Apple Wine... Now Apple Cider

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by Scooter68, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    Ok, I made a quick decision to change my latest batch of Apple wine into Apple Cider.

    (I know such decisions can result in Undesirable outcomes but... Had to try this once,)

    The Must started out with 100% Apple Juice with 1/2 gallon from a pasturized Apple Cider and 1 Gallon from Fresh Apples juiced in my Auger Juicer. In a 2 gallon fermentation bucket.

    Starting SG was 1.090 and today it was down to 1.030. i crushed 1 campden tablet dissolved it, mixed it in and then snapped on a hard plastic cover. Stuck a heavy paper towel in the airlock hole (No room for an airlock) and put it into our fridge. (Second fridge) .

    According to my ABV calcualtions I'm at 9.19%. The taste is good, sweet and no real sharpness or bitterness right now. Actually the best tasting 'Wine in process' I've had other than the yeast taste it's very good more than "Drinkable"

    Plan at present is:"
    Keep in fridge for about a 1 week, (Today is first day in the fridge)
    Remove and Treat with sorbate,
    Return to Fridge for another week
    Remove from Fridge and rack through fine mesh strainer to catch any large lees present. (Looking to get about 1 gallon from the 1.5 gallon batch or perhaps more depending on how much the lees compact in the fridge

    OK open season on me now.
    Bad idea?
    Different plan of attack?


    Don't have sterile filter but do have a Harris filter - Ok with cloudy Cider.

    I have a dozen "Ez-Cap" bottles and hope they could handle any pressure bulld up from a restart of fermentation - carbonation.
     
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  2. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    Hi Scooter68, My concern would be about the presence of a large colony of viable yeast in your cider (or wine... not sure that you can transform wine into cider once you have increased the gravity to 1.090 - I think cider is simply the fermented juice from pressed apples) . I am not so confident that simply refrigerating the cider and then adding sorbate will eliminate the yeast. I think you may need to cold crash and then rack. Repeat. And repeat again and then add sorbate. But I am unfamiliar with Harris filters. If they can remove yeast cells then my concern may be wrong-headed.
     
  3. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    I agree with the process you suggest. Racking several times is a requirement to eliminate as much of the yeast as possible and then use the sorbate and K-meta to prevent a restart. Even doing that I am going to use stronger bottles (Beer/Ale bottles) to hopefully avoid any bottle bombs.

    As to the differences in Wine/Cider. I understand what you are saying. Essentially my view is that several Hard Cider recipes call for a process of small amounts of sugar initally and then after fermenting dry, adding more sugar or apple juice to sweeten and return the flavor. To me this amounts to the same approximate amount of sugar over all and hopefully preventing the loss of flavor and not needing to add store bought apple juice.

    Interestingly several sites/thread suggested that when they ferment the ciders all the way dry, they lose the apple flavor and therefore they use apple juice concentrate to restore the flavor. At the time I put the fermenter in the fridge there was plenty of flavor.

    As to filtering, the filters I use may not work as they are gravity operated and clog quickly. I am thinking of coffee filters in a strainer. And will probably use a strainer by itself first and work down to the coffee filter. Using the multiple rackings as opportunities to do this filtering.

    Will update as things progress and of course listening to other comments too.

    If this fails.... I'm going to blame my son-in-law :db - He was visiting this week and tried the ferment in process and said that it tasted like a hard cider (Which he likes). So to appeal to his tastes I am venturing down this route.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  4. Cher

    Cher Junior Member

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    Are your EZ-Cap bottles the swing top variety? I personally would not use any other kind (short of champagne) if there is a potential for carbonation. The cap will lift enough to spew out some contents and relieve the pressure so the bottle does not explode -- still makes a mess, but no broken glass. One way to monitor the potential carbonation is to fill one small, clean, plastic soda bottle when you bottle. Store it with your glass bottles. A squeeze will tell you if pressure is building in that bottle.

    It is also my experience that letting cider ferment all the way dry saps most of the apple flavor. My one attempt at stopping fermentation in a cider (bottle pasteurization) was a lot of trouble and not something I would repeat. However, working with a gallon, filtering as you plan to do, you can probably get away with storing the bottles in the refrigerator and drinking fairly early with little risk. If you have some die hard yeast left, well, a little sparkle can be nice in cider. But I would seriously do one plastic bottle, just to monitor.
     
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  5. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    YES, they are the swing top variety.

    And since this is just a 1 gallon batch (maybe a little more) I can store the bottles in the fridge hopefully preventing a full fledge restart of fermentation that way as well.

    If well received this one gallon may not last until Christmas if that long. I know this is rushing a product but... It's an experiment. I have enough apples for another batch as well. For that I may go get some Nottingham yeast which seems to be the preferred yeast used by hard cider makers. And yes, they all comment that fermenting dry loses a lot of the apple flavor. So smaller batches that i can keep in the fridge seems the safest way to go if I don't ferment dry and given the lower ABV which in this case is 9.19%


    Then next year I will be set for a better more planned effort. Right now I have one more gallon of apple juice ready but need to cut and press another half gallon to account for lees. That batch may get a cinnamon treatment for the holidays.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  6. Mismost

    Mismost Senior Member

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    Scooter at 9.19% , I think you still have wine. If you like it right there, I would cold crash it....get it down to near freezing for few days and let the yeast fall out. Rack off and bottle. Put 4 or 5 bottles in a big pan and cover with water. remove the bottles and bring the water up about 155-160....then cut the heat and add the bottles back back in. Try to get a 140ish degree soak for about 20 minutes before you remove the bottles...pasteurized, dead yeast, no bottle bombs.

