This has been in the warm long enough to build up any carbonation there’s to be had, so let’s get it put into the cold. The plastic bottles have some good pressure too!
Later that same evening I pulled one bottle back from the garage because I plan to put away the other two buckets later this week, and wanted to be sure the quantity of priming sugar / sweetener is acceptable. Here’s the note I just added to the drinks log:
First dip into the Riot, and it seems very nice although it’s not been in the cold for a full day yet. The nose is a bit yeasty but carbonation is spot-on and there’s not enough sugar to drive away the taste of apples, but enough to prevent it being too tart. I’ll seriously think about doing the same to the next batch from this pressing, Oslo or Wellies.
This has been cold-crashing in the fermentation fridge for 11 days now and as I need it tomorrow for Mostly Maris I‘m going to have to turf it out, not that the Riot looks any clearer than it did when it went in.
After racking to a clean vessel I stirred in 550g of Xylitol / Erythritol and 150g of brewing sugar, all dissolved in about half a litre of boiling water, then racked to sanitised bottles using the cane in the normal manner. We have:
19 x 500 ml brown crown caps (silver)
6 x 1000 ml PET screw-tops
9 x 750 ml clear flip-tops
These were then moved to the server room for conditioning, where they‘re sitting at about 22 ℃.
Dissolved two crushed Campden tablets in hot water and added them to the FV, which was already prepped and in the chiller. Tomorrow I’ll switch it on down to 1℃ for a couple of days to clear, then we’re sweetening and bottling.
Of my three active ciders this one’s doing the best. I’m seeing the same 1.002 (1.003 / 15.5℃) that I had 2 weeks ago, clearly a case of the yeast starter having gotten to work straight away and now finished. The taste is the cleanest of the three as well, which makes me think this will be fine as a slightly sparkling brew or just flat, with perhaps only minimal sweetening. Will cold-crash in order to remove some of the haze, don’t think I’ll worry about Campden.
This is the best performing of the three, clocking in at 1.002 (1.003 @ 15.5℃) for 5.8% ABV and quite a sharp, dry taste. Whoops! Knew I should have stopped it a tad earlier. Gonna think about my next move.
Both these brews have been chugging along nicely, popping their airlocks every second or so for a couple of days now. Allotment Riot (below left) grew a nice foam hat about 25 hours after pitching the starter, which then covered the entire surface. It’s since thinned out a bit and started to recede as soon as I opened the bucket in order to take this picture.
There’s no sign of life from the starter that’s been spinning for a day or two on the stir plate at 21℃, so I’m going to throw it in and see what happens. The other bucket (with dry-pitched M02 around the same sort of time) has been bubbling away nicely, so I’m not sure what’s up with this starter. If nothing happens I’ll dry-pitch some more yeast on top, but let’s give it a couple of days.
I pinched about a litre of juice from one of the three buckets and threw in a packet of M02 and some dissolved yeast nutrient before placing it on the stir plate for 24 hours at 20℃, then leaving it to settle down and hopefully start fermenting. The idea is that the extra nutrients and increased temperature will cause this yeast to grow more rapidly than if I were to pitch it dry, so that when I do unleash it on whichever bucket I choose it’ll get to work with added vigour. Then again, I’ve lost the time it’s taken to make the starter, and the material used will be the same as that into which it’s pitched, so I’m not sure it’ll show much difference to dry-pitching, which is what I’m doing with Best Wellies. Essentially this is an experiment to see if it’s worth making a cider starter.
Since getting more serious with our ciders these past couple of years I’ve been thinking about ‘killing off’ the natural yeast (along with any nasties) and using an external beastie to do all the heavy lifting, but I’ve always shied away from adding sulphides at the start of a brew because I couldn’t get my head around how that might affect the subsequently added yeast.
Well, the clever chaps over at Vigo Presses reckon that it’s OK to add Sodium Metasulphite as long as you leave at least 24 hours before pitching your yeast, as that “allows time for the free sulphur dioxide to disappear before the yeast is added so as not to inhibit the yeast”.
Sounds like a plan to me. I’ve ordered a couple of packs of Mangrove Jacks M02 cider yeast which should be here in 2 days or so, and this morning I added 2 crushed Campden tablets to each 23 litre bucket, first dissolved in a little warm water. The change in colour was immediate and very apparent, generating a light coloured swirl in the dark apple juice. There shouldn’t be any fermentation now but I fitted airlocks just in case.
We put in a full day at the orchard today, and pressed three buckets worth of juice which will become cider, despite being mainly composed of eating apples. My intention is to split these three ways; one will be stopped early to make a naturally sweet low alcohol cider, one will be allowed to go on for longer and may be sweetened artificially at the end for a semi-dry finish, and one will get the Kveik treatment, just because I can.