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View Full Version : New brewer making a Cyser(hopefully)



ogr8bearded1
01-17-2016, 12:01 AM
So I just started making my first brew of any kind. I had thought about a hard cider and had also thought of a mead. Found out about cyser while researching and decided it was perfect to try out.

1 quart Sourwood Honey
3 quarts Lucky Leaf Apple Cider
25 Golden raisins
5 g Lalvin 71b-1122 Yeast

Way I figure I should end up with a 14 to 15% ABV before the yeast dies to alcohol level and be left with a nice off dry cyser since it should have enough sugars to go to 17 to 18%. Guess I'll find out in about 9 months how I did :D

Only thing I'm worried about if that I didn't hydrate my yeast right before pitching. I mixed it with a 1/4 cup of cider at 109 F, gave it a good stir and poured it in and now I think I should have let it set for a few minutes (or maybe hours?) instead. House stays around 70 F and I have the growler sitting in a box to keep it out of the light.

So did I mess up the yeast badly, or will it just maybe take longer to start? I've been reading about degassing so I should give the growler a slight shake everyday? Any critiques would be welcome :)

bmwr75
01-17-2016, 10:07 AM
You should know within a day or two if your yeast survived. 71b takes off pretty fast in my experience.

Yeast should be rehydrated in water and the yeast slurry should be within 10 degrees F of the must temperature when it is pitched.

Mazer828
01-17-2016, 11:59 AM
Think you'll be ok. No telling what will happen as a result of hydrating your yeast in the apple cider. Especially at 109. The protocol Lallemand advocates is water or goferm at 104F. Never heard of using cider. No use worrying about it though, worrying never helped anything. Just see where it goes, take thorough notes, and learn.

I'd strongly recommend that until you get your mead legs (so to speak) you post your recipe and fermentation plan here and let some experienced mead makers take a Crack at it before you get going. We can help you stay out of trouble before you get yourself into it!

Let us know how this one progresses.

ogr8bearded1
01-20-2016, 12:21 PM
update- Looks like I have fermentation going but slowly. OG was 1.12 and haven't taken a new reading yet. Pulled 55 ml for the test but didn't add it back, so should I top off with some more apple cider to reduce the head space?

Mazer828
01-20-2016, 01:43 PM
update- Looks like I have fermentation going but slowly. OG was 1.12 and haven't taken a new reading yet. Pulled 55 ml for the test but didn't add it back, so should I top off with some more apple cider to reduce the head space?
Don't top off! You'll just dilute the final product, potentiality introduce contaminants, and all for no legitimate reason anyway: head space is simply not a factor while fermentation is going on because the carbon dioxide production purges all the oxygen. Only time to worry about head space (and then only debatably) is after fermentation is completely done and you're moving it to bulk storage where you can't assure that the head space is minimal or oxygen free.

RDWHAHB!

Mazer828
01-20-2016, 01:48 PM
Minor caveat to my previous post. I assumed you were topping with water when you actually stated you were using cider. If water, don't top off. If cider, I have to ask is it really cider or juice? Cider has been partially fermented with acetobacter and I wouldn't recommend adding that unless a tart/sour finish is what you're after. Use apple juice that would be just fine.

Begs the question though: did you start with cider or juice? If cider, did you sterilize somehow prior to pitching? Or did it contain sorbate? Lots of variables there.

ogr8bearded1
01-20-2016, 02:09 PM
I used Lucky Leaf Cider, they sell both cider and juice but I really can't see a difference in how either looks in the bottle. The label says it is made with apple cider concentrate, water and ascorbic acid and the apple juice says same except made with apple juice concentrate. This is of course the "American" cider and not what other countries would call cider. It has been pasteurized as required for store bought juices/ciders and no preservatives, sorbate or sulfites in it.

Mazer828
01-20-2016, 03:04 PM
I suppose either would be fine then. Cider might give you a slightly more tart finish. But I'd personally call that a desirable trait. Topping will change your gravity and your ABV outcome though, so if that's important to you, take gravity measurements before and after, or at least know what quantity you added and what the gravity of the added cider is, so you can know how much more fermentable sugars you added.

ogr8bearded1
01-20-2016, 03:18 PM
It was my impression that since the OG 1.12 would lead to my yeast dying before converting all the sugars. It is my first time so I'm hoping it is at least drinkable. I do prefer sweet or semi-sweet over dry so it should be to my taste and hopefully not too sweet. Or am I wrong with this assumption?

Mazer828
01-20-2016, 04:59 PM
It really all depends on the yeast selection and how well you take care of it (feeding and nutrition). 71B will definitely handle 13-14% ABV, so that will take you through about 120 gravity points like you said. So it sounds like you'll get what you're aiming for. Something not too sweet but not dry either.

ogr8bearded1
01-21-2016, 10:54 PM
Last night started to finally see some action in the air lock. This morning I clocked 6 bubbles/minute in a 3 piece airlock and currently doing 8/min now so looking like the yeast is doing its job.

Squatchy
01-22-2016, 01:22 AM
Bubbles per minute is in no way a substitute for a hydrometer.

ogr8bearded1
01-22-2016, 02:15 AM
Bubbles per minute is in no way a substitute for a hydrometer.

I have one, just nice to finely see some action and that it is getting stronger after such a slow start.