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Question about Adding Sugar to primary ferment.

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Hello,
I've been playing around a bit with fermenting Apple juice for a few years. I have a question about adding sugar.

After my apple juice, yeast, and nutrient have been added to a carboy, can I just dump the sugar in without trying to dissolving it into the Apple juice first?
Assuming I don't want/need a starting specific gravity reading.

In the past, I have been sloshing the juice and sugar around in the carboy until it's fully dissolved. This is a lot of physical work. And I have to do this several times over the course of an hour to fully dissolve the sugar.

Hope my question is clear. Thanks in advance for your response.
 

Scooter68

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While not stirring will work.... eventually, I would suggest stirring a little. What volume of container are you making? 1, 3, 5 + gallons? Not stirring will just really slow the process down until the sugar eventually dissolves on it's own. Assuming it doesn't just form a crusty clump at the bottom. You could try waiting overnight to see how it fares but you might just have to use a little muscle power to get it done properly.
 

Rice_Guy

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my process is to melt (microwave) sugar into a cup or so of juice, I am impatient enough that I don’t wait for all to dissolve just most of it.
Like @Scooter68 i suggest you mix, ,,, after all how would you check gravity when it has settled on the bottom.
 

Scooter68

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Well he states he's not shooting for any particular SG target number. BUT I while it will dissolve most likely, it's also possible it could become a clump on the bottom too.
A little work is required even if it's just to help thing along.

Perhaps using an electric drill with a stirring rod would have the manual labor. A sanitized coat hanger with a loop on it small enough to fit through the container (Carboy?) lid.

One other point - If you are using a wine yeast make sure, assuming it's a carboy containet witha small opening, that there is enough head space in case a foam cap is generated. Foam fountains are no fun to clean up. (Draws fruit flies too.)
 

beano

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I sometimes add sugar, generally 1 cup, to my secondary vessels when racking over just to give it a lift, if you will. I use a wooden dowel to mix it up. If it sits on the bottom it will take weeks perhaps to assimilate into your wine.
Some might ask why do I do that.
The answer is because I can.
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT!

I know you did not ask this, but I question your decision to ferment in a carboy. A bucket would probably serve your needs better. For example, you can then stir the sugar easily.
 
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Thanks for all the great replies! It's nice to find an active forum, or should I say a "Fermenting Forum". Nerd Joke.

Here's some more details.
I don't really care about measuring the Gravity in this case, because I'm going to use the same recipe as a pervious batch, so I should already know about where the starting Gravity will be.

I'm using a 5 gallon plastic carboy. I've had really good luck with this, and have never had the apple juice bubble up and overflow.

I do have a long paddle to stir in the sugar with. However I'm worried that the sugar (store bought white sugar) could grid and scratch the inside of the plastic carboy while mixing, and lead to "little hiding places" for bad things to live in between cleanings/sanitations. Am I just being too paranoid???

I have two, 5 gallon carboys, I guess I could always do an experiment, and dissolve the sugar in one, and just dump it into the other. Then after everything is done fermenting, measure the gravity, and do a taste test.

Again, thank you so much for everyone input so far, this is great.
 
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Rice_Guy

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* sugar is unlikely to scratch aPET bottle, there isn’t much in the system, the particle size is constantly decreasing, sugar granules tend to suspend when mixed with an agitator. the stirrer is more likely to scratch therefore the drill is good. ,,, industry sells powdered sugar which improves the solution time, if it settles it can reform larger crystals
* commercial US apple is fairly consistent1.055 to 1.060 so your assumption on consistency batch to batch is reasonable.
* one of the dynamics is that crystals can cause a geyser in a carboy, a syrup won’t do this
* wine is a preservative system, I worry about scratches when there is high pH and no alcohol, in the time at the start many of us also have meta to encourage yeast, ,,, yup paranoia
* you should wind up in the same place with two carboys ,,,,, but it may take longer WO mixing. ,,, but Also If there are significant lees one could burry the sugar so it never solubilizes

? Cider at 6% isn’t a bad drink ? humm skip it ?
 

salcoco

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I would suggest using a bucket to stir in as it has more room in the opening and fermentation could be concluded as well the rack into the carboy for settling and aging.
 

Scooter68

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I would expect that a proper sanitizing of a PET or whatever species of plastic carboy would eliminate any bacteria. Also as Rice_Guy says once started with a proper pH and pre-treatment with K-Meta, that should provide the proper protection from bacteria if standard sensitization procedures are followed with containers and utensils used for the process.

Also judging from your concerns about scratches in the plastic - then a move to a glass carboy would provide peace of mind. Buckets are considered best and easiest containers for ferments up to about 5/6 gallons and those, even though plastic, are easy to sanitize. I sanitize when I finsih using and again just before using with a no-rinse sanitizer. Remember we don't need to ferment or wines in a sterile environment, but rather a sanitized one. Brewing, yes that requires more stringent processes but then remember beer/ale etc do not have a long shelf life due the their very nature as lower alcohol levels, we commonly have wines with double or triple those of beer and ale.
 

hounddawg

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when i add sugar at any stage (step feeding) or (back sweetening) at bottling time i only use dry sugar, in the ferment barrel/bucket i use a Kraft stainless steel mayo stirrer with my cordless drill to stir, in carboy i use a carboy stirrer that also goes in my cordless drill, the carboy stirrer i use can be found on several sites, Amazon for one,, it is a long stainless steel rod with 2 plastic folding wings/paddles, the slides thru the neck of your carboy, and dissolves in seconds, the top of the rod has a small universal drilled bung to keep the steel rod from touching your carboys neck, and at bottom a piece of tubing below the wings to keep the bottom of the rod from touching your carboy, i don't know how to post a link, others on here do, i do all my fermenting in food grade 14 gallon blue open top barrels and 32 gallon Brute food grade trash cans from home depot,,
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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AMEN!
Remember we don't need to ferment our wines in a sterile environment,
as a food industry person i see the rules and health department inspection reports which tell us what to do better, stainless is expensive so I don’t like scratches ,,, I also can step back and look at processes in Italy or Germany which are traditional, no plastic, limited stainless, lots of wood, concrete tanks, ,,,,, the traditional method never was sterile, wine is a forgiving food.
 

winemaker81

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When making 2nd run wines, I use hot tap water (I'm on a well, no chlorine to worry about) which is no where near boiling, add the sugar, and slosh/stir until the sugar is dissolved. Gently warming the apple juice to 120 F (similar to what @Rice_Guy suggested) will help the sugar dissolve faster. Let the must cool to 105 F or below before adding the yeast.
 

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