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Day 27 Bottling Cider Batch #2

Bottled cider batch #2 this morning. Henceforth to be known as “TARDIS Cider (Bigger on the Inside)” Designed the label last night and will be printing and applying later today. I’m hoping there’s a little live yeast in there to eat the primer and give this batch some carbonation. The clarity is very good and the color is a light, golden.

Carboy of Cider Batch #2, ready to siphon for bottling.

Carboy of Cider Batch #2, ready to siphon for bottling.

There was no sediment in the growler and very little in the carboy.

Very little sediment.

Very little sediment.

In what I sampled, I wasn’t really getting the alcohol. The FG is 0.0995 @ 70F, adjusted to 0.0996 for hydrometer calibration at 60F. The OG was 1.045, so there must be alcohol, right? The calculator says it should be 6.43% ABV. We’ll see. I got 14 twelve ounce bottles and a not full soda screw cap bottle for checking if any carbonation builds.

Yield from Cider Batch #2

Yield from Cider Batch #2

Frankly, I fear this batch will not have much flavor, not much alcohol and not much carbonation. I hope some time proves me wrong…if only I had a TARDIS, so that I could use it to pop ahead a few weeks to sample this batch! Notes on Cider Batch #4 : I see the airlocks are bubbling! Bucket #1 is going at about 14 seconds and bucket #2 is going about every 10 seconds.

5 pm   I looked at the frozen concentrate apple juice at the store and what they had said it could be from China or Argentina. Really?! I went to the juice aisle and bought a 64 oz bottle of Murray’s Apple Cider ( Bonus! It comes in a free, clear glass growler!).

Murray's Apple Cider from Roanoke, Virginia. Free growler!

Murray’s Apple Cider from Roanoke, Virginia. Free growler!

The cider is filtered and pasteurized and comes from “tree ripened, whole apples” in Virginia. No preservatives and no sugar added. Boom!

Murray's has been around a long time...good stuff.

Murray’s has been around a long time…good stuff.

So, I carefully opened the PFB’s and added 2 cups of juice to each and resealed them. Airlock bubbles started back up with no trouble. The only issue will be figuring out the exact alcohol content, since I did not check the SG after adding the apple cider. I’ll just go with the original and just know that it is a little higher ABV % than I calculate. I’m sure someone could figure it out. The commercial cider’s SG is 1.046 @ 70F  = 1.047  adjusted/actual. I added 2 cups to my 1-1/2 gallons of cider  in each bucket whose actual SG was 1.053 in bucket #1 and 1.049 in bucket #2. If specific gravities are able to be averaged, then the new SG for bucket #1 would be 1.0523  and bucket #2 SG would be 1.0487. Thanks to my Chemical Engineer spouse for showing me how to do that!

7:15 pm   The airlocks have just about evened out at 8 to 9 second intervals.

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Day 25 Pasteurizing Batch #3, Starting #4

Well, all the stuff I read said to let the cider go from 3 to 10 days after priming, checking carbonation until it’s “right”,  then pasteurize. It’s only been 2 days, and my test bottles gushed a bit when I opened them. May be a bit over-carbonated already. The taste is a little sharp. Hopefully, some time in the bottles will mellow them some. So, I’m into the pasteurizing process…going to 190 degrees, then removing from heat, cover and sit 10 minutes.

Using the pressure canner to pasteurize.

Using the pressure canner to pasteurize.

Right as I was reaching 190 degrees…BOOM! One of the bottles busted. I thought that gradually bringing the bottles up in temperature would be better for the glass, but maybe that builds too much pressure. Maybe I should have added the bottles when 190F was attained and pulled off the heat. It might have blown anyway. Could have been a defect in the glass, I don’t know. Anyway, ten minutes is up…have to go remove the bottles…CAREFULLY!!!

Bottle go BOOM!!! Cap stayed on, though.

Bottle go BOOM!!! Cap stayed on, though.

So far, so good. The bottles are on a kitchen towel, on the counter. Only that one bottle blew. Luckily, I was using my pressure canner that has a raised false bottom disk and I had the lid partially covering the pot. The bottle busted, but the cap stayed on! I ran my test 12 oz bottle through pasteurizing process and I put the soda bottle with the screw cap in the refrigerator. I think I’ll let these bottle condition for quite awhile…maybe until my birthday, March first. I’ll try the test bottle before then…maybe New Year’s Eve!

After they cooled to almost room temperature, I put the labels on the bottles. They look good, I think!

Watson's label.

Watson’s label.

Watson's Cyser. I know, no honey probably just makes it a sparkling cider. I'll fix the terminology before next labels are printed.

Watson’s Cyser. I know, no honey probably just makes it a sparkling cider. I’ll fix the terminology before next labels are printed.

Just have to remember to open them over a sink, in case they gush. (In the future, I’ll have to remember to go by taste and not by what is expected. The temperature has fluctuated in the house quite a bit over the last couple of days and at one point it got up to 75F…probably sped up the process. Had some of the test screw-cap soda bottle Watson’s this evening. Since it has been opened and had a slow gush, the carbonation level is way down. It isn’t entirely flat, though and I like the flavor and sweetness level.

10:30 pm     I picked some crabapples this afternoon…pretty sure this is the end of the crop. Have to pick through them carefully…some are rotting on the tree. Anyway, I picked about 5-1/2 lbs. Tonight, I cut off the stems and blossom ends and juiced them. I had 4 large Fuji apples on hand, so I juiced them as well. They probably weighed over 3 lbs. I thought I only had three and I had weighed them at over 2 lbs, before I spotted the fourth one. So, I got over 5 cups of juice (I usually have 4 cups.) I went ahead and put it all in primary with 6 quarts water, pectin enzyme, yeast nutrient, a capmden tablet (crushed), the apple pommace in a cheesecloth bag and   1 lb 9 oz  of white sugar. I would have done 1 lb 12 oz, but that’s all I had. I thought about adding some honey or brown sugar, but the OG is 1.050 @ 70F, so I think I’m ok. I can double check it tomorrow night and add some more sugar if I want to at that point.

Now, because I have a little over 2 gallons in one PFB, there is no way this isn’t going to foul the airlock. unless I divide it into 2 PFB’s before (or immediately after) I pitch the yeast. I’m afraid, by the way, that I may not have quite enough yeast. I only have about 2 grams of Safale s-04 yeast left. I think I’m going to run to the brew store tomorrow to get some supplies. In addition to yeast, I could use a no-rinse sanitizer to use in the bottle rack bottle sanitizer, maybe more beer brite, pectin enzyme and yeast nutrient. Maybe I’ll put together a kit for another batch of beer to save a trip after Thanksgiving. I know I won’t have time to brew it until then. ***YAAAAAAWN*** It’s getting late. I think I’ll go lie down and peruse some recipes. I was looking at stout recipes recently…hmmm. But my first taste of Guinness Stout from a bottle, many years ago, sucked. I like it draft, but not bottled. Maybe I’ll go another route. Who knows? Tomorrow is another day!

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