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Day 29 Sample 12 oz Fawlty, Cider Batch #2 Test Green Bottle Rack Cider Batch #4

8:00 pm     Took a 12 oz bottle of Fawlty Brown Ale to a party where an experienced home brewer was attending. Sampled the bottle and it was a little under-carbonated, but a few more days in the bottle will help that. My sampler said that for a first try, it was good. He thought the aroma addition of hops could be bumped up a little and more time in the bottle would definitely improve the carbonation and flavor. Good info and reinforced that I’m on the right path!

Needed to rack cider batch #4 before Thanksgiving trip. I transferred from PFB’s #1 and #2  to a bottling bucket.

Transferred from PFB's and blended into Bottling Bucket.

Transferred from PFB’s and blended into Bottling Bucket.

The SG on bucket #2 was 1.014 and bucket #1 was 1.016 @ 72F. There was a little more particulate in suspension in bucket #1. When the two buckets were blended into the bottling bucket, the SG was 1.010…I guess the two SG readings don’t average when combined? Anyway, the SG, after combining and adjusting for hydrometer calibration @60F. is 1.011. Racked into two 1 gallon carboys and two 22 oz bottles.

Good color. Ready to hold until after Thanksgiving.

Good color. Ready to hold until after Thanksgiving.

The color looks good. Bubbling started back up in the airlocks. I’ll let these go until the Monday after Thanksgiving (or Sunday, if I have the energy. I’ll check the SG again and decide if I’ll go ahead and bottle and whether or not I need to backsweeten. This is the only project that I haven’t bottled yet and it should be okay for a week. Fawlty Brown Ale goes to the beach and will hopefully benefit from 5 more days in the bottle. Batches #1-3 are all bottle conditioning…basically indefinitely.

I did open the sample green test bottle of cider batch #2 that I bottled on 11/8/13…on 11/13/13, I opened and strained this bottle, added another Munton’s CarTab and re-capped. While I have decided against the carbonation tablets in the future, this bottle did finally lose the floaters and settle.IMAG1873

Test bottle from cider batch #2

Test bottle from cider batch #2

The result was fairly dry, but not as dry as I thought it might get. The bubbles were fine and streaming like champagne. Very nice.

Used the flash to show the bubbles better... actual color is more pale.

Used the flash to show the bubbles better… actual color is more pale.

The rest of batch #2 is primed with priming sugar, but was allowed to ferment out and spent quite some time in the carboys and was bottled as TARDIS Cider…bigger on the inside. Recent check of the screw-top soda bottle tester  didn’t really show any carbonation. I’m just going to let it go and sample it after a couple months to see if carbing kicks in. I’ll make the next decision then.

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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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