Apples...

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dean_wales
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Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:06 am

Guess what I will be doing this week...

Image

Half a car (with seats down) of crisp eating apples. All perfect no windfalls.

Not bad for two hours work!

Now I just need to serious increase my cider making knowledge and gear, fast!

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

crafty john

Re: Apples...

Post by crafty john » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:49 pm

dean_wales wrote:Guess what I will be doing this week...

Image

Half a car (with seats down) of crisp eating apples. All perfect no windfalls.

Not bad for two hours work!

Now I just need to serious increase my cider making knowledge and gear, fast!

Dean.
You will need about the same amount of cooking apples plus a few crab apples to make a decent cider, the more varieties the better, I know this is not what you wanted to hear but if you make cider with just eaters it will be rank

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dean_wales
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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:22 pm

Hi there,

I know that ideally you would use mostly dessert, plenty of cookers and a few crabs but isn't "rank" a bit overkill? I hope so anyway!

I dont like my cider really sharp, I want it as easy drinking as possible and to be honest these are the only apples I have. If I can get any cookers I will add them.

Am I right in saying that you can add tannin and malic acid from LHBS if needed?

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

boingy

Re: Apples...

Post by boingy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:38 pm

I have one pint of mouth-puckeringly sour cider I made last year from just crab apples. It's currently labelled "Yakky Cider" and you are welcome to add it to your mix! On a more serious note, you can probably locate some unwanted cookers in your area if you ask the right folk. They are usually sick of the sight of the things by this time of year.

Loving your apple transporter.

crafty john

Re: Apples...

Post by crafty john » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:44 pm

dean_wales wrote:Hi there,

I know that ideally you would use mostly dessert, plenty of cookers and a few crabs but isn't "rank" a bit overkill? I hope so anyway!

I dont like my cider really sharp, I want it as easy drinking as possible and to be honest these are the only apples I have. If I can get any cookers I will add them.

Am I right in saying that you can add tannin and malic acid from LHBS if needed?

Dean.
You can add tanin etc but if you just use eaters your cider will not be the best, try to get some cookers as Boingy says from people who are sick of the sight of them. Freecycle is a good place to start. Good luck mate.

Chicken Dipper

Re: Apples...

Post by Chicken Dipper » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:18 am

Added dried grape tannin to the 50l of apple wine I ended up with after I 'borrowed' some apples out of my pârents trees. I didn't bother the last few time I made it, so will be interesting to taste the difference. I know this is about cider and not wine, but I think it follows

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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:30 pm

Quick update...

Just purchased a new INSINKERATOR 65 heavy duty waste disposal unit off eBay for pulping the apples.

My mate is welding together some kind of press frame and backet from bits of old RSJ that we will use with an 8ton bottle jack.

The parents of above names friend who have a mixture of apple trees in their garden have agreed we can pick some. Think there might be some cookers and cider ones there, fingers crossed.

Have some bottles lined up to pasteurise some fresh juice in my HLT. The cider will be force carbed and bottled with my counter pressure bottler to improve shelf life.

Just need to work out how some of the batch can be brewed to make the french-style-sweeter-weaker cidre. Am thinking cold condition part of the batch for ages to drop as much yeast out, hit is with a preservative, add sugar and then force carb before bottling?

Busy times, especially alongside the wine making from grapes!

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

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jmc
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Re: Apples...

Post by jmc » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:06 pm

dean_wales wrote:Quick update...

Just purchased a new INSINKERATOR 65 heavy duty waste disposal unit off eBay for pulping the apples.

My mate is welding together some kind of press frame and backet from bits of old RSJ that we will use with an 8ton bottle jack.

The parents of above names friend who have a mixture of apple trees in their garden have agreed we can pick some. Think there might be some cookers and cider ones there, fingers crossed.

Have some bottles lined up to pasteurise some fresh juice in my HLT. The cider will be force carbed and bottled with my counter pressure bottler to improve shelf life.

Just need to work out how some of the batch can be brewed to make the french-style-sweeter-weaker cidre. Am thinking cold condition part of the batch for ages to drop as much yeast out, hit is with a preservative, add sugar and then force carb before bottling?

