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Culchie

Cider Refill Instructions

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The last time I made a batch of cider, there wasn't 3 bottles in the kit. It didn't come with the instructions this time. My question is, Are the measurements the same for sugar with the 3 bottles of extract as they were with the old kit ?? Seems to me they should update their directions if they update the process or ingredients. Thanks.

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The sugar is used to carbonate the cider.  What goes into the LBK during fermentation has no impact on how much sugar you use to carbonate, so there is no change.

 

I won't disagree with you that things aren't well updated on that.  PIcs show 2 bottles, places mention 3, others mention 2.  Like anything, when they change something they should not only be updating everything but also put in change dates (i.e. as of xx/xx/16 shipments, all cider kits contain 3 bottles instead of 2).

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Thanks. During the Brewing Process it says : Boil 4 cups of water. Stir in  "BOTH" bottles of cider concentrate and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. So I was wondering if the number of ounces of concentrate was the same, and do I still use 4 cups of water and do I still add 1 1/2 cups sugar, or more or less ?? I understand about the carbonation process.     

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On 5/25/2016 at 10:24 AM, geoffman350 said:

The new instructions shown here: http://www.mrbeer.com/hard-cider-kit don't mention any sugar be added to the fermenter.  I only combined the 3 bottles of mix that my refill came with and added the appropriate amount of water.  Was it a mistake not to add sugar or am I ok?

 

No, you're fine. Sugar will dry the cider out so it will be a bit less sweet, but also a bit higher ABV.

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If you like it sweeter add lots of lactose.  I added about 8oz to mine & it seemed to be the perfect amount... for me.  It makes it bit more like a Reds Hard Apple Cider. 

***Mine was done using the pear recipe, although I doubt that there is much difference.

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On 5/25/2016 at 11:05 AM, MRB Josh R said:

 

No, you're fine. Sugar will dry the cider out so it will be a bit less sweet, but also a bit higher ABV.

Oh good, I was concerned. I figured it was too late to add it anyway. I tend to like a tart, less sweet cider. We'll see how this works out.

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I've heard that a good rule of thumb is to ferment Mr. Beer kits for 3 weeks in the LBK?  Should I ferment the cider for 3 weeks also?  I intend to condition the bottles for 4 weeks, then put the cider in the fridge for a week more before drinking.  Is this a good method with brewing cider?

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36 minutes ago, geoffman350 said:

I've heard that a good rule of thumb is to ferment Mr. Beer kits for 3 weeks in the LBK?  Should I ferment the cider for 3 weeks also?  I intend to condition the bottles for 4 weeks, then put the cider in the fridge for a week more before drinking.  Is this a good method with brewing cider?

 

3 weeks is a good time, regardless. In cider's case, it's mostly to clear it up a bit. Cold-crash it in the fridge 24-48 hours before bottling for best results.

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Last batch of cider I made, my wife complained that it wasn't very sweet. She prefers it to be a bit sweet. I had added a pouch of booster to it. I was disappointed for her that it was not sweet enough. The box with 3 bottles said that with three bottles it should be sweeter. This time I made it without the booster and just the 3 bottles of apple juice concentrate. 

 

I cold crashed it for about 3 days, and was amazed how clear it was going into the bottles out of the lbk. They are conditioning now. I recommend a minimum of two months conditioning time for Peak flavor. Even at 1 month it tastes more like an apple wine, then an apple cider. Just with that one additional month made all the difference in the world with the flavor.

 

I just hope this batch without the booster is going to be sweet enough for her.

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Booster isn't a sweetener. It, in fact, does the exact opposite of sweeten. Our ciders are more like dry English ciders than American ciders. It's almost impossible to make a sweet cider without a kegging system. You could try using lactose sugar as it's unfermentable, but it's a milk derivative and some people can't have it. It will also make your cider less crisp and more "creamy". I like to substitute a gallon of the water I use in my ciders for a gallon of pasteurized apple juice. This will give some residual sweetness, but not as much as an American sweet cider.

 

If you truly want to make a sweet cider, I recommend investing in a kegging system. That way you can stabilize the cider so it doesn't ferment any sugar you add. Then you artificially carbonate it. This is how all American ciders are made. There are no shortcuts, unfortunately.

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Well, I had to throw my last batch of cider out. So now I'm starting over. I added 3 qts. of pasteurized apple juice, instead of all water to my extract. It's only been fermenting 4 days, and looks to be almost done working. Is it common to finish fermenting that quick in 68-78 F temperatures ??

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I fermented the last batch in the 60s. Didn't seem to do the trick. The cider instructions says between 59 and 75. I'll try to keep it around 68 to 72. That's about all I can do in this hot weather. 

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13 hours ago, Culchie said:

I fermented the last batch in the 60s. Didn't seem to do the trick. The cider instructions says between 59 and 75. I'll try to keep it around 68 to 72. That's about all I can do in this hot weather. 

 

68-72 is perfectly fine for a cider. In every fermentation, the main activity is only within the 1st few days. After that, there will still be plenty of activity, it just won't be visible. Like Anthony said, let it ferment for a full 3 weeks.

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29 minutes ago, Culchie said:

If you cold crash cider after fermentation, does it kill the yeast, so that carbonation doesn't happen during the conditioning period ?? 

 

No. The yeast just goes to sleep. The carbonation happens BEFORE the conditioning period. When you bottle the beer and leave it at room temps after cold-crashing, the yeast wakes up and ferments the added sugar for carbonation. Once the carbonation is complete, the conditioning (aka aging) period begins.

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Thanks Rick. I read your post about cold crashing and propping up. It seems there's alot of worry about the sediment getting in the bottles, and people wondering if there's any yeast left for the carbonation process. It made me wonder if by putting my brew in a secondary fermenter before cold crashing, if I screwed up in any way. Because putting my brew in a (sanitized) secondary fermenter, it pretty much takes care of any chance of the trub getting in my bottles. 

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Does this sound right to you guys ? I took the advice of MRB Josh R and used 3 Qts of pasteurized apple juice, and cut back on the water. I used a cup of sugar instead of the listed 1 1/2 cups. And of course the 3 bottles of extract. My O.G. was 1.071. Was probably taken between 75 and 80 F. My F.G. was 1.002 and was taken an hour out of the fridge. So probably around 45 to 50 F. The math I do comes out to an ABV of over 9% !! I wanna be half that. Oh well, I have one more kit to get it right, then my cider days are over.

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13 hours ago, Culchie said:

Does this sound right to you guys ? I took the advice of MRB Josh R and used 3 Qts of pasteurized apple juice, and cut back on the water. I used a cup of sugar instead of the listed 1 1/2 cups. And of course the 3 bottles of extract. My O.G. was 1.071. Was probably taken between 75 and 80 F. My F.G. was 1.002 and was taken an hour out of the fridge. So probably around 45 to 50 F. The math I do comes out to an ABV of over 9% !! I wanna be half that. Oh well, I have one more kit to get it right, then my cider days are over.

 

I never said to cut back on the water, I said to replace some of the water with apple juice so you will still have the same volume. And when you do that, there is no need to add any sugar.

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