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Author Replies
SteveG
11/23/12 08:25 AM  
Any cider makers?
I'm a bit out of touch with the community now-a-days, most of my extreme zymurgy is now cider-related. Anyone else dabble?
dsanborn
11/23/12 01:15 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Hi Steve - it was a rough apple crop in the midwest this year, so I stuck to my routine from last year. Buy raw cider from a reputable orchard and ferment that.

Got 10 gallons this year - 3 gal each with different yeasts and 1 gal with another.

I bottled (still) the one gallon fermented with Lalvin RC212 (pinot noir) yeast. Cleaner, but with a bit bigger mouthfeel than I'd expected.

My plan is to taste the other three and do some blending of them. And I hope to ramp up to much larger volumes next year.

I've designed a press and will be building that along with a crusher - all I'll need is a good supply of cider apples.

How was the apple crop in the NE this year?

scamborn

SteveG
11/23/12 02:13 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
We got slammed as well, a warmer than usual spring then a uber late frost. The place I get most of my apples from came 1 degree from loosing it all but was OK. Another great orchard more north lost 80% of their crop.

I did some pressing but mostly bought cider this time, I took a day to drive to the many places in PA that make cider to pick my favs, also found an exceptional place in MA.

This year I'm doing 2 batches, one is a not cut corners ice cider. I had great luck with one last year (my 4th attempt) and learned even more about it this year at CiderDays in upstate MA. I am also fermenting 3 gallons of "Fire and Ice", an ice cider in spirit but the gravity is increased by heat reduction instead of freeze-thawing. Puts a lot of caramel and brown sugar in the flavor. I actually won a blue ribbon at CiderDays with last years batch.

My 3 gallon carboy of ice cider took 13 gallons to make! The cider ice was slowly reduced into a couple quarts of thick, rich apple syrup that I used in the fire and ice.

I love natural fermentation, but for a must that takes a month to make I need a surer bet, so I go with D47.

levifunk
11/26/12 09:54 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
This is my first year doing ciders. A family friend has an apple orchard and he and I are doing a couple pilot barrels. The two barrels are used wine barrels. In one, we left the cider to ferment naturally with the yeast in the juice and in the barrel. In the other barrel we pitched a wild farmhouse culture.

We are also doing a small batch experimenting with keeving.

SteveG
11/26/12 11:05 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Barrels? Sounds big, how large are your pilot batches? Wish I had a family friend with an orchard!!!
Dsanborn
11/26/12 03:42 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Definitely keep us posted on the keeving! Sounds a bit more adventurous than I would try, but maybe someday....

Hey Steve - have you found any problems with clarity in you 'Fire and Ice'??? and how hot is the heat reduction??

I've got to make it out for the cider days after hearing your reports. of course that would involve planning ahead.

cheers, scamborn

SteveG
11/26/12 06:33 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
None, it looks like a deep Octoberfest. At that size though a cider will only hold onto a little bit of bubble. It's reduced at lowest heat after applying pectic enzymes. The syrup as well, the entire reduction happens at the lowest heat I can throw at it. Takes a bit of time, but its well worth it.
levifunk
11/27/12 10:39 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
yep, barrels. Its kind of fun having 60 gallon pilot batches. The wild farmhouse barrel is doing very well.
SteveG
11/27/12 11:10 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
A usage of the term "pilot" I was previously unaware of! So what would be the size of your full production run?
levifunk
11/28/12 10:50 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
He is looking at doing 50 wine barrels next year. He has the ability to do MUCH more. Still very early on, so not sure what it will all look like.

If the keeving experiment works, it would be very interesting to see that done on a commercial scale.

