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Cider Day

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by lukem, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    There are two ways I have used in the past.

    Easiest is to put the juice into a barrel and kill all the wild yeasts off with sulfur tablets, then start a fermentation off with champagne yeast.
    This is the most reliable method for a good taste, and is most often used commercially.

    Last year was the first time I tried to be clever, and use just a small amount of sulfur, enough to kill some of the yeasts that cause off taints, and leaves the good yeasts that make the juice naturally ferment into hard cider.

    I'm using the first method this year, as the results are more reliable.

    There are some interesting old cider articles written in the USA found in the Genesee farmer magazine, I have read some in the past, as it is quite relevant to making cider when using old style equipment:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=genesee farmer cider&f=false

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  2. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Think my link went wrong, google Genesee Farmer Cider, it works better than my link........it's at the top........
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I love cider . . . and hard cider.

    When it comes to cider though . . . it has to be non-pasteurized . . . to me pasteurized cider tastes like apple juice . . . it is most definitely a different taste.

    When it comes to hard cider . . . it has to be a Woodchuck Cider . . . I even half considered making a trip to their factory in Vermont next month when I go down for the Woodstock factory tour and event . . . but figured it will be a busy day without trying to add an additional factory tour into the mix.
  4. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Why would anyone make pasteurized hard cider, alcohol is a good preservative.....
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Around here folks are often worried about food safety . . . trust me . . . this is one time that pasteurizing a product truly ruins the flavor.
  7. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I have to agree. Pasteurization changes the flavor and essentially makes unfiltered apple juice. I press with some friends every year on their farm and we just pressed 20 gallons the other day at a rate of about 3 gallons/bushel. We pick from the tree mostly, and scrutinize any drops off the ground.. no questionable looking apples. Then we hose all the apples with clean water. We drink a bunch fresh and give some away.

    We do pasteurize some of the cider to make apple juice which will then be put up in mason jars for the winter. It gets heated to around 170 for 10 minutes, ladled it hot into clean, sanitized mason jars and then put the lids and bands on. No water bath needed.. the jars seal right up from the heat.

    I used to make some hard cider, but I much prefer beer. The process woodchip mentioned is probably ones best bet for making the hard stuff. You can add sugar if you wish to make it stronger. IIRC, about 1 cup per gallon will double the alcohol content. Most cider ferments to around 5% abv.
  8. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    We don't pasteurize either for reasons mentioned above. We bottle in clean milk jugs and straight to the feezer.

    You have to be careful how much you drink, cause it will clean you out if you know what I mean....
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We did our cider pressing yesterday using mostly kings, some shays and a small batch of golden delicious. The resulting cider is fantastic! We ended up getting 12 gallons out of about 4 bushels and I got an opportunity to try out a unique homemade cider press. It's compact, portable and designed to hang on the wall when done. That's the builder of the press in the picture. It worked really well for our small batch. I liked it so much that I've ordered up one for next year's pressing.

    Today, I start my first batch of hard cider. Wish me luck!

    IMG_1319web.jpg IMG_1320web.jpg IMG_1321web.jpg
    Highbeam and pen like this.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    If you can, post some more pictures of the the crusher/shredder. I'm going to build a press before next fall and that's the only part I haven't figured out.

    For the actual press, I'm going to do something similar, except I'll make a spring loaded platform for the jack so it will self retract back into the "pressing position"....a lot like a shop press. I'm also going to use an "air over hydraulic" jack because I have one laying around and I'm lazy like that.

    I have some oak 2x and 4x material milled stickered for the build. I'm sure it will still be wet when I make it, but it's just a cider press.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Love the skunk trap under the apples.

    Hard cider is very easy to make, much easier than brewing beer. No boiling and cooling, no hopps additions and timing, no mashing the grain to get sugar from starch. I use pasteurized cider, UV pasteurized, because that is all that is commercially available and I know that the yeast growing in there will be the yeast that I added. Plus, sulfites give you headaches. I don't want to add headache chemicals to my cider.

    You add way more than a cup per gallon of sugar. I added 2 lbs of brown sugar to 5 gallons and the finished ABV was only about 6%.

    If allowed to run its course, the yeast will eat all the sugar and leave you with a dry cider. That's fine if it's what you want but this isn't what commercial hard cider tastes like. To restore sweetness, I add at least one full cup of Xylitol per 5 gallons of cider. Xylitol is a non-fermentable alcohol sugar.

    Go here for the best information I could find when I first started.

    http://makinghardcider.com/
  12. f3cbboy

    f3cbboy Feeling the Heat

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    I have really go to try this it looks great. I will look into the link above, when i get home from work, its blocked here. How long does it have to sit fermenting? i just havent seen it anywhere yet.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Just like beer. The yeast will be done eating after about two weeks and then you either bottle carbonate or keg. I did not find that quality or taste improved over time. It was very good.

    There are no naughty photos on that site, just content.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's definitely easier, that's why I figured this would be a good starting point. Sulfites are in almost all wines and my head is ok, so we will see how it does with our cider. Of course, there may be headaches later if I taste it a bit too frequently. ;) I'm not that fond of sweeter ciders and ironically, artificial sweeteners give me headaches, go figure. Many ciders I've bought are dry, seems like it's a matter of preference.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You can always sweeten the cider to taste when you pour it into the glass. Just like a sweet tea.
  16. f3cbboy

    f3cbboy Feeling the Heat

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    itas jsut blecked at work due to its content being about alcohol.
    Naughty phonts would be a plus!
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Weird. We have no blocked sites at work but I also don't dare try and visit sites that might be naughty. That would not look good in the newspaper.
  18. f3cbboy

    f3cbboy Feeling the Heat

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    I hear ya. i dont really go to naughty, but anything to do with firearms, alcohol or even gossip pages is blocked. I cant harly select anything on the yahoo home page to read!
  19. Agent

    Agent Member

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    My cider season was over a month and a half ago.
    I made crabapple cider since regular apple trees are kinda few and far between out here, and my crabapple tree was loaded down HEAVY this year.
    So I cobbled together this press together from pallet pieces and 2x4's. Had to borrow my car jack from the Honda, as those are kinda difficult to make out of pallets.
    All my crabapples were chopped up in a food processor 1st, which took a bit of time, but the results were spectacular.
    Processing something like 300 lbs of crabapples yielded 12 gallons for hard cider, and another 3 or 4 that we just drank as is.
    I really need to come up with some better way of chopping those little guys up though.
    The regular crabapple cider has a definite tang to it, but isn't all that bad. But in the hard cider, the tang and the dryness makes it seem extra dry, so some back-sweetening is required.

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  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You get an A for ingenuity and perseverance. 300# of apples chopped in a food processor has to be some sort of record. We still have a lot of crabapples on a tree, hmmm.
  21. NickDL

    NickDL New Member

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    This is one of those things on my list of things to do one day.
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I purchased the plans to build the cider press/mash-making system featured here - haven't done it yet, but I like this guy a lot and think his design looks pretty neat:

    http://www.whizbangcider.com/

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