It’s in the bottle

The fermentation process of this batch of cider was a slightly more scientific affair than usual. Well, I experimented with cranking the temperature up slowly, by 1 degree every 12 hours from the time I pitched the yeasticles, all the way from starting (18 deg) to the final fermenting temperature of 22 deg. I have no evidential basis whatsoever for this approach, I was just playing around with the STC1000 really. Anyway, it started bubbling when it hit 20, and continued for 5 days or so. I kept the heat on for another 48hrs after that, then let it cool down to room temperature for another 24.

The finishing gravity was 1.00 so that would give us a nice fat 7.9% ABV, if the starting gravity was to be believed, which I’m not totally sure it should be. The week-old cider is already nice and clear, so by the time it’s sat for a few weeks it should be positively crystalline. In an attempt to make it more appealing to the er, ‘delicate’ palate, I added a nice healthy tablespoon of lactose to each bottle before I filled them up. Some got a teaspoon or two more than that, it wasn’t done with surgical precision though, and I have used different coloured bottle caps to differentiate between the levels of sweetness. This follows an episode of ‘helpful’ tidying by the missus, who unwittingly mixed up my two ‘different strength but identical in appearance’ batches of pear cider last year. I know not to leave it to fate this time round…

So there are 20 bottles in the bottom of the wardrobe – hopefully this warm spell we’re experiencing is here to stay, so I don’t need to heat them artificially, because I want to put down an IPA in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll need the heat mat. I don’t remember how long I left my first batch of cider to condition but I’m fairly sure I opened the first bottle after only 3 weeks. Hopefully we’ll have delicious cider for Christmas.

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