Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homebrewing in new places -- Hard Cider Batch #5

Are you ready for another exciting homebrewing adventure?
Jug of cider
Yay Homebrewing!
I planned to get a batch of some new brew going in my new living place soon, but the yeast I had ordered to make my intended batch got sent to the wrong address by accident.

While browsing the grocery store today, I found a sweet deal on some apple juice for $2.75. I couldn't resist the price, so I bought two gallons worth to make some hard cider. It was especially nice because I could ferment the juice right inside the jug it came in.
Hard Cider Batch #5

1 gallon Zeigler's Apple Cider
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Lalvin EC 1118

Now before I started, I noticed that the ingredients on the package indicated that the cider had potassium sorbate added to it. Potassium sorbate is used to render yeast sterile, meaning that budding won't occur. The yeast can still cause fermentation, but it's likely to go a bit slower than normal. But of course, it all depends on how concentrated the sorbate is. I did a little research and people have used this juice in particular and achieved decent results. Plus with the powerhouse yeast I'm using, it might just work without any trouble.

The yeast of choice

More yeast
Reactivating the yeast

Drinking cider
A little taste test

My goal with this cider was to give it a little spice (cinnamon) and to bump up the alcohol a bit using some sugar. The OG of the juice itself is 1.050, which could give an ABV of about 6.5% naturally. Half a cup of sugar boosted the OG up to 1.060, and subsequently a projected ABV of about 8%.

Cinnamon Sugar swirls in every sip
Sugar and Spice makes everything nice

With my new, downgraded setup, I lost access to many of my previous sanitation luxuries, like my 40 oz glass spray bottle of Star San. I planned ahead though and pulled out my new bucket to act as my sanitation pit. Essentially it was a solution of 2.5 gallons of water + 1/2 oz Star San, guaranteed* to sterilize anything.

Might be easier than spraying everything down

More and more yeast

Once everything was mixed up and aerated, it was time to pitch the yeast. It smelled pretty good when I pitched it, but we'll see how it does with the sorbate added. I'm guessing it'll be a slow fermentation over the course of a week or 2.

Airlock attached
Such a nice day to do a little cider making outside

Aside from being used for sanitation, the buckets will also act as vessels to contain my fermenters for the time being. I don't have a brew closet up to the previous standards of my old one yet, so this will have to do.

Fun with buckets
Let's get this started!

Please note that this bucket contains a batch of hard cider

If all goes well with this juice, I'll consider using the second gallon for this year's pumpkin cider. I'll give an update on this batch soon. Until then, cheers!

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