First timer with small orchard seeking advice on cider

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Rick1964

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Thanks for all the great advice from everyone.
Its 1042 I have the same hydrometer - all the colours are a nuisance. Its the line under the numericals that denotes each 10 units. What is more the reading is usually wrong 'start beer' is between 1030-1040. 95% of the beer kits I do usually start 1046 to 1055
Yes, the hydrometer I have is confusing and illegible. I’m hoping that at some point it will sink to the yellow part which says time to bottle. That’s the useful bit and easier to read.
 

cfn1963

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Just checked on my hydrometer - the reading is actually 1042
With cider yeast you'd end up with an FG of about 1002 which would give you about 5.2% ABV.
But I suspect champagne yeast would go lower, so higher ABV.
My first batch this year - mostly cookers - started at 1040 so I added a bit of sugar to get to 1048. Within 10 days it was down well below 1000. Apologies for my ignorance but is it the journey - i.e. how much it drops - that determines the ABV rather than the starting point?
 

jof

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Apple availability is poor for me this year, so may not make any.

Last year's batch was 80% cookers & came out a bit acidic.
 

An Ankoù

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Just made my cider for the year. 30 litres with small equipment is a real pain in the jacksy and every year I promise myself I'll upgrade to at least a decent electric scratter - any advice on that one would be great.
Every year, I make the cider the same way: dunk the apples to get the worst of the crud off, mill them and press them. Start the first 10 litres with a sachet of Young's cider yeast and then continue topping up the fermenter until it's full. It's a most unsanitary process and I'm always amazed that nothing goes wrong. If I tried to make beer that way, I'd be pouring most of it down the sink. Or would I?

When I was in Poole, I used to use a garden shredder to mill the apples, does anyone else use one?
 

jof

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Just made my cider for the year. 30 litres with small equipment is a real pain in the jacksy and every year I promise myself I'll upgrade to at least a decent electric scratter - any advice on that one would be great.
Every year, I make the cider the same way: dunk the apples to get the worst of the crud off, mill them and press them. Start the first 10 litres with a sachet of Young's cider yeast and then continue topping up the fermenter until it's full. It's a most unsanitary process and I'm always amazed that nothing goes wrong. If I tried to make beer that way, I'd be pouring most of it down the sink. Or would I?

When I was in Poole, I used to use a garden shredder to mill the apples, does anyone else use one?
Last year I did about 5 gallons.
It took a long time as I was chopping the apples with one of those press down segmenters that leave the core.
Put segments in magimix with just enough apple juice to produce a lot of pulp.
Filled Fermentation vessel and started fermentation of the pulp.

After a week, transferred to second fv & strained through net bag & squeezed what I could from it.
Generated another 2-3 gallons of pulp from next batch of apples to top up & repeated straining the following week.

Lot of time & mess.
 

Shirley Bassett

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I use a garden shredder as a scratter.

I got my first one for £10 off gumtree.

They are easy to disassemble. I do this and clean the metal parts in hot soapy water, rinse and then mist with starsan, before reassembly. After I’ve finished scratting I disassemble again, wash, dry and store the metal parts in cooking oil. It stops them rusting

in my experience it’s best not to overload them, as it will burn out the motor.

I made the slit in the top wider to accommodate larger apples. The tops are usually interchangeable.

I put flexible tub buckets ( the kind people mix plaster in) to catch the scrat. They are around 45 litres in volume.

Ive burnt out two shredders in 7 years, but the last one I purchased from Argos and took out an extended warranty. I’m replacing it this week as I burnt it out last weekend. It lasted 35 months.

in future I’ll chop large apples in half.
 

DavieC

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Hi @An Ankoù I used a shredder last year, I bought a second hand Bosch one in very good condition,as Shirley Bassett does I stripped it down cleaned it all,and starsanned, it made light work of the apples and the cider was great. Cleaned it all up again after use, I didn't put anything on the blade though for storage and haven't used it this year but I'll check and clean again before use.I suppose a stainless steel blade would be the ideal thing but I had no off tastes in the cider.I cut the big apples in half at same time as chopping out bruises and insect damaged areas.
 

clyne

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Reading this thread with interest as I've just been given some apples from a friend and haven't made "real" cider before. I've ordered a fruit press (I was waiting for an excuse!). Should I just cut the apples into halves/quarters and then put them in the press, fire into a DJ and then add some yeast? I like the idea of "au naturale" and not adding yeast - anythign to lose if I leave it for a couple of weeks and see what happens and if no reaction then add yeast?
 

Moonraker

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Should I just cut the apples into halves/quarters and then put them in the press, fire into a DJ and then add some yeast?
Almost, but not quite. You will need to turn your cut apples into a pulp before you press them in order to get the juice out of them, using a "scratter". This can be simple as a bucket and a length of 4 by 2 that you then ram up and down into the bucket of chopped apples, or there's a rotating attachment that goes through the lid that is attached to an electric power drill, or you can get into the realms of building a hopper and rotating drum yourself, or buying a ready-made solution. Just pressing the cut apples will only get you a fraction of the juice that you will from having a finely-pulped "pomace".

Personally I use an electric waste-disposal unit.
 

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Shirley Bassett

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I did read on this forum that one member used to chop up their apples and then put them in poly bags and freeze them. They then defrosted them and pressed them. They reckoned the juice yield was higher than scratting. I haven’t tried myself.

With regard to au natural fermentation I’ve had mixed results. My pears always produced vinegar. I’ve had apples turn out superb, sweet with stuck fermentation that I couldn’t bottle carbonate and some that I threw away.

In other words it’s a bit hit and miss. If you have enough apples I would try a small batch, and sulphite the rest. It will give you a heads up for next year,
 

Shirley Bassett

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I searched the forum for “freezing apples”, and found the thread about the info I referred to above.
 

clyne

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Almost, but not quite. You will need to turn your cut apples into a pulp before you press them in order to get the juice out of them, using a "scratter". This can be simple as a bucket and a length of 4 by 2 that you then ram up and down into the bucket of chopped apples, or there's a rotating attachment that goes through the lid that is attached to an electric power drill, or you can get into the realms of building a hopper and rotating drum yourself, or buying a ready-made solution. Just pressing the cut apples will only get you a fraction of the juice that you will from having a finely-pulped "pomace".

Personally I use an electric waste-disposal unit.
cool some good info there thank you. And loving the setup! Although as a one off I quite like the idea of the 4x2 💪😂
 

DavieC

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Hi, The first time I made cider I used a food processor to pulp the apples.Let us know how it turns out.athumb..
 
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