Pet-nat tips

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Giulio Pini

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Apr 24, 2024, 10:56:44 AMApr 24
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Hi all!

I wonder if any of you does pet nat/ancestral method and I have a few questions;

Before bottling, do you cold crash the vessel? Since fermentation is still going, even if slower, I am afraid the haze in bottle will be too much. I cold crashed 50 liters pink lady cider before bottling at 1.006 and I had pretty good results. Should I just skip this part and bottle a very hazy cider?

At what gravity to bottle? I had pretty good results at 1.006, resulting in a light sparkling, kind of sweet cider. What if I bottle at idk 1.010 and then let the bottles referment at a cold temperature (10C)? Will I get a sweeter but still sparkling cider?

Keep in mind I let my juice ferment naturally with no added so2 before or after. If anyone has any other advices on pet nat I am glad to read them! Thank you!

Patrick McCauley

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Apr 24, 2024, 11:48:13 AMApr 24
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I would definitely try to bottle it when it's fully clear. You're more likely to retain the fruitiness, and perhaps some sweetness. There will also be less sludge in the bottom of the bottles, and it will likely be less funky than if you do have excessive lees in the bottle. Additional racking at cold temps will slow the cider and help it clarify in my experience. In the future, I would do an additional racking or two when you're closer to 1.020, to really slow the cider and help it to clarify by the time the cider gets to your target bottling gravity. Good luck!

Pat McCauley

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Frozen North Fruit

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Apr 24, 2024, 11:59:42 AMApr 24
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You get about 0.5 volumes of CO2 per 0.001 point of gravity.  So 1.006 going to 1.000 would give 3 volumes of CO2 ON TOP of what is already dissolved from the original fermentation.  1.010 to 1.000 is 5 volumes CO2 which is champagne bottle levels and if it ferments lower than 1.000 you are really getting into trouble. 

No, bottling sweeter does not stop fermentation above 1.000.  It just gives more food to yeast.

You really need to know your yeast, your apples, your fermentation.  If you have tons of experience with keeving and you are following your gravity drops.  And you know your keeves always end at 1.010.  Then you could bottle at 1.012-1.014 if you are seeing your fermentation SG drop slowing BUT you are risking as perhaps this time it DOES go below 1.010.

For pet-nat I assume my fermenation will hit 1.098 and bottle at 1.004 in champagne bottles AND I pop bottles on a regular basis to see if I am starting to hit too high levels of carbonation.

I am not an expert though.

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 24, 2024, 12:43:12 PMApr 24
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I routinely bottle at SG 1.012 to 1.014, to finish about 4 SG points lower in the bottles (i.e. 1.008 to 1.010).
I do insist in having a perfectly clear cider before bottling - if it doesn't clear naturally I use fining.
I do keeve most of my batches, but this works also for unkeeved batches - in that case, more rackings are needed, and natural clarification doesn't happen often, hence need for fining. Keeved batches usually clear easily.
The FSU (normalized at 10C) should be at maximum of 15 for safe bottling.
If FSU lower than 10, it helps to add a micro dosage of nutrients and/or yeast to insure some sparkle.
That is about it - more in my book!

T Bell

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Apr 24, 2024, 1:10:22 PMApr 24
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Claude, can  you specify which fining agent(s) work best for your keeved cider.  Mine have a persistent haze.  I have tried Scottzyme Spectrum with limited success so far this year.

T Bell

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Apr 24, 2024, 1:38:44 PMApr 24
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Build a test bottle. 900 g campaign bottles are rated for over 100 psi. Hang out at your local recycling center right after Christmas and New Years to get free bottles. I have taken these Perrier bottles up to about 90 psi without blowing the top or rupturing the bottle.
gauge.png

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 24, 2024, 1:51:49 PMApr 24
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Well, successfully keeved cider don't need fining - it is mostly for un-keeved batches that it is necessary. I would think if your keeved ciders don't clear, it is maybe the keeve went wrong somewhere - maybe you racked too soon or too late?
In any case, my favorite fining is Chitosan followed by a silica solution such as Kieselsol, Bevasil or Levasil. Dosage however needs to be more than suggested.
I have also used Bentonite successfully.

T Bell

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Apr 24, 2024, 2:20:59 PMApr 24
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Thanks, you are probably right. The keeve was not completely successful. Though the chapeau was solid, there was a little residual pectin that did not have sufficient gel strength to capture bubbles. Most of that settled by the time of the first racking. With successive rackings, anything that could settle was removed. A slight haze persisted which may or may not be pectin. If it were pectin, Spectrum should have taken care of it. I ordered chitosan and kieselsol and will see how that works out.

gareth chapman

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Apr 25, 2024, 2:54:38 PMApr 25
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Bottling at 1006 and only getting a slight sparkle with residual sweetness would indicate your fermentation was tending towards stalling.
But it does bear the question as to whether it might eventually ferment to dry or whether it is truly finished.
I would normally bottle a pet-nat at 1003-4 by which point I would have usually racked early after a day or two of fermenting and again prior to bottling and I would expect the cider to be fairly clear (say clear enough to be able to read print through.

