Hello, new here, have questions

Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:46 pm

Greetings. Being retired, I have plenty of time on my hand, so I woke up from a nap the other day and decided I was going to be a brewer. Therefore, I have my first mead, Joe's, and first cider, a boring apple juice cider, both in 1 gallon carboys fermenting away. I am on the verge of jumping in with both feet and doing a 5 gallon version of Joe's, and another cider involving black currant juice. It is preservative-free, organic, and pure juice. Some say that black currant is a bit more acid than others, so using apple juice, is there a suggested amount of either to use? I have about a pound of pure, unprocessed Brazilian cane sugar that I was going to use, and the yeasts I have at my immediate disposal is regular bread yeast, 1118 and D47. And what are the general thoughts of adding about a pound of fresh blueberries to it?I do appreciate your comments, thank you.
Home Brewing Biography: Home brewing? I have extensive knowledge and experience in home brewing. Most every cup of coffee I have ever drank was brewed at home. In a percolator coffee pot. Have you seen one? Skype - JDWebb61 if you want to talk brewing!
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JDWebb
 
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Re: Hello, new here, have questions

Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:12 pm

First, Welcome-

Second- DO NOT use regular bread yeast. It will taste like shit.
You want a yeast strain that will produce good flavors, and bread yeast does not.

I would suggest you go to your Local HomeBrew Shop (LHBS) and talk with the guy there.
They are a wealth of information and can recommend things that they have in stock (we can recommend stuff but it may or may not be available for you to buy immediately).

I've brewed a couple ciders but I nearly only make beers. There are a lot of other guys on this site that make cider and wine all the time. I'll still give you my suggestions, but others may offer variants. That's cool. There are a million ways to make these things and it's always good to hear about the variations.

I'm not exactly sure what you are asking about as far as suggested amounts. Are you asking about ratios?
I'd take the juices and get a (small) glass. Try a few glasses using various ratios, like 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc (both ways). The mix that suits your tastebuds best as a juice drink is what you should go with for a first try.
You can then adjust up or down by back sweetening with either one or the other to compensate - if it tastes too appley post ferment, backsweeten with more currant juice. If the currants are too dominant, use apple juice.
Of course, take notes listing exactly what you did so you can further alter the recipe for subsequent batches, until you zero in on the perfect combo.

Blueberries are also great in a fermented beverage. In beers, we often go at the rate of about a lb per gallon (ie, 5 lbs in 5 gallons). Typically, we'd freeze the berries. This pops the membranes when they melt and makes the fruit softer and more permeable. I'd typically ferment my beer out then transfer it by siphon (called racking) into a second fermenter, onto the berries. The siphoning action will cause a swirling action in the 2nd vessel and that helps to mix things up (same as when mixing priming sugar before bottling). Doing a cider is only different in that you start with apple juice instead of grains. You won't have to stir it in, which means minimal chance of contamination.

There will be plenty of yeast in suspension for the cider to kick back off. They'll go nuts and you'll have another vigorous fermentation. Once all is done, proceed with packaging as you normall would.

Ask away if you have any questions whatsoever. We're here to help.
HTH-
-B'Dawg
BJCP GM2 Judge
"Lunch Meat. It's an acquired taste....." -- Mylo
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BDawg
 
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Re: Hello, new here, have questions

Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:58 pm

BDawg, thank you, I like the idea of adding the blueberries in a secondary, and I never thought about freezing them, In fact, I'm going to go in the kitchen right now, and wash them off and bag them up for the freezer. And I'll try the ratios of currant to apple juice tonight also. Good idea. My reason for brewing ciders and mead is, there are literally hundreds of craft beers at the liquor outlets I frequent (BevMo and Total Wine) near me. I am very particular when it comes to my beer, and have taken a liking to Tap Room #21's stuff as well as 805 out here on the West coast. Suffice to say, I can get all the craft beer I want, but no mead, and rarely any cider.
Thanks for the ideas.
Home Brewing Biography: Home brewing? I have extensive knowledge and experience in home brewing. Most every cup of coffee I have ever drank was brewed at home. In a percolator coffee pot. Have you seen one? Skype - JDWebb61 if you want to talk brewing!
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JDWebb
 
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Re: Hello, new here, have questions

Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:03 pm

So...the black currant...yeah, it didn't go well last night. I had a sip of it raw, then another at 2:1 apple juice, then at 1:1 apple juice, then at 1:3 apple juice, the last one I had was Jack Daniels and apple juice, and that was a WHOLE lot better. The black currant is back in the fridge until I come up with something that will actually taste good, because black currant juice? It's nasty. Just plain nasty.
Home Brewing Biography: Home brewing? I have extensive knowledge and experience in home brewing. Most every cup of coffee I have ever drank was brewed at home. In a percolator coffee pot. Have you seen one? Skype - JDWebb61 if you want to talk brewing!
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JDWebb
 
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:14 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Re: Hello, new here, have questions

Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:03 pm

If it doesn't taste good in the glass, it won't taste good after fermentation.
That said, you may want to go with a ratio on the order of cups per gallon. It may be way too intense at higher ratios, but you need to play with it to figure that out.
-B'Dawg
BJCP GM2 Judge
"Lunch Meat. It's an acquired taste....." -- Mylo
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BDawg
 
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Re: Hello, new here, have questions

Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:22 pm

At this point BDawg, I'm not sure its good for anything other than tie-dying some t-shirts.
Have you ever done, or know anyone who has done any blending with ciders? I really enjoy Jack Daniels Winter Cider, a bit too light on the whiskey side for me, but I'm thinking of something along the lines of blending one of my ciders with Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon. It has a sweetness to it I think would go well with a cider. Non-carbonated of course.
Home Brewing Biography: Home brewing? I have extensive knowledge and experience in home brewing. Most every cup of coffee I have ever drank was brewed at home. In a percolator coffee pot. Have you seen one? Skype - JDWebb61 if you want to talk brewing!
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JDWebb
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:14 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

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