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> Cider - Final Gravity and Natural Fermentation
ChrisB1
post Sep 28 2011, 12:17 PM
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I'm trying to replicate the cider that is made in the north of Spain (Asturias and Basque Country).

The way they make the cider in Spain is using wild yeast. And it is bottled before fermentation is finished, so that it will become lightly carbonated in the bottle.

I tried this a couple of years ago, but completely winged it. I bottled at different times, so carbonation was different in each group of bottles.

This time I'd like to be a bit more scientific. If I'm just using the juice of the apples (no additional sugars during fermentation or bottling), what should I expect the final gravity to be?

Is there a way to calculate at what gravity above that FG I should bottle in order to achieve "light" carbonation? Thanks...
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Dave F
post Sep 29 2011, 10:36 PM
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Wow...sounds like a crap shoot! The FG of a brew is pretty dependent on the yeast but also on the composition of the fermentable. Since cider is largely 100% fermentable, and if you're not adding any additional fermentables up front, it's probably reasonable to assume that you will go dry with just about any brewers yeast, but wild yeast adds a real "X factor!" I'd have to say you might be lucky that you didn't get any bottle bombs with your last batch! The safest thing to do would be to let it go dry then bottle condition with priming sugar...I know this defeats your purpose, but will be way more reliable, and no risk of exploding bottles.

Out of curiosity, did you take gravity readings of the cider when you made your various "bottling runs" on the last batch? If you're getting your cider from the same source, you would presumably have a similar wild yeast profile, and the data recorded from the original batch might give you some indication of what gravity reading to bottle at; ie, I like the carbonation level on this set of bottles, what was the gravity on when I filled these? Either way, I'd bottle in champagne bottles with caged corks...those bottles are way more able to take the excessive carbonation that could result if you guess wrong!
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ChrisB1
post Sep 30 2011, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for all that good info, Dave. Unfortunately, I took no readings or notes the last go 'round. I think this time I'll do successive bottlings every week or two, take gravity readings, and actually log them this time. I was attempting to read some Spanish sites yesterday. And if I'm understanding this correctly, lots of the cider-making there is based on methods and traditions from thousands of years ago. Apparently I'm going to have to begin lining up the whole process with the phases of the moon...
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Dave F
post Oct 4 2011, 08:58 PM
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QUOTE(ChrisB1 @ Sep 30 2011, 02:45 PM) *
...if I'm understanding this correctly, lots of the cider-making there is based on methods and traditions from thousands of years ago. Apparently I'm going to have to begin lining up the whole process with the phases of the moon...


I had been wondering if this might be exactly the case...they have a specific terroir that they know how to deal with from decades or even centuries of empirical data. Kind of reminds me of the wild fermentation procedures used in lambics and other sour beers in Belgium.

Edit: Definitely post back with your results!

This post has been edited by Dave F: Oct 4 2011, 08:59 PM
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jefflane510
post Oct 28 2011, 09:39 PM
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QUOTE(ChrisB1 @ Sep 28 2011, 01:17 PM) *
I'm trying to replicate the cider that is made in the north of Spain (Asturias and Basque Country).

The way they make the cider in Spain is using wild yeast. And it is bottled before fermentation is finished, so that it will become lightly carbonated in the bottle.

I tried this a couple of years ago, but completely winged it. I bottled at different times, so carbonation was different in each group of bottles.

This time I'd like to be a bit more scientific. If I'm just using the juice of the apples (no additional sugars during fermentation or bottling), what should I expect the final gravity to be?

Is there a way to calculate at what gravity above that FG I should bottle in order to achieve "light" carbonation? Thanks...


Sooo.....(IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/sorry.gif) what's the latest?

For what it's worth, all my ciders end up below 1.000 FG. I don't add sugars or anything like that. If you want it lightly carbonated, my guess would be to bottle it at 1.002 or so. But that's strictly a guess and will take no responsibility for exploding bottles.

jeff
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ChrisB1
post Nov 28 2011, 05:56 PM
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Jeff, nice to see a New Hampshire neighbor on here! Any idea where exactly your ciders finish at?

For anyone who's interested...I purchased my sweet cider on 10/13 and the gravity was 1046. I put it in a carboy and left it until 11/19 when I racked to another carboy and the reading that day was 1002. I would have bottled, but realized that I didn't have any empties. I just checked the gravity again today (11/28) and it's down to 998.

I was able to muster up 5 wine bottles (750's) and bottled in those and corked--leaving about another 3 gallons to bottle later.

The taste so far is really good. Still slightly sweet. I'm hoping not so sweet to wind up with any exploding bottles in my basement. To be on the safe side, I removed a couple of sleeping bags that were on the floor near where the bottles are.
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