So I have 500lbs of apple.....

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hounddawg

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From the pictures ratchet and crank which I think should be a step up from the one I had ordered which was just a direct screw.

I was intenting to half or quarter the apples before smashing with the stamper. I'm thinking a few good stomps should get it to near mush form. The key will be only smashing smaller amounts at once I think which is what is going to slow me down.
yep every direct screw break on me as well
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hounddawg

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@varano14 Get a cheap sink (cleanable stainless steel, does not have to be new) and disposal (new and clean!) There are YouTube videos, blog posts, etc about using them. Homebrewtalk.com has posts, haven't searched Winemakingtalk, or here - Whizbang Cider.net He advocates building a tray, most places say buying a sink is easier and faster. Otherwise, same setup, grinds fast. If you have a decent press on order, you should be fine. As I said in some other thread- some people ferment with fruit, it is probably too much mess to press after ferment though. Fruit should be fine a few days - some apples or pears hold much longer, some apples or pears don't. Whenever it is sweated ripe and ready.
now i like that ideal. i could put one on my 3 basin stainless sink. I LIKE THAT IDEAL, , room is my problem, that would set under the sink, still have 2 basins free...With out crowding my wine room even more,,
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Rice_Guy

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* the note above for a clean garbage disposal works and a lot of folks do it. You are looking for a 1/8 to 1/4 inch granule, if you get too fine you blind the press bag and too large leaves a lot of juice.
* for home production several nylon bags will contain the pulp, clean pillow cases would work if you don’t have anything else.
* good you found a press, if you were improvising you could accomplish it as a stack of press bags with plywood separators. The pressure could be threaded rod or bar clamps on the corners.
* pressing is faster with thinner dimensions for the juice to travel. ie a twenty inch high stack of four inch high pillows with layer separations will press faster than a single twenty in high bag. Mixing also helps speed extraction.

500 pounds is a lot, I would wonder if a local apple farm would let you rent time on their equipment, ,,, or rent the old antique pieces that they use for a store display.

Good luck on the project.
 

varano14

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if you were improvising you could accomplish it as a stack of press bags with plywood separators. The pressure could be threaded rod or bar clamps on the corners.

500 pounds is a lot, I would wonder if a local apple farm would let you rent time on their equipment, ,,, or rent the old antique pieces that they use for a store display.

Good luck on the project.
That is actually a really good idea for an improvised press. Probably the best I have heard so far as it requires almost no skill to set up, whereas some of the ones using bottle jacks require some woodworking ability.

And yes 500 pounds is definitely a lot, they wanted me to come back for another load (another 500#) and I had to say no. I think if this goes well I would consider doing a much larger run next year if the apples are good again but I will plan it out so that I have help lined up as well as a legitimate crusher set up. I enjoy a project like this but prefer to go into it with a solid plan.
 

Neil

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I had a similar problem. One year I did the sink waste disposal. Took way to long. The last couple of years I just put them through my Mulcher/Chipper. Its designed for small branches and handles the apples really well. I put a bucket over the discharge and pour about a bucket of apples at a time through. The mush that comes out is perfect for pressing. Takes about 15-20 seconds per bucket.

At the end of the day I just hose the chipper down and clean out any remaining mush. Its not "food grade, stainless steel" but I figure the apples have been lay on the dirt for a while so they are not exactly clean to start with and if I hose out the chipper well after the small amount of juice that gets into the machine isn't going to hurt it - after all its designed to deal with branches, tree sap and the like.
 

Arne

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@Arne that's 500 pounds of apples, where is he going to put them for freezing?
Well, it was a thought. Another would be cut them up and throw them in the primary. Would be nice if you have ferment bags to throw them in. Again, large quanity. Probably quite a few bags and a few ffermenters. Arne.
 