Busy times, especially alongside the wine making from grapes!

Dean.
Best of luck making the press and scratter.
I recommend you fit a foot pedal switch to the scratter, as it makes it safer and easier to use.
I'd also allow plenty of stops to let it cool down.
This video is handy for ideas on how to set it up
video on Flikr: Garbage Disposal Scratting Apples

Making sweet cider can be quite a challenge.
Good start is to look at Andrew Lea's excellent site

Page on French-style Keeving here: http://www.cider.org.uk/keeving.html

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Re: Apples...

Post by jmc » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:44 pm

jmc wrote:
dean_wales wrote:...
Just need to work out how some of the batch can be brewed to make the french-style-sweeter-weaker cidre. Am thinking cold condition part of the batch for ages to drop as much yeast out, hit is with a preservative, add sugar and then force carb before bottling?
...
Dean.
....Making sweet cider can be quite a challenge.
Good start is to look at Andrew Lea's excellent site

Page on French-style Keeving here: http://www.cider.org.uk/keeving.html
I also saw this info from Andrew Lea about a Keeving Kit from Vigo
Andew Lea wrote:For our UK readers who want to try their hand at keeving, I just heard
that Vigo now have their keeving kit in stock see
http://www.vigoltd.com/Catalogue/Chemic ... -Kit-94426

Although the kit is sufficient for 1000 litres, the calcium chloride
keeps indefinitely and the PME enzyme for several years in a fridge, so
you certainly don't have to use it all in one season.
I'm mostly finished pressing for this year, but I may have a go at keeving next year.

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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:15 pm

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions. All taken on board and I now have a copy of the Craft Cider Making book which is a great resource. Shame I paid full price for it and it seems most of the content is on the net already - but hey ho!

Sooo.... let me recap how things have gone in the apple stakes so far.

I left the six bins of apples outside for a couple of weeks whilst I got the required equipment together. Although I wanted to keep the cider making fairly rough and ready (to be true to my adopted Devon homelands traditions) I dont have much time and do have a lot of apples. So decided that mechanisation was needed but I couldnt afford to go the whole hog and buy a proper Vigo mill and press.

I decided after much research that the scratter plans looked too complicated, time consuming and potentially expensive once you locate a big enough motor. So instead I opted for the food waste disposal idea as done by others on here and YouTube. I decided to opt for a good quality waste disposal as it will be taking a serious hammering! My eBay searches led me to a new and unused Insinkerator 65 which is their mid range model and 0.65hp. It also comes with an air switch push button which is useful for safely stopping and starting the unit with soggy wet apple hands.

ImageImage

In a hurry I mounted them into an offcut of ply and rested this on a patio chair with covers removed - very ghetto but it worked. I had fived carton of cheap apple juice I was going to use for a turbo cider which came in very handy for rinsing out the unit between batches and clearing blockages etc. Next year I will mount it properly into the brewshed.

For the press, my friend is a sculptor and offered to weld me something together in return for some cider. I of course agreed! After having a glance at the vigo basket presses he cobbled together an industrial metal version in an afternoon. It is made from some old lengths of RSJ and other bits n bobs. It weighs a ton, is a bit hit-and-miss in use due to some errors in design but overall works well and should last a lifetime! The 8ton bottle jack I brought died on its first use and so will be returned. I had to to get hold of a 3ton one at short notice and use this instead.

ImageImageImage

Pictures of the pressing day yesterday afternoon for you all (storm evening was a great choice for working on the patio - NOT!)...

Generall chaotic set up (quick dash whilst SWMBO out for a few hours!):
Image
Image

Ghetto set up, note the extra plastic casing of teh unit removed to allow for better cooling:
Image

All ready to go, note the on/off airswitch and the useful extra bit of ply to the right for apple baskets and less so to the left for chopping:
Image

The output from that basket of apples - so easy, so well mashed and so quick!:
Image

Pour the pulp into a net bag and log it into the press:
Image

Getting readcy to fill the second - note the juice flowing already before the press is engaged:
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After adding a wooden disc and another bag of pulp and another disc its time to press. Bit fiddly but so staisfying:
Image

Soooooo after a few hours of that I am left with 87 litres of apples juice in three fermenters. I have hit all three with cambden and pectolase to get them ready for processing and all three smell lovely and are clearing well this morning.

