is pretty high, but the taste is outstanding.  I don't know if the extra sugar is providing the sweetness or the cran-apple is, but I think this will be my go-to pruno recipe from now on.  The straight apple juice can't compete.

Just something to keep in mind.
 

humdinger

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Thanks for the tip Atio, I'll keep it in mind.
 

mike johnson

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Well I bottled it a few different ways. I filled 6 bottles with flip tops but I added about 2 shots of Fire Ball ( cinnamon whisky ) first. I filled 3 wine bottles and put the rest in some large beer bottles and capped them. I did add the stuff to stop the fermentation but I stirred it slowly trying to keep as much fizz as possible.
 

mike johnson

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Don't fall into the trap that I did with my first attempt at making this.  I used the same recipe as Mike after finding it on another forum (google "Edwort apfelwein" and you can find it) that said "Use any juice, it all comes out good!"  That isn't true.  I used store brand apple juice for my first recipe and, quite frankly, it sucks.  I'm struggling to drink it to be honest.  It's just terrible.  My second batch I used Motts apple juice and it came out much better.  I used the same yeast both times (Montrachet Red Star) and the same amount of sugar both times and the difference is night and day.

My 3rd batch is fantastic, but it's not apfelwein or hard cider.  I used two 96oz bottles of Ocean Spray Cran-apple juice then filled the rest of the carboy up with Motts.  I also used three pounds of sugar instead of two.  The alcohol content is pretty high, but the taste is outstanding.  I don't know if the extra sugar is providing the sweetness or the cran-apple is, but I think this will be my go-to pruno recipe from now on.  The straight apple juice can't compete.

Just something to keep in mind.
 Was this a 5 gal batch or a 3 gal? What was your time line on your 3rd batch?
 

jlh42581

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I used the same yeast both times (Montrachet Red Star)
That right there is your culprit. The recipe you saw usually calls for Nottingham which is a clean finishing ale yeast. All different varieties will do different things. Take the same juice, use five yeasts, have five different flavors.

Montrachet seems like a great choice, but it imparts what I consider to be a plastic flavor.
 

atio

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 Was this a 5 gal batch or a 3 gal? What was your time line on your 3rd batch?
They were all 5 gallon batches.  The 3rd one I let sit for about 2 months before bottling.  Two weeks later I opened a 2L bottle at Thanksgiving and it got mixed reviews.  My father-in-law said "If there is foam on the top, the wine is bad."  But he hates everything so whatever...  My brother-in-law said "Yum, it tastes like Arbor Mist."  That one hurt  :)
 

atio

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That right there is your culprit. The recipe you saw usually calls for Nottingham which is a clean finishing ale yeast. All different varieties will do different things. Take the same juice, use five yeasts, have five different flavors.

Montrachet seems like a great choice, but it imparts what I consider to be a plastic flavor.
I just checked and the recipe definitely called for Montrachet, but I'll have to try Nottingham next time. I'm really the only one that drinks it anyway and if I can get through the really crappy stuff I made in my first batch, I can get through anything!
 

humdinger

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I just checked and the recipe definitely called for Montrachet, but I'll have to try Nottingham next time. I'm really the only one that drinks it anyway and if I can get through the really crappy stuff I made in my first batch, I can get through anything!
I know the feeling. I have all kinds of stuff I want to make (hard cider, egg nog from scratch, mead, etcc..) but it seems like I am the only person who consumes it. The only exception is smoked cheese....everytime I break that out at a party I risk losing a finger! ;-)
 

jlh42581

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Mike, just wanted to let you know also that looking at the picture of your carboy, thats quite a bit of headspace.
 

txhomebrew

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Hey guys!  Newby to this forum!  Had to chime in as I run a homebrew supply store part-time!

I have had a lot of successful parties cooking on my old offset smoker. Added a Rock's Stoker and takin it to the next level holding my temps down to 230 which I never could before!

I' too busy to mess with mail-orders so I ain't shopping for bidness :)

Ken "Beerman" T. 
 

mike johnson

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Mike, just wanted to let you know also that looking at the picture of your carboy, thats quite a bit of headspace.
That was for the initial part of fermentation. Since I didn't have a fermentation bucket at the time I allowed extra room so it wouldn't enter the airlock. After primary fermentation was over I racked it to within a few inches from the top of the secondary.
 

jlh42581

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Good deal, I do my primary in a 7 gallon brew bucket regardless of size unless its only a test gallon.
 

mike johnson

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I was given everything that I have to me by an old brewer. I have a 6,5,3, and several 1 gal jugs, capper, bottles, Stainless 10 gal or so brew pot with temp gage. Oxygen tank along with all the other little things that are needed. I am just starting out and Im enjoying the ability to drink my experiments.
 

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