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Gillian's First Cider

  • 40 lbs (approx.) unknown variety of apples
  • Yeastlab British Ale Yeast (A04)

I collected the apples and let them stand in a cool well aerated area for 1 week. I did not wash the apples or cut out diseased parts, I just made sure that obviously rotten fruit were thrown out. I cut up the apples and put them through my home fruit juicer. This piece of equipment was designed for juicing the odd orange for breakfast, 40 lbs of apples were way out of its design parameters! It took hours and wasn't very efficient, I'll never, never, never do it that way again. Moral of the story - buy or hire a fruit press.

The apples yielded approximately 2 gallons of juice. I added 2 crushed campden tablets and let the juice stand for 24 hours. I then checked to O.G. which was 1065, and the pH which was 3.03. In retrospect I should have raised the pH to about 3.9 with precipitated chalk! I pitched the yeast (about 10 ml of slurry) with 2 tsp of yeast nutrient and 2 tsp of pectolase. The fermentation got off well and 8 days later I racked the cider to glass carboys. At this point the gravity was 1010. One month later I bottled the cider in pint beer bottles without priming sugar.

For a first attempt the cider wasn't too bad, however I made a few mistakes which you should try to avoid:

  • Firstly the juicer - get a press!
  • Secondly I should have raised the pH of the apple juice.
  • And finally, impatience. I started to drink the cider around one month after I bottled it. I subsequently found out that this was way too early. The cider had not had time to undergo a malo-lactic fermentation, and together with the unadjusted original pH, it was one of the most acid things I have ever tasted. The few bottles which lasted several months (I misplaced them) were so much better it could have been a different cider.

Wassail!

Gillian Grafton

 

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