Message from Why Tea in MacGuyver - Skills & Academics #cooking
Mix it all together and top it off.
Your concoction sitting out in the winter air should hopefully be cooled down enough after an hour or so. Take that pot and dump it into your fermenter on top of the 4 gallons of juice that you just put in there. The mixture of the regular juice and the semi-hot concoction should bring all 5 gallons to a liveable temperature for your yeast.
Take your last gallon of juice and top off your fermenter with it. Leave it about an inch from the top so it has some room to fizz without making a mess.
Pitch your yeast.
Your yeast should be awake and ready to start their day at this point. Ideally they are bubbling along in their container, tasting the brown sugar you gave them, and looking for more of it. They're ready to go.
If you have a thermometer somewhere, do a quick check on the temperature of your juice in the fermenter. Optimal temperatures are between 70 to 85 degrees (Fahrenheit!), a little bit up or down from that isn't too big of a deal. But again, put yourself in the yeast's shoes. Imagine washing ashore on a tropical island full of blonde-haired blue-eyed Caucasian women who are wearing only leaves to cover their bits, you'd be ready to get to work right away! Amirite?! Now imagine that same scenario, only instead of the Bahamas you wash up in Antarctica, or the Sahara desert. It becomes a bit of a different scenario. Not an impossible one, but less than ideal for sure.
If your temperature looks good, then you're all set. Dump that container full of yeast right in!
Lock it up.
A lot of people like to leave the airlock off for a day so the yeast get a steady supply of fresh air while they're multiplying and reinforcing their ethnostate. The claim is that it makes the process faster, but I personally haven't really noticed much of a difference. My general approach with brewing and fermenting is to fix-bayonets and yolo, so I just strap on the airlock and leave it alone for a couple days.
Usually within 24-48hrs you should be seeing quite a bit of activity. Your fermenter should be cloudy, your airlock should be bubbling away and your yeast should be happily eating their way through the sugar utopia you placed them in. Check on it every couple of days, but mostly just leave it alone to do it's thing.
Rack it, bottle it, or neither.
Around the 10-15 day mark, you should be seeing significantly less activity. There's less (if any) bubbling in the airlock, there's a weird sediment at the bottom of the fermenter, This is something of a crossroads for you, think of it like one of those 'Choose your own Adventure' kinda books.
We can: A.) Bottle the semi-cloudy cider up and be done with it. or B.) Leave it be for a bit longer so it can clear up some more.
I typically choose option B, but with some conditions. I'll give it another few days, but I also close the vents in my basement so it cools down into the low 60's. The cool temperatures speed up the clearing phase. The yeast will drop to the bottom (that's what that weird tan sediment is) and the cider starts to look more and more like something you'd like to drink. But also keep in mind that the cider will just as easily clear up in the bottle, so it's really up to you. Feel free to pour yourself a glass and check it out. It isn't quite what the final product will taste like, but it'll give you an idea.
If you intend to leave it alone long enough to clear out completely, then I would suggest siphoning your cider into another vessel, cleaning out the main fermenter, and then siphoning your cider back in to the fermenter. This is called "racking".
Leaving your cider on that tan yeast sludge for extended periods of time can give it some off flavors, and nobody wants that.
Bottle it up.
For the roughly 6 gallons of cider we made here, you're going to need roughly 3 cases of 12oz bottles (72 bottles) or roughly 2 cases of 16oz bottles. I keep a few growlers around in case I run out of bottles.
***DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT USE WINE BOTTLES! This stuff is going to be under pressure and wine bottles are not made for that kind of pressure. Champagne bottles are fine, but wine bottles are NOT.***
WASH YOUR BOTTLES.
The easiest way is to toss them all into the dishwasher. If you have some bottles that have some stubborn debris in them, add a tablespoon or two of bleach, top them off with warm water, and let them sit for an hour or two. Bleach will take off the most stubborn grime 99% of the time.
Take your last can of frozen concentrate and heat it up in a saucepan with a couple cups of water. The added water will make it less syrupy and easier to mix in with your cider. Once it's cooled down, dump it in your cider and give it a few stirs with a large ladle or spoon.
Pour or siphon your cider into your bottles and cap them off.
Let it age.
Sit them on a shelf and leave them alone for at least 7 days.
The longer you let it age, the better it will get, most traditional ciders won't get touched for a minimum of 3-6 months. But let's be real, traditional ciders don't use Kroger apple juice either, so we're going to make our own damn rules here.
Give one a try after a week, if it tastes a little flat or a little too sugary, then give it another week.
Keep that tan sludge! Those are your yeasts! They're tired and a bit drunk, but they are very much still alive. Once you've bottled up your cider, add a little bit of water to whatever cider is still left at the bottom of your fermenter. Swish it around until you've dislodged most of that sludge, dump it into some jars, put a lid on them and toss them in the fridge. Next time you make a batch of cider, don't bother with using a fresh packet of yeast. Instead just let that jar warm up a bit, shake it around, add a pinch of sugar, and dump it into your new batch. Hey it's not alot, but $3 is $3 right?
Enjoy your booze.
Gonna try and pin this for selfish reasons
If anyone has any questions, always feel free to dm me
Nice! I'm definitely interested in trying that.
GREAT write up on the cider!
This looks yummy.
I should do the same the next time I make another batch of mead.
For you drinkers out there, I present “The Jackrabbit” (patent pending). In a 12-ounce glass, in the following order:
- 2 handfuls of ice
- 2 shots of Jack Daniels
- 1 dash of Vanilla Extract
- 1 dash of Lime Juice
- Fill to top with Barge’s Root Beer
- Optional: stab with a straw
OMG, I have to try that
Whoooo ~ Sounds great!
That sounds damn good sir
Straws r gay
Cornish Hens stuffed with green peppers, onions, celery and rosemary. Picture taken with a potato.
It came out good. Two was way too much meat for one person though.
I think I'm going to smoke my first brisket tomorrow. I love to BBQ and do a really good smoked pork spare ribs and butt, this gonna be interesting
Hey all! I.E. Lit channel is putting together a cookbook. If you want to submit a recipe, DM me.
Funny thing is, when I cook it's rarely the same every time. Every "recipe" I do, always includes a little (maybe more) beer in me while I do it, so I add stuff for flavor that always makes it a little different
@Phillip Wiglesworth - FL So make something up. You sound super creative! :)
ya I could give you my ribeye steak recipe (I kinda use the same marinade for any steak I do, too). Rarely change it, other than the brand of red wine I put in it. Always perfect.
Awesome! Thank you so much!
I do scratch biscuits (so easy to do, you'll never wanna buy them in the can again), tortillas, alfredo sauce, lasagna, lots of different things
Perfect! This'll be a fantastic addition!