Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption

       Downsizer Forum Index -> Recipes, Preserving, Homebrewing

Clarification on when to use campden tablets in cider making

We're going to have a go at making cider this year. Just a gallon to see how things go. However, we're a bit unclear as to when we should be using campden tablets to kill off the wild yeast in the apples. The man in the brew shop said to chop up the apples and then soak them in water/campden tablets solution for 48hrs, then press the apples, then add cider yeast to juice in demi john and ferment. This kind of made sense when he said it. However, we have now read that we should press the apples, then add a campden tablet to the juice, leave for 48hrs, then add cider yeast and start the fermentation. Which is correct (if any)?

I'm inclined to go down the latter route, as we're not going to have a spotless apple press, and will probably be doing the pressing outside, so may end up re-infecting the apples anyway.

We would prefer to kill of the natural yeast and use a proper cider yeast for our first time to try and get a good brew.

I've only ever seen it advised to add the tablet(s) after pressing, and then to pitch your yeast (or yeast starter if you're smart about it, which I often am not) the next day.

i tend to use either just the naturals or if any of the apples seem a bit mouldy (discard them but the others will have spores)the naturals and a fast bubbling starter made with a multi purpose wine yeast(or a tablespoon of sugar in half a pint of a previous ongoing batch) which overwhelms them .

never had a bad batch in decades and unless i wish to stop a wine or cider to keep some sweetness dont use sulphites unless i forgon to wash a vessel and it has gone mouldy between batches.

ps ongoing cider makes a good starter for sourdough culture,(olaf is ace)

pps try the juice ,if it seems very acidic addind half a pot of strong tea per gallon gives enough tannins to precipitate much of the malic acid.

imho a lot of the recipes etc are far too much faff ,chuck it in a pot ,let it bubble,let it settle and either drink it rough or bottle it for a while seems to work quite well.

i recon the important thing is to keep the brew at a stable temp, preferably 18/20 c for most naturals but cooler is ok although slower.


imho a lot of the recipes etc are far too much faff ,chuck it in a pot ,let it bubble,let it settle and either drink it rough or bottle it for a while seems to work quite well.................

I have some empathy with that sentiment.

I've never bought a campden tablet in my life and although I have the "metabisulphite" around the place (exactly the same but cheaper) I don't think I've ever used it !

BUT I NEVER rely on "natural" yeast - I always use the strongest most aggressive yeast I cann lay my hands on (except I DON'T use "turbo") - simply TOO strong !

However this does not answer your question - Get your juice - then sterilise it ( that's what meta wossit does) - then stick in a "Cold" yeast and taste regularly ! Wink

I sterilise all utensils but don't add chemicals to anything. I just use a starter which may work with or overwhelm the natural yeasts. It's always drinkable 🍺

On a rather larger scale I know, but you wont go wrong if you do this:
collect apples, wash, pulp, extract juice into clean airtight container. Add campden tabs as per dose (Andrew Lea's cider pages on the net are invaluable), leave overnight, next day add yeast (I use 35g per 100L) leave overnight, add nutrient, then leave top loosely on whilst first fermentation begins. After about a week either tighten cap a bit or add airlock. Watch the bubbling.
When you think its stopped (pretty certain), then rack off the lees into a CLEAN airtight container. Fill to brim (even if it means topping up with tap water) and store for 23 months before drinking.
The minute air gets to it, you have literally a couple of days and it might turn so bottling/bagging is your option if you have a lot.

about 2 weeks ago i started a one litre experimental batch of mixed windfalls from the orchard

wash apples
juice apples
put in plastic bottle
add a bit of an ongoing batch

2 weeks later
most bubbling ceased
pour off lees through fine sieve

tis very much at the scrumpy end of the cider range but it is quite drinkable as a medium dry rough cider.
if fermented out completely and bottled it would mature to a fine mid colored ,clear ,cider but as it is it is pretty ok.

i suspect much of the cider that was part of the wages package for itinerant farm workers was quite similar as drink it young is almost a necessity if there is a lack of airtight storage,even wooden barrels are not ideal for long maturation times unless one is making whisky or calvados which requires some oxidation/combination chemistry.

Thanks for all your info.
Andrew Lea's cider pages on the net are invaluable

Have just had a look at this info, and has given us some extra info to work with.