Giulio Pini

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Apr 25, 2024, 6:59:11 PMApr 25
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I am concerned as to why a lot of times you suggest to rack in general. Isn't racking basically oxygen contact?
Cider is like a weak white wine, I don't use sulphites or clearing agents, so I tend to rack as minimum as possible. I also have access to mainly dessert apples with a starting low level of tannins, and I aim for a slow fermentation to retain the fruity flavors and odors. That's why I usually prefer cold crashing over racking to clear or slow a fermentation. Am I missing something?

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 25, 2024, 8:18:19 PMApr 25
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Le jeudi 25 avril 2024 à 18:59:11 UTC-4, Giulio Pini a écrit :
I am concerned as to why a lot of times you suggest to rack in general.

Who do you mean by "you"?
 
Isn't racking basically oxygen contact?
That's why I usually prefer cold crashing over racking to clear or slow a fermentation. Am I missing something?

Well... cold crashing is also racking isn't it? Just that you rack a colder cider...
And yes there is some added oxygen contact during the racking process, but this doesn't last for more than a few minutes. What we really fear is oxygen contact that lasts for days.

 

Dick Dunn

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Apr 25, 2024, 10:37:01 PMApr 25
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On Thu, Apr 25, 2024 at 05:18:19PM -0700, Claude Jolicoeur wrote:
(replying to Giulio Pini on cold crashing vs racking)...

> > Isn't racking basically oxygen contact?
> > That's why I usually prefer cold crashing over racking to clear or slow a
> > fermentation. Am I missing something?
>
> Well... cold crashing is also racking isn't it? Just that you rack a colder
> cider...
> And yes there is some added oxygen contact during the racking process, but
> this doesn't last for more than a few minutes. What we really fear is
> oxygen contact that lasts for days.

Claude is right there, and factor in additionally that either process
(cold-crash or rack) will release dissolved CO2 which blankets the liquid
in the receiving container as it is filled. It's probably not a lot of CO2
released from a nearly-finished cider, but enough to fill the headspace of
the receiver if the fill is close.

Hmmm...pursuing that line of thinking...There will be more CO2 released
into the headspace in racking than after cold-crashing: in the racked
sending container, the CO2 in the cider is at saturation for the temp/
pressure. It will release as much CO2 as the agitation of racking allows.
But cold-crashing pulls the liquid below CO2 saturation so it can't release
as much.
--
Dick Dunn rc...@talisman.com Hygiene, Colorado USA

Giulio Pini

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Apr 26, 2024, 6:31:11 AMApr 26
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Claude, not referring to anyone in particular. I just read about racking being suggested and used a lot here, and I always worked with the rule that racking is somewhat dangerous to cider. So it must be me. Not blaming or criticizing anyone!

Frozen North

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Apr 26, 2024, 7:10:09 AMApr 26
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Racking after cold crashing is still racking.

More frequent racking is done based upon the objectives of the cider maker.  In this case the desire to remove as much yeast from play as possible to control rate of fermentation and hopefully leave residual sweetness.

Others who like dry ciders may choose to just leave it entirely in primary until clear and bottle directly.  To each their own.


Cold climate fruit growing experiments North of the 45th parallel
https://www.frozennorthfruit.com/


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Patrick McCauley

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Apr 26, 2024, 7:54:24 AMApr 26
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For my own cider, I rack very often and don't have issues with contamination or oxidized cider. Sanitation in the cider room is obviously very important, and I find that exposing the cider oxygen, while it's still actively fermenting, isn't an issue. Many of the cider making manuals make everyone paranoid about oxygen contact, but the short amount of exposure during racking shouldn't be an issue.

Pat McCauley

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AW

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Apr 28, 2024, 1:34:17 PMApr 28
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I think Giulio is making a distinction between cold crashing (one racking) versus the multiple rackings required to clear an equivalent amount of solid material.

Giulio,  one answer nobody has given you is that your low-tannin apples are more susceptible to oxidation that many other kinds of apples.  One theme on this board is that racking serves to reduce the yeast and nutrient content, which positively impacts flavor.  I would guess that what others simply call "racking" is often coincident with cold temperatures and would probably be regarded as equivalent to "cold crashing" by many others.  

Miguel A. Pereda

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Apr 30, 2024, 11:26:02 AMApr 30
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Indeed, in rackings without protection or addition of sulphites, a small amount of oxygen is dissolved but its oxidative effects will depend on factors such as the polyphenol content and whether fermentation is active or not because the yeasts act as a reductive element. What can also happen is that the volatile acidity will rise depending on when the racking is done.
Miguel A. Pereda

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