SteveG
11/28/12 12:47 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Ah - commercial - that explains it! As long as you have access to so much juice have you ever considered playing with ice cider?
SteveG
11/28/12 01:03 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Hey levifunk, I'd never heard of keeving, just did some research. Fascinating! I've dug up a lot of the science behind it, not much on the more ideal varieties for the process though. Do you know anything about ideal apple varieties?
levifunk
11/28/12 02:37 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
From what I can tell, it use to be varieties with a higher ph as the low ph would would hurt the pectin. Now, you can add PME that activate at lower ph levels and so its actually better to have low ph apples to control some of the wild microbes.

This has been the best source of information:

http://www.cider.org.uk/keeving.html

SteveG
11/28/12 03:22 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
That's actually the first page I found. This is a great one too:

http://cidersupply.com/

There are a bunch of links off to the left, one of them points to the coder.org page. There are other good links too though. It also described the additives you can us to adjust less that ideal ciders. Although it does say that keeving may still not happen. They just increase your odds of success using more typical cider. As in success is not longer 0% probable!

levifunk
11/28/12 03:35 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
yea, that cidersupply site is where I ordered the keeving kit. Its still not 100%, but it moves the process more towards a science than an art.

There was a bit of a mix-up in the shipping, but the ingredients should be here this week. As soon as I get it, I'll start the process and document it on funkfactorybrewing.blogspot.com

I've got plenty of apples and a 12 gallon carboy to use as my keeving tank. I think I'm going to clear out the refrigerator and set it to as close to 40 as possible for the keeve.

SteveG
11/28/12 03:52 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Northern Brewer sells a thermostatic override, its not that expensive. It would take the guess work out of setting your fridge:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/johnson-refrigerator-thermostat.html

levifunk
11/28/12 04:01 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
yea, I don't think that is necessary. I'll just set the dial to the higher end and it should be about right. Put in a thermometer and adjust as necessary.

http://www.welshcider.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=81

Just read this, and glad I did.

"Add the pectin esterase enzyme as soon as possible after pressing, at the rate of 100ml of enzyme to 1000 litres of juice, stir well. Leave for 24 hours.

Before adding the Calcium Chloride, you must test to see if the enzyme has worked. Add 1ml of Calcium Chloride to 1 litre of juice, stir. Within two minutes, you should see particles floculating. If so, add the CaCl2. If not, try again in 6 to 12 hours. The colder it is, the longer it takes."

I would have just dumped them in at the same time. whew.

Nick P.
11/28/12 05:28 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
I have 10 gallons that I didn't pitch anything into at all. Unpastuerized Cider straight from the orchard is the way to go! 100% natural fermentation has been going great for all 10 gallons so far! Should finish around 1.004 according to my buddy that did it last year from the same orchard. I haven't checked gravity in a couple weeks though.

I'll be pitching some Brett into one 5 gallon batch to create more of a Basque style cider as well! I'm also going to add in some brown sugar and a half pound of maltodextrin for the brett to eat on! Can't wait!

Nick P.
12/17/12 11:09 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Native Fermentation of my cider took the gravity down to 1.000! What are the chances this local yeast will be able to ferment the more complex sugars in wort? I guess there's only one way to find out!
SteveG
12/17/12 12:15 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Yeah, ambient yeasts tend to do that - but unlike purchased yeasts I've dealt with they usually leave apple taste despite the thorough fermentation.
levifunk
12/18/12 10:25 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Just finished the keeve, now on to fermentation.

http://funkfactorybrewing.blogspot.com/2012/12/cider-keeve.html

SteveG
12/18/12 10:31 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Those pics are from your experiment?
levifunk
12/18/12 03:20 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
yes
SteveG
12/18/12 04:16 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Nice job then! It's not exactly like the clumpy example pics I've seen, but it's certainly clear you succeeded. From reading up on the practice, that's a nice hurtle. And this was done via the enzyme approach, not the specific apple blend approach, right? Pretty cool.

So from your experience would you think that its something you could generally do and pull off consistently, or after one go is that not a fair question? It's making me think about giving it a try. I suppose it might be late in the season though.

levifunk
12/18/12 04:36 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Yea, we did a blend of apples, but I left that to the orchard guy and it was for the purpose of creating a good flavor, not to achieve a keeve. I let the pulp sit out 24 hours and used the enzyme additives.

