The kitchen sink is where a lot of the homebrew magic happens including cleaning, sanitizing, and rinsing. For this cider we pulled all the stops, using several methods to make a clean and tasty cider: pectic enzyme to chase off sediment, campden tablets to kill off any baddies, and yeast nutrient to keep the fermentation moving. For your drinking pleasure we threw everything at this batch including the kitchen sink! Enjoy!
I carefully cleaned (PBW) and sanitized (Star San) all equipment. I pressed 4 bags (about 2 bushels) of apples. It was kind of grueling today. The first two bags of crushed apples were very mushy. The second two bags were a little better but still a lot of work. And the funnel has a strainer, which clogged up every few times I used it making for extra work keeping the funnel strainer clear and flowing. After struggling a little with the first bag of apples, I added pectic enzyme, having read that pectic enzyme added to the crushed apples can help achieve a better yield. Despite this, the yield ended up lower than the previous batch or two. I filled one 6-gallon carboy, with just another couple of pints extra. Now that I have a few big decent batches under my belt, this time I’d like to see what happens if I am really good about sanitization, including adding campden tablets to the cider to kill off any initial bacteria or yeast. At 5:30pm I added campden tablets and moved the carboy upstairs. Then at 8pm I added a half-dose of pectic enzyme (since I had already added it to the crushed apples).
There was a lot of sediment!
First thing in the morning (8am) I transferred the cleared cider to another carboy. I added a light dose of yeast nutrient (2 tsp), swirled the cider to mix it, then once it settled I added a packet of Red Star Premier Blanc yeast. The cider looks amazingly clear, although there was about a gallon of particulate at the bottom so the overall yield of cleared cider is a little less than normal. I would be curious to make a batch of cider, keeping all that sediment, to hopefully drop out and compact by the end, and compare that to this batch. However I’m excited to see how this comes out because it’s the first time I’ve really been willing to take all the different steps to make a clean, clear cider.
I siphoned the clear cider off the big sediment cake, leaving me with this nice looking stuff:
I pitched the yeast:
I siphoned the cider into a keg and hooked it up to C02 in the cold room to carbonate: