How long is too long????

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TimmyR

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Jul 25, 2010, 10:29:11 AM7/25/10
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So I made cider last Fall. From the subject of my post you can guess
that life got in the way and all my cider is still siting tight in my
basement in secondary fermenters since Nov 09 I think. Getting ready
to taste them...any thoughts on if they are all going down the drain?

Andrew Lea

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Jul 25, 2010, 10:33:38 AM7/25/10
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Chances are they'll be fine so long as the airlocks have held. If the
airlocks are empty it'll be bad news I'm afraid.

Andrew

--
Wittenham Hill Cider Pages
www.cider.org.uk

TimmyR

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Jul 26, 2010, 10:40:59 PM7/26/10
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Thanks Andrew (again). I think I've procrastinated mainly because I am
not sure the best "next step." Do you recommend I was going to just
keg each batch and go from there, but felt I may need to sweeten them
a bit first or maybe just bottle condition them in 750 ml magnums.

How do you like to package cider? Would you recommend force
carbonation then bottling?

Andrew Lea

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Jul 27, 2010, 2:09:39 AM7/27/10
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There are so many ways. It is a matter of preference. Personally I like
bottle conditioned if you have the bottles available to cope with them.
Don't forget if you sugar sweeten then that sugar will almost certainly
re-ferment so it won't stay sweet unless you pasteurise it.

TimmyR

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Aug 11, 2010, 10:38:18 PM8/11/10
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OK, so I tasted them all. The pasteruized juice ones all are rich and
really tart; the unpasteurized ones are also tart, but a bit thinner
in flavor.

What next? I am tempted to blend, add puree or try sweetening. All 5
seem to tase good (I think) but since I do not know what to expect, I
am seeking some general advice. I think I may just try carbonating a
batch to 1.5 volumes or so, and see how ti tastes. When I last tasted
them, they were much more dry-apple-chardonnay-like, NOW they are
really tart...I think I like them. Is the tartness due to malo-lactic
(sp?) fermentation?

Does any of this make sense?

On Jul 27, 1:09 am, Andrew Lea <y...@cider.org.uk> wrote:
> On 27/07/2010 03:40,TimmyRwrote:> Thanks Andrew (again). I think I've procrastinated mainly because I am

Andrew Lea

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Aug 12, 2010, 5:48:44 AM8/12/10
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Timmy I think the only one who can decide now is yourself. Try different
ideas and see what you like best. Cider is for your pleasure, not
because it has to conform to someone else's norms!

Just two points:

Increased tartness is not due to malo-lactic, which will actually reduce
tartness. It could be increased 'volatile acidity' due to bacteria but
then you would probably describe it as vinegary.

Light carbonation as you suggest can 'lift' the flavour. If you do add
puree or sugar, remember that fermentation will likely start up again
sooner or later - hence more gas will be produced and eventually that
added sugar will disappear. Best to drink within a week or two or
pasteurise in bottles if you want to do that.

Andrew

TimmyR

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Aug 12, 2010, 6:41:12 PM8/12/10
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Thanks Andrews. I chuckled as I read your response...since I knew
that taste and enjoyment of cider is just like homebrew. I definitely
do not think I have any acetic acid or acetobacter working in the
mix. I am pretty sensitive and tend dislike that flavor except in
just a few Flemish Ales.

I doubt I'll pasteurize this time, but instead take a shot at force
carbonating a batch in a small 3-gal keg I have and see what happens.
I may just order some pure fruit puree and see if that lends any
complexity. I must say that I am pretty happy and plan to make a
couple larger batches this Fall when apple harvest is at its peak here
in the Midwest.

TimmyR

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Aug 28, 2010, 9:58:24 AM8/28/10
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As this has become a bit of my record-keeping, I thought I'd post an
update. I've packaged my first two batches of cider into 3-gallon
cornelius kegs. Both batches came from flash-pasteurized juice with
an OG of around 1.044, FG 0.999. Batch 1, fermented with White Labs
WLP775 is extremely tart/sour, with no obvious vinegar off-flavor.
Batch 2, fermented with Red Star Cote de Blanc, is much less tart,
smooth but does not have as much apple-like flavor coming through.
Batch 1 could possibly be kept long-term as a sour-blend batch.
Batches 3-5 are awaiting bottles or kegs, but I think I may plan to
just package in 750ml bottles and see what happens. I tend to think I
waited too long to package, but am excited to now do some taste
testing/blending and sweetening as apple-harvest is upon me once again
very soon and I want to make 10-15 gallons this year.

Love the forum and thanks for all the excellent information.

CiderHead

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Aug 28, 2010, 2:20:08 PM8/28/10
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Tim,

You've mentioned the word "tart" a few times in your messages. My
question to you is this: have you measured the acidity? You make no
mention of it.
In my early days of cider-making I decided that the tartness of my
cider was a good thing. Nobody else did, though. I realised, after a
couple of years, that what I was really doing was bigging up my own
cider in my head. Really, I didn't like it too sharp (i.e. too
acidic). You seem to be going through the same process because you
state that you "think" you like your own cider. I now freely admit
that, contrary to the advice of the cider puritans, I reduce the
acidity of my cider every year to about pH 3.5-3.6, and about 4.6-4.8%
titratable acid using Potassium Carbonate (though this seems to be
getting rather expensive and I may just use precipitated chalk this
coming season). I don't have the luxury of my own orchard where I can
plant the varieties of apple trees that I would like. I have to make
do with what I get so, to me, a bit of minor adjustment of the acidity
is not unreasonable (and I reckon my paying customers would agree to
that, also). So, if you aren't measuring acidity levels, I suggest you
do. It's entirely up to you, of course, whether you choose to adjust
it or not.

Cheers,

Martin
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