Its clear it worked, but I have no real way of saying how well it worked. The only thing I have to go off of is that I had 6 gallons of juice and post-keeve I have 5 gallons. Is a ~17% loss in volume on target? I read somewhere the keeving process can result in a 30% loss in volume, but that was presented like a safe number to help estimate how much juice you need. I don't know what the magic number is.

I've only done it this once, but it didn't seem like it was all that risky. Everything happened relatively as it was suppose to. I wouldn't be too afraid of giving it a go. I'd say its like 90% chance it works with that keeve kit.

Its a lot of work though.

SteveG
12/19/12 10:08 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
So my take on this approach is that historically it depends on depriving yeast of the nutrients and conditions to get up a full head of steam so it dies out before all the sweetness is gone. There was a guy at CiderDays describing an approach to Ice Cider that employs the same concept - as opposed to sulfiting when the desired gravity is reached. Seems less percise, but it does the job. The last step in the keeving experiment then would be to track the progress of the slower fermentation, is that right?
levifunk
12/19/12 10:54 AM  
Re: Any cider makers?
My plan is to check gravity at 2 weeks, month, 2 month... I'd like to see that it doesn't run dry right away. It would be nice to be around 1.010 at the 2 month mark.

That would be a good sign that the saccharo hasn't been able to take over the fermentation and that the Brett/Pedio/Lacto have had room to play.

I also wonder if that would mean that the remaining nutrients have all been consumed, and the saccharo has died out. If so, will the Brett survive a nutrient poor environment? Does it pull nutrients from the dead Saccharo? And if its alive and well, what happens to the cider over the next year?

levifunk
01/09/13 01:57 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
SteveG might be the only one interested in this, but here is a follow up:

http://funkfactorybrewing.blogspot.com/2013/01/cider-keeve-day-23.html

Keeve was successful :)

SteveG
01/10/13 12:07 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Yeah, maybe is just me. Mores the pity, this really is an ambitious project.

The only things I'd throw in there is that since this is a first, fact-finding attempt at this complex process, would not pulling off a little before the dregs go in be a good plan? Usually step #1 is to run a fairly pure experiment, then once your baseline is established run variations in follow up attempts.

levifunk
01/10/13 11:45 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
Ha! me and you buddy :)

I think the results of keeved cider are fairly known. The purpose of this is to find out what happens when lambic blend of yeast/bacteria (namely the brett) is pitched. The point of pitching the 3F dregs was because I've heard reports that the brett in Wyeast's lambic blend is far inferior to that found in actual lambic. So, pitching that 3F yeast is more of an act to ensure the experiment will be done properly. Had I more forethought, I would have used ECY 20! :)

But yes, to your sentiment, I do feel as though I'm running before I learned to walk. Having little experience with cider, and no experience with keeving, it is quite ambitious to complicate keeving. I guess that is why I am so excited to see that my fermentation track is on track with other keeves. Achieving a successful keeve is obviously required if I want to do a modification of keeving :)

SteveG
01/11/13 12:54 PM  
Re: Any cider makers?
I think you earned the excitement, my understanding is that no attempt at keeving is an in the bank success. I guess the same is true of any brewing venture as well, but it sounded like keeving is a far riskier than average crap shoot.

I wasn't thinking so much holding a little back to record data on keeving - which as you say is well established - but it would be interesting to know what a finished cider tastes like using that method. You're not curious what it would be like in its natural state, without the extra pitching?

So as I recall you used a kit for this? I think I need to try this myself next year. There is a weekend cider event I attend every year, I'd love to be able to bring a keeved cider! Though I guess that would be for the 2014 event. I think CiderDays is coming up on its 20th year as an event...

I'm really happy you made me aware of this whole keeving thing, thanks! Steve

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