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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cider Making the next stage

On the 22nd December the pressed Tropical Apple juice (must) was put into two demijohns and refrigerated to ferment at a low temperature. Neither demijohn was completely full to allow plenty of space for the fermentation in case there was any foaming. The juice in both batches was identical. The difference between the batches was the yeast and the temperature. TA1 had NWS Chardonnay yeast and TA2 had CRU56 yeast. TA1's refrigerating unit has a controller that keeps the temperature at exactly 15C. While TA2's controller allows the temperature to fluctuate between 14 C and 17 C.

That minor difference caused TA2 to stop bubbling today. The next stage in this process was to siphon (rack) the cider called TA2 from its primary fermentation demijohn which has a large airspace into a smaller vessel to eliminate as much surface area. This is done to minimise oxidation and prevent spoilage.

A guess was taken as to how much volume was there was. A visual check indicated more than 15 litres but less than 20 litres. Using simple siphoning tool the cider was gravity fed into a 15 litre container. When it was full the remaining juice filled a two litre demijohn and a 375ml bottle exactly (just luck). With most of the air eliminated airlocks were attached to all three containers. As the cider warms up to the ambient outside temperature these containers will most probably start fermenting again albeit very gently as any residual sugar is converted by the yeast to alcohol and CO2.
The smallest container has a slightly different colour as there are still some suspended solids. As it settles out it will be racked into a yet smaller vessel.
There was some sludge in the original container which is known as gross lees i.e. the expired yeast cells and any pulp which made it through the coarse filter during pressing. As the cider completely finishes its fermentation it will gradually clear as the remaining yeast and any other suspended material settles to the bottom.

Once this occurs the cider will be siphoned into 375 ml bottles with some sugar added and crown sealed. The added sugar will ferment and force CO2 into the liquid creating a sparkling cider. There will be a small amount of debris resulting from this second fermentation. It can be either drunk or as most people do carefully decant their cider into a glass leaving the sludge behind.

The cider will have a distinct apple nose as a result of the cool, slow fermentation. The purity of the original juice provides a distinct apple flavour. The acidity is such that it will have a crisp refreshing finish.
On the baby front the Ferds received this Christmas present and are starting to show interest. One of the five has a voice change and makes a distinct quack. Ahh children growing up.

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