I think we will use the campden tablets after pressing, as seems the logical thing to do, especially for our first go. We're going to be using Yarlington Mill apples, which we have grown especially for doing some cider making. This is our first harvest from the tree, so only enough for a small batch. Once we're happy with the process (and outcome), we will try making some blends and experimenting with natural/yeasts next year.

and store for 23 months before drinking

23 months...I was reckoning on a couple of months! Smile

Or you do things the old fashioned way and let the wild yeast on the apples do the job.

and store for 23 months before drinking

23 months...I was reckoning on a couple of months! Smile

To each their own, but I've only ever been happy with cider after it's aged for a year at the very least. It really does get better and better

Good cider will improve with keeping but poor cider wont.

Unlike good wine, that will continue to improve with age, cider will reach a point where it starts to taste off. The longest that I've kept cider is two years and I wouldn't want to keep it much longer than that.
When you see cider advertised as being 'vintage' then it must be a minimum of twelve months old to qualify for the title.

The cider that I'm making now will go on sale to the public next summer. It will be perfectly drinkable before then, its just a matter of taste it and see. I'll be selling mine next summer to coincide with the abundance of holiday makers.

My cider is matured in oak barrels. Some cider connoisseurs reckon they can detect an undesirable taste in cider that has been stored in plastic. My cider is fermented in the 220 litre blue plastic barrels but as soon as fermentation is over, its pumped directly into oak.

WhoopS It was 2-3 months! Forgot to sepll check for the dash! Smile Lorrainelovesplants

Ive just done 2 1000L IBC's - its a big risk, but Im running out of room for small barrels and the pub want their cider to be consistent, so giving it a go. Cant be that different - the process is the same...
Doing small bespoke batches for special occassions - champagne cider for weddings, a batch for the rugby colts etc.

The risks with an IBC is just the same as in smaller barrels but a heck of a lot more to pour down the grid if things go square shaped . Its a big loss for the small producer if it does. Fingers crossed. dpack

WhoopS It was 2-3 months! Forgot to sepll check for the dash! Smile

that is closer to my time scale Laughing

WhoopS It was 2-3 months!

Thought it might of been a typo, given the very precise number of months, and from what I've read (here and elsewhere) cider making is far from precise Wink

2 1000L IBC's

Blimey that's a lot. How many tonnes of apples does that take to make?

A ton of apples will make round about 750 litres of juice. perlogalism

I had a go at my first lot last year and did use SO2 along with pectolase and yeast nutrient. There's a lot of overly scientific (IMHO) stuff out there - I just went with what felt right.

The only thing I did which is different to what's been suggested is that once I'd siphoned the brew off the lees after the initial fermentation, I left it for ~ 4 more months before bottling it. There was something about a late malo-lactic fermentation (??) that I read.... Anyway, it turned out far better than I ever imagined: smooth as silk, goes down like milk but a pint of it and I'm slurring my words!

Currently have 10 gallons bubbling but there's plenty more apples on the trees and not much else on this week-end..... Razz

Yup! Its called racking off, its something we always do at least once. dpack

the first rack avoids the cellulose in the pulp being fermented as the soluble sugars are finished off as well as the taint taste from dead yeasts etc

imho a good apple mix is drinkable at that stage but a further time and a second drop of the solids until the cider is clear is rather nice

re the oak barrel maturing which is ok if you have the volume,space and barrels on a small scale one can add a bit of strong tea to the juice to provide tannins which chelate some of the malic acid .

i have been playing with tea in fruit wines recently and it is rather effective .

ps re pectinase ,nowt wrong with cloudy Wink but many folk think cloudy is wrong

Westons do OK with their Cloudy Rosy but they changed the recipe about five or six years ago and now its far too sweet for my taste. Its like drinking thin syrup. Crying or Very sad perlogalism

I agree, there's nothing wrong with cloudy but all other things being equal, I prefer a clearer drink. Each to their own eh Wink Lorrainelovesplants

Thats the joy of it - I think - we all like something different.
Even in my house - I like med dry still, Kie likes med dry sparkling and John likes anything, but a bit sweeter.
The thing I like is that every barrel will come out slightly different - either because of the mix of apples or just because some apples are sweeter than others.
For example I have a batch that is predominantly bittersweets (Dabinett & Ashton bittersweets) - so will be nicely tanninned , another has a lot of soft tannins with Sweet Alford, but spicy, nutty notes with russets, and yet another has the aromatic Queenie alongside some Cornish cider apples - fruity but complex (a bit like wine).
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Recipes, Preserving, Homebrewing
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home