The juice came out at with a gravity of 1.042 which is a little disappointing but fine by me.

My plan is to do the following with the juice:

- 25 litres will be bottles in nice glass pop bottles and pasteurised for juice for apple juice for the family.
- 20 litres will be pasteurised and then transferred to kegs for force carbing and then counter pressure bottling - think home made appletiser!
- 20 litres will have sugar added to OG 1.055 and then get fermented to as-is to see if the rumours are true and that cider from dessert apples is undrinkable. If it is terrible I may add some tea, acid, lemon etc to try and improve it.
- 20 litres will have sugar added to OG 1.055 and then be blended with juice from whatever cooking and cider apples I can find to make a 'better' cider.
- Any remaining juice might go into a demijohn for some kind of apple wine!

So that where I am at! Watch this space over the next few days for progress reports!

Such a shame the brew shed is not finished as it would be so much easier to be out there - SWMBO is not happy with the mess, smells, late nights and sticky ness!

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

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jmc
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Re: Apples...

Post by jmc » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:46 pm

Great post Dean. Glad the waste-disposal scratter worked well.

Is the cider barrel part made of SS? If so how thick?
Did the barrel part bow-out under pressure?

If you're interested your press could be modified to use rack & cloth (cheeses) which may improve your efficiency

Unfortunately I too can't get cider apples so I'm using a mix of eaters, cookers and about 5-10% crab apples for tannin.

Keep us updated on how you get on with your cider & AJ.
ATB John

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dean_wales
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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:49 pm

Hi JMC,

The barrel/basket part of the press is not stainless, just mild steel. It was already dotted with rust the night before so I hastily spray painted it with some automotive silver metallic paint. This did the job but I can see that some of it did flake of during pressing which is a little worrying but I dont think much if any will have made it into the juice. The bands around the basket kept it all in good shape, the press and basket did not distort at all during pressing. The only issue being the jack and blocks not being correctly aligned and/or the 'cheeses' not compacting evenly and so needing to be readjusted during the press.

I think I will have to stick with the basket now that its been made for me. Planned tweaks for next year are:
- Get everything properly painted with enamel or poweder coated.
- Get some new, bigger, tougher voile bags sorted. Both partially burst during pressing.
- Current have been pressing two 'cheeses' with two intermediate plated. Need to up this to four next year.

I added yeast nutrient and pitched yeast (Safale SO4) to one FV last night. Second will get Nottingham this evening.

I haven't been able to locate any cookers/crab apples so, given the fact that I also already have 'too much' cider fermenting I might go for adjusting the juice I have.

Before pitching I checked the pH with strips and it seemed to come out about right surprisingly (around 3.4). So I might try fermenting one FV as it stands and then alter the second to as close as possible to desired qualities with chemical or other household additions. I have a pot of Malic Acid from the LHBS and could also get some tannin - anyone have experience using them?

After tasting and comparing the two when finished I will then start experimenting with plans to make sweeter french style cider.

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

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dean_wales
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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Nearly forgot - packed the barrel destined for apple juice last night...

Leaving the FV with pectolase and camben really really help clear up the previously murky juice! I filled a dozen glass 'Belvoir' posh pop bottles and then heated them all in a big stock pot on the stove half full of water.

Image

These were then heated to 71.7c which I read on the American FSA website as the correct pasteurisation temperature for apple juice. Once up to temperature I screwed on caps sanitised with StarSan and set aside to cool.

Image

Next up was to start work on my home made Appletiser, another attempt to use up the juice and keep SWMBO happy. I syphoned 20 litres of the clear juice from the FV into a sanitized crusader keg. Once filled I then put this into the water bath and began heating. It became clear it needed a jacket to get up to temperature and so I wrapped in a thick towel. It came up to temperature surprisingly quickly and once up to the magic 71.7c it was also set aside outside to cool down.

