Apple Wine/Cider Season... how do you roll?

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by Yeasty Boy, Sep 21, 2018.

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  1. Sep 21, 2018 #1

    Yeasty Boy

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    My local orchard said they have started pressing and have juice ready to sell. Someday I hope to get a press.
    I have searched this forum for a good recipe to ferment pure apple juice and couldn't find anything, but my wife says I am not good at finding things.
    Any advice?
    Going for 5 gallons.
    White sugar, brown sugar, honey, step feed, back sweeten?
    To spice or not to spice?
    So many options...

    thanks,

    Adam
     
  2. Sep 21, 2018 #2

    BernardSmith

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    Always the contrarian, the best recipe is the recipe for the flavors and tastes you want. In my opinion, good apple juice - and by that I mean juice pressed from apples with the right level of acidity, the right amount of tannins, the right amount of sugar, the right amount of liquid needs only access to the right yeast and that could be indigenous yeast - and so you have scrumpy or lab cultured yeast and so you have a more .. um.. refined cider. But adding sugar or spices? Back sweetening? That's like gilding the lily. Of course, if you don't have access to good apple juice, then you don't have a lily to begin with...
    Bottom line? I would seek out the very best orchard pressed juice I could find and either make some scrumpy (and that can be risky) or aim for a more refined cider perhaps using 71B as your yeast (71B has an affinity for malic acid and tends to soften it's harshness through I am not sure what process transforming malic into lactic
     
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  3. Sep 21, 2018 #3

    Yeasty Boy

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    I had to look up "guilding the lily" but maybe you are right. Don't want to mess with perfection. The local orchard says they just press the apples and put it in a jug, no extras. Would you introduce the yeast in the bucket/primary or just in a carboy and let it ferment and sit for a year. Never thought of this.

    Thank you sir
     
  4. Sep 21, 2018 #4

    BernardSmith

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    Here's the thing: cider can be made and drunk much like beer (IMO) so it can taste wonderful after a month. I have rarely aged cider but I often make apple wine and cyser (a mead made with apple juice to replace the water usually used to dilute the honey) and wine and cyser certainly are transformed after 9 months to a year. That's because as I wrote earlier with some yeasts such as 71B the harsh malic acid found in apples is transformed into more smooth lactic acid .
    Many mead makers have a rule of thumb that goes something like this: for every additional percent of ABV above 5 or 6% you need to age the liquor another month or two. I tend to treat most wines in the same way. You can drink any wine after a month or two but if the wine is good then after a year or so it will be magnitudes better. If the wine is full of fusels and other off compounds and flavors then aging such a wine may not result in any significant improvement. You really cannot make silk from a pig's ear.
     
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  5. Sep 21, 2018 #5

    Scooter68

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    Are you going to make Hard Cider or Wine? WIth the second you are going to have to add sugar and possibly some other additives to balance the wine in terms of pH. With cider...
     
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  6. Sep 21, 2018 #6

    Yeasty Boy

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    I guess I don't really know the difference. I don't have a way to carbonate and never done it naturally. I was just looking to make a tasty alcoholic drink out of fresh juice and bottle it. I am pretty new to this and like being able to gather fruits and things that grow around me to ferment into a tasty beverage. Everyone else I know does craft beer and this is something different.
     
  7. Sep 21, 2018 #7

    sour_grapes

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    And, although nearly everyone uses "to gild the lily," the correct expression (i.e., what Willy S. actually wrote) is "to paint the lily."
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  8. Sep 21, 2018 #8

    ThunderFred

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    My cider process is fairly simple. Buy 6 gallons and throw one in the freezer. Ferment the other 5 dry without adding any additional sugar. You can play around spices if you want. Sorbate it to kill the yeast and when you think you're in the clear add the gallon from the freezer to back sweeten. Clear it a little if you would like and drink away.
     
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  9. Sep 21, 2018 #9

    Yeasty Boy

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    What yeast you like? You pitch in a bucket or carboy?

    thanks TFred
     
  10. Sep 21, 2018 #10

    Scooter68

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    Cider is basically fermenting the apple juice with little to no additives for fermentation other than yeast. (In it's simplest form) The resulting ABV is typically between 5 and 7 percent depending on the amount of sugar in the apples to begin with.
    Wine is typically begun by pushing the SG up to a point where the finished product will have a ABV of 10% or more. (Some may go lower but most wines recipes start with a goal of 10%)
    Wine will keep longer because you also need to adjust the pH so that it starts with at somewhere between 3.4 - 3.6. The combination of higher ABV and more acidity allows a wine to keep longer than a cider in most cases unless you cold store the cider. So cider is more like beer in having a more limited shelf-life.

    That's over simplifying it but I think that gets the most important difference identified for you.
     
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  11. Sep 21, 2018 #11

    Yeasty Boy

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    Thanks Scooter,

    I will probably go for 5 gallons of wine then. Just for the fact that it will keep longer. I may try to do a gallon or straight cider with yeast and fresh pressed juice only.
    learning lots here.

    Adam
     

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