Vinegaroon

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Sounds like a fine windfall. A hand crank grape crusher works pretty well, better when it doesn’t have the destemmer bars. You can also pound them in the ancient Basque style, lots of work but fun if you like that sort of thing. For that the easiest way is a 20 or 25 gallon stainless kettle and a heavy chunk of wood. An oak bannister post from a big box store has the advantage of being small enough where you need to grip it and heavy enough that it goes pretty well as long as you don’t have the apples piled too deep. I’d leave them on the porch out of the sun if possible you don’t want them to spoil but letting them “sweat” for a week or two will help your cider.
 

varano14

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Sounds like a fine windfall. A hand crank grape crusher works pretty well, better when it doesn’t have the destemmer bars. You can also pound them in the ancient Basque style, lots of work but fun if you like that sort of thing. For that the easiest way is a 20 or 25 gallon stainless kettle and a heavy chunk of wood. An oak bannister post from a big box store has the advantage of being small enough where you need to grip it and heavy enough that it goes pretty well as long as you don’t have the apples piled too deep. I’d leave them on the porch out of the sun if possible you don’t want them to spoil but letting them “sweat” for a week or two will help your cider.
My plan is similar to the stainless kettle idea. I am going to use a heavy garden tamper and a brute trash can to smash them.

As far as sweating them that is the first I have heard of that. So are you saying it may actually be beneficial to let them sit for another week? They were picked Sunday so by Saturday they will have been sitting in my basement for just about a week.
 

Vinegaroon

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Yes sir, two things happen the apples soften a bit and they dehydrate some. So they crush a bit easier and the juice is a little richer in sugar. You want to visually inspect everything you crush anyway but when they’ve set for a week the buggy ones are much more obvious because spoilage has progressed but the apples that are sound are fine. I have read about folks waiting as much as a month but I never have, two weeks or so works fine though. Ya I have a heavy tamper too I guess I’d never given that much thought. Somebody else on the thread advised about getting your pulp too fine and plugging your press bags, I’d do small batches and dump repeatedly otherwise you wind up with applesauce and it doesn’t press well. But ya apples maybe two or three deep in your bucket a couple of good whacks take a look,maybe a couple more dump and repeat. Good excuse to have friends and family over. Keep plenty of beer on hand and enjoy!
 

Eddy Monsoon

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Freeze them for 24 hours. The ripest ones first if you're short on space.

When they're defrosted they go mushy. Easy to juice or just bust up anyhow.

Get the fermentation going and add more as they come available

Canadians do a fair bit of this, known as ice cider, has more sugars I believe.

The rougher the better in my view, making a Scrumpy style Cider (I hail from SouthWest England)

I've got 10 litres (from 40lbs) brewing atm so I reckon you'll get about 120 litres of 7-8% cider all up. I'll post a picture of mine when I get home.
 

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That is actually a really good idea for an improvised press. Probably the best I have heard so far as it requires almost no skill to set up,
it is not my idea C Jolicoeur in The New Cider Makers Handbook has plans/ photo. He also has plans for a build your own apple crusher. If you are doing apple every year he is the best reference I have seen, he likes to explain the goals and give predictive photos and the chemistry, . . . etc.
 
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varano14

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Update for those curious how this is going.

This weekend I started (with the intend of finishing) crushing and pressing the apples. I had about half the day Saturday before I had to leave on a trip. In that time I got through about 180-190 lbs of apples, assuming a crate is about 50lbs. This was 3 presses full. It resulted in about 9 gallons of cider. Based on what I am reading online my method is doing okay efficiency wise. My strategy was as follows:

1. Quick hose of of the apples to knock off large debris
2. Quarter the apples
3. Once I had a 5 gallon bucket full of slices I dumped that into a 30gallin brute,
4. Smashed them with a garden tamper. This took a lot of physical effort on my part.
5. Smash until there are very few large pieces left, usually at the point that smashed apples started splatting up in the air I stopped
6. Transfer mashed apples into a mesh bag and load into press.
7. Press and enjoy
 

Rice_Guy

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did you put yeast on? add sugar?
Apples at room temp have a few weeks shelf life and a cool garage can be months, ciders I have done are about 1.050 which would be 5.5% alcohol, the pH can be good or late apples sometimes are over 4.0.
If I have limited time I would start a ferment and add more as it is made, a refrigerator temp (38) was fermenting after two weeks last year. Freezing could be indefinite storage.
My sugar will be honey, is a cyser, , , good luck on finishing the rest.
Update for those curious how this is going.
 

varano14

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did you put yeast on? add sugar?
Apples at room temp have a few weeks shelf life and a cool garage can be months, ciders I have done are about 1.050 which would be 5.5% alcohol, the pH can be good or late apples sometimes are over 4.0.
If I have limited time I would start a ferment and add more as it is made, a refrigerator temp (38) was fermenting after two weeks last year. Freezing could be indefinite storage.
My sugar will be honey, is a cyser, , , good luck on finishing the rest.
So for the first full bucket of cider I added plain sugar to bring it up about 1.080-1.090 to make it more wine strength and pitched yeast. The fermentation appears to be underway. Our house is cool this time of year which I think will be good for fruit wine fermentation.