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As the contents is now sterile I am in no major rush but will get on with it soon. The keg will go into the freezer at 0c later this week and be hooked up the my CO2 gas cylinder and be carbed up to aroun 4 vols. Then will come the counter pressure bottling into green champagne bottles which I reckon wont be easy as apple juice seems to want to foam. Will let you know how that ones goes!

Shame to have to heat the juice - but rather a slight flavour change over loading with chemical preservatives etc.

PS - God I love my Hanna thermometer. At the time I thought it was overkill but I use it aaaaaaaall the time these days!

Dean.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

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dean_wales
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Re: Apples...

Post by dean_wales » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:19 pm

Also forgot to add apple variety details which may steer recommendations... Mine are Laxton Superb.

Image

Laxton's Superb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Laxton's Superb is a variety of apple that was developed in England in 1897. The variety is a cross breed between Wyken Pippin × Cox's Orange Pippin. It is a Classic old Victorian, British apple with a green color and a dull red flush. The fruit are of a firm texture, but are not very good juice producers. This is why the variety is used for eating and not for making cider. Malus Domestica 'Laxton's Superb'.

Hybrid parentage - Thought to be Wyken Pippin × Cox's Orange Pippin
Cultivar - Laxton's Superb
Origin - Thomas Laxton England, Bedford, 1897

Laxton's Superb was first bred in 1897 by Laxton Brother's and introduced in 1922 having received an AGM from the RHS in 1921. Laxton Brother's were a famous Victorian plant breeders from Bedford in England. The variety is a cross between the Cox's Orange Pippin and Wyken Pippin apple trees.[1] Laxton Brother's were also well known for breeding numerous fruit varieties (apples and strawberries in particular).[2] Thomas Laxton's company continued to trade after his death in 1893 as "Laxton Brothers" as the company was taken over by his sons and grandsons, until it ceased trading in 1957 when it was taken over by Bunyard Nurseries. Bunyard eventually shut down the company and the orchards were built upon. However, the Laxton variety of apple still lives on as the town of Bedford have planted an orchard of the Laxton apple trees.[3] Winston Churchill was also believed to have ordered fruit trees and plants for his Chartwell estate in Westerham, Kent. There are also surviving Laxton apple trees at Bank Hall in Bretherton, Lancashire.
Click here for my cider pressing...
Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

crafty john

Re: Apples...

Post by crafty john » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:16 pm

dean_wales wrote:Also forgot to add apple variety details which may steer recommendations... Mine are Laxton Superb.

Image

Laxton's Superb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Laxton's Superb is a variety of apple that was developed in England in 1897. The variety is a cross breed between Wyken Pippin × Cox's Orange Pippin. It is a Classic old Victorian, British apple with a green color and a dull red flush. The fruit are of a firm texture, but are not very good juice producers. This is why the variety is used for eating and not for making cider. Malus Domestica 'Laxton's Superb'.

Hybrid parentage - Thought to be Wyken Pippin × Cox's Orange Pippin
Cultivar - Laxton's Superb
Origin - Thomas Laxton England, Bedford, 1897

Laxton's Superb was first bred in 1897 by Laxton Brother's and introduced in 1922 having received an AGM from the RHS in 1921. Laxton Brother's were a famous Victorian plant breeders from Bedford in England. The variety is a cross between the Cox's Orange Pippin and Wyken Pippin apple trees.[1] Laxton Brother's were also well known for breeding numerous fruit varieties (apples and strawberries in particular).[2] Thomas Laxton's company continued to trade after his death in 1893 as "Laxton Brothers" as the company was taken over by his sons and grandsons, until it ceased trading in 1957 when it was taken over by Bunyard Nurseries. Bunyard eventually shut down the company and the orchards were built upon. However, the Laxton variety of apple still lives on as the town of Bedford have planted an orchard of the Laxton apple trees.[3] Winston Churchill was also believed to have ordered fruit trees and plants for his Chartwell estate in Westerham, Kent. There are also surviving Laxton apple trees at Bank Hall in Bretherton, Lancashire.
Awesome mate, a very lucky find :D

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