    Some folks do a sanitation run their dishwashers....be sure your heat is on if you do.
     
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  7. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    Sounds much like a canning process but with lower temps. I have 4 ez-cap 1 liter bottles cleaned and sanitized ready to go and another 8 still in the box so they are what I'll use for this. They should fit nicely in the fridge once this is all done.

    Yes, it's in the fridge as of yesterday afternoon. Will wait 4-5 days then rack into carboy and put back in fridge for another 4-5 and rack again - through a fine stainless steel strainer and see how that looks. Filtering is probably not in the offering since all the filters I have are fine/polishing filters and would clog in about 10 seconds with this batch.

    As too the ABV - this was started with the intent of being a wine, thus the starting SG (Which snuck up a bit higher than planned.) After my son-in-law and I tasted it when it was at about 6.5% the gears started turning, thinking about changing from fermenting dry and of course clearing it completely, to stopping short and leaving it cloudy and ABV below 10% (Which is where I thought wines ABV territory starts. In any case by the time I got back to the batch it had fermented to 9.19% and I decided to take a chance on this.

    What I find interesting is that dedicated cider makers vary on their ABV numbers AND most comment that they lose most of the Apple taste when they ferment dry at any number. So I figured with the Apple flavor still strong now, it is worth a shot.

    Thanks for the comments - still open to ideas. Have another 5 quarts of Apple Juice freshly pressed in the fridge and about ready to put that into the bucket in the next couple of days. As I mentioned going to go with the Nottingham yeast for this batch and start lower on the SG numbers as well. F
     
  8. Cher

    Cher Junior Member

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    Safety Sam says, if you do the pasteurization, have a lid on the pan when the bottles are in the hot water. When those swing top bottles vent, it kind of goes sideways as well as up. Shouldn't happen with no carbonation, but just in case.
     
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  9. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    So the directions are to cap before pasteurizing? I would not have thought that a good move for the reason you mentioned. no other method of capping that permits venting? Hmmm. May chose to use k-Meta, Sorbate, and cold storage of my bottles then. Also not a fan of heating anything that doesn't have to be heated due to flavor loss along with other volitiles that can be blown away by heat.
     
  10. Mismost

    Mismost Senior Member

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    which is why you cork or cap and only go 140...killing yeast with as little heat as possible. I don't like it either....but dislike bottle bombs even more. it works.

    I've also used the swing tops and they will vent and I have a nice batch of vinegar in swing top bottles....for whatever reason. I always ferment dry just because of issues like this...a small squirt bottle of simple syrup to sweeten in the glass is a much easier fix in my mind.
     
  11. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    That by the way is a good point. When does it stop being a cider and become a wine? A couple of sites state that cider is normally 3% to 8% Except on the continent where that number goes up to 12%.

    So, we live on the continent - it must be cider! :)
     
  12. Arne

    Arne Senior Member

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    LOL, long as it tastes good and you are happy with it, Who cares? Arne.
     
  13. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    That's the goal something that we like - especially the two sons-in-law.

    By the way - I went ahead and pulled it from the fridge and racked to another bucket and ran it through my fine mesh strainer. Lost about 1/4 gallon to lees. down to 1 1/4 gallons and it's back in the fridge.

    Question ? To sorbate it should it be allowed to warm back up? I've added 1 campden tablet already while it was warm before putting it into the fridge.
     
  14. Arne

    Arne Senior Member

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    Hmm, too bad we arn't a bit closer. I could swing over and give a bit of a taste test. Could tell better what to do. :i Arne.
     
  15. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    Well, I've got enough apple juice for one more gallon batch of cider. It will have 1/2 gallon store bought (With ZERO preservatives or additives) and 3 quarts of our own apple juice from McIntosh and Winesap trees. Checked the SG and it's at 1.054 with no sugar added, that's good for about 8.4% if it ferments to fully dry. Going to let this batch go that way and then back-sweeten with some filtered juice just before bottling. (Will add sorbate and K-meta as well before back-sweetening.

    Nice part is that I don't have to have a clear cider. When the taste is right it gets bottled clear or cloudy - I'd leave out the k-meta and sorbate if I thought it was safe but.... Not a high risk taker.
     
  16. scodoublet

    scodoublet Junior Member

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    Newbie to the site here!
    I love "hard cider" / "apple wine!"

    Fortunately for me, I live right near a farm that makes unpasteurized cider.
    They also make their own "hard cider"....technically Apple Wine, I guess. They make lots of flavors and always have free samples! :)
    It's up there around 12%. Their mulled version is so good that I've created my own using theirs as my template.

    Last batch I did was a full 6 gallon carboy.
    In season, they press daily, so I am able to get unpasteurized cider anytime.
    Then I add a bunch of sugar to get the SG up to 1.095 and some mulling spices along the way. Basically treated it just like I would wine.

    Mine ends up ~12% and pretty dry, which is what I'm going for.
    Right before drinking, some people like to cut it with hot plain apple cider for a nice warm drink with a little kick.
    I like mine straight and as cold as possible!!
     

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