Last night with the help of my wife I processed the remainder of the apples I plan on turning into cider. I saved about 50lbs that I plan to make into apple butter. This resulted in a total of about 19 gallons of cider. Which worked out nicely as it gave me two more 6 gallon buckets to work with and left me with an extra gallon to just drink. I am letting the second two buckets warm up a bit today an plan to pitch yeast tonight. I am a bit undecided on what to do with them. I considered using brown sugar for one and making it wine strength and then for the other leaving it at hard cider strength and then kegging it. This of course would require me to purchase all of the kegging equipment and is also a process I know nothing about but I do enjoy hard cider.
 

varano14

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This thawed-apple "ice" cider is staying cloudier than usual, still early days !
Looks good I have three 6 gallon buckets fermenting right now. I'll try to get some pictures in a week or so when they are in carboys
 

verdot

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I have a small orchard and make cider almost every year so I can give you a few tips -

I use wyeast cider strain with nutrients and pectin

I ferment cool. Here in western North Carolina I will leave the carboy in a room in garage where it stays around 60 and I will rack after primary and leave it to finish up over winter and spring. If it goes lower or even freezes it’s not a problem.

I rack to bottle and add a dosage of sugar for carbonation and bottle in beer and champagne style bottles, keep at room temp a few weeks. The champagne bottles can be riddled and the yeast blown off in traditional method but I don’t recommend it for a beginner and some yeast left in the bottle will be fine.
 

varano14

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I have a small orchard and make cider almost every year so I can give you a few tips -

I use wyeast cider strain with nutrients and pectin

I ferment cool. Here in western North Carolina I will leave the carboy in a room in garage where it stays around 60 and I will rack after primary and leave it to finish up over winter and spring. If it goes lower or even freezes it’s not a problem.

I rack to bottle and add a dosage of sugar for carbonation and bottle in beer and champagne style bottles, keep at room temp a few weeks. The champagne bottles can be riddled and the yeast blown off in traditional method but I don’t recommend it for a beginner and some yeast left in the bottle will be fine.
I too am trying to ferment on the cooler side. Probably around 65 degrees. I planned to store it in my basement for the winter to allow to clear and see where it was at in a few months. I have never carbonate so I am currently planning to make this all into a wine style drink. I did add sugar to bring the alcohol up a bit closer to wine territory.

I have to say while fermenting it is giving off a bit of a funky smell, hopefully it tastes better. How much does the flavor change over time after it has fermented?
 

verdot

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I too am trying to ferment on the cooler side. Probably around 65 degrees. I planned to store it in my basement for the winter to allow to clear and see where it was at in a few months. I have never carbonate so I am currently planning to make this all into a wine style drink. I did add sugar to bring the alcohol up a bit closer to wine territory.

I have to say while fermenting it is giving off a bit of a funky smell, hopefully it tastes better. How much does the flavor change over time after it has fermented?
If the smell is like cabbage or eggy you may have an H2S problem, which yeast produce when they lack available nitrogen. I had it this year with a batch of wine. Adding yeast nutrients/energizers at the start of fermentation can help with off-aromas. Adding some yeast nutrient might help.
 

varano14

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If the smell is like cabbage or eggy you may have an H2S problem, which yeast produce when they lack available nitrogen. I had it this year with a batch of wine. Adding yeast nutrients/energizers at the start of fermentation can help with off-aromas. Adding some yeast nutrient might help.
That is sorta the smell, will it hurt to at the nutrient this late? Probably a week into the ferment already. If it is too late will the smell effect the wine or will the ferment just slow down?
 

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