From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big day in the basement

As you saw from yesterday's post, fermentation in the big pail had ceased (well, technically, it ran out of sugars to process, so they stalled).

Time for racking out to glass jugs for the secondary ferment.

In the primary ferment, everything goes great guns, gushing and slushing.  A really rough cider is created - probably harsh and not tasty they say.

Now, however, secondary (and, perhaps even a third) ferment will take time and slowly transform the cider into something a lot more refined.

So, Igor!  To the basement.

First we cleaned, then sanitized all the equipment.  (Joy...)

I've been reading a lot and following the homebrew cider forum for weeks.  I kinda knew what to expect.  And I'm always learning stuff.  Like, Sunday I just KNEW I wanted to add an auto-siphon and bottle wand to my equip collection, so first thing Monday, Frankenstorm or not, I went down to the brew shop.  (Priorities!)

OK.  Time to siphon into sanitized jugs.  First thing I noticed was that the cider wasn't dark brown anymore, but decidedly golden.  Nice.

I was afraid that the siphon would suck in to much of the lees (dregs) because I couldn't see through the white pail to know how deep they were,  so I lowered a small sieve into the pail and rested the siphon on it for the 1st 3 jugs.  Then, for the last jug, I was more in control so just held the siphon up above where I thought the dregs were and watched carefully.

They advise you to sacrifice more rough cider than you want to, but it's the only way to prevent the lees from messing up your next ferment.  In the end there was a full GALLON left in the pail.  *sigh*

Next came popping bubbler airlocks into the jugs, then setting the jugs in a nice safe place for whatever time it takes for the yeast to work its magic.  To that effect I set up a bit of a table against a far basement wall, lined up the jugs, then (using a metal clothes rack) I draped them with a nice white tablecloth.   Hey ho.

One thing about that 'rough' cider.  The initial reading was for a 6% alcohol potential for the juice.  I can affirm most assuredly that there is at least 6% alcohol in this batch.  Trust me.  LOL  The cider is a little tart (I'd added some citric acid) and it doesn't have any yeasty taste.  Does it taste like apples?  Hard to say.  Without any sugar in the mix, it's not really apparent.  But it doesn't taste unpleasant at all, so I've got good hopes for the final product.  Now it's a waiting game (and time to do more reading up).

And - oh oh oh - just as I was draping the tablecloth over the jug table, I happened to look at the end jug -- just as IT GAVE UP ITS FIRST BUBBLE!   Yay!  We're off to the races!

Meanwhile, there is just a liiiiiiiitttttlllle bit more sample cider left in the primer cup.  Well, waste not, want not.


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  1. I may not have the patience it takes for a project like this!

    My half gallon of cider is partially fermented just in the refrigerator. I am leaving it just to see what happens.

    1. I made 4 jugs so I can try different sugaring options for bottling carbonation: honey, maple syrup, dextrose, and brown sugar. I'll also let one of them age for a couple of months because there is supposed to be a state where certain malic acids come into play for deeper flavoring. Like wine and cheese, a good cider takes time.