Hello. I am new to brewing and before moving on to all grain beer I wanted to make a batch of cider. I started it last night and just wanted to share my process so far and open it up to any advice.
So I started with 5 gallons of local cider from a health food store (Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco). It has zero additives and was cold pasteurized.
I poured it all into a large kettle, checked the OG (1.07) then heated it around 180 - 190(f) for 45 minutes.
Once it was up to temperature I added 2lbs of bakers cone sugar (because I had it around, and wanted to raise the end alcohol level a little) and let it simmer for the rest of the time.
While it was simmering I made a mixture of 1tsp of Acid Blend + 1 tsp Pectic enzyme + 1/2tsp. yeast nutrient in a cup of cool water. the Pectic Enzyme is to clear the cloudiness, and I read that the acid blend was good to make the cider a little dryer. The acid blend was suggested in a few recipes, I did not do a PH test on my water. I also read that the the yeast nutrient is usually helpful for ciders.
After 45 minutes on the heat I put the whole kettle in my sink, full of cold water. I added the little ice I had and monitored the temperature. The ice melted off pretty rapidly, and the temperature dropped down to around 135 pretty quickly. I added the cold mixture when the temperature was around 100. I continued to change out the water for about an hour and finally got it down to 73f.
I then transferred the cider to a 6 gallon carboy with a siphon. I aerated it as much as possible via the siphoning and shaking up the cider in the carboy as it filled.
I took a tube of white labs english cider yeast out of the fridge when the process started, it was at room temperature when i got the cider into the carboy, so I shook it up well and opened it. I lost probably 1/4 of all over my counter, it was pressurized from the shaking. I I poured the remaining yeast into the carboy, shook it all up a bit, and put the airlock on filled with diluted sanitizer solution.
I finished the process around 2am, and when I got up this morning there was pretty much no action. Just a small touch of bubbles in the middle.
When I got home this afternoon around 7 it was going crazy, there is a 3/8" cake on the top, lots of movement below the surface, and the airlock is bubbling every three seconds or so.
So, it seems like thinks are going well, it has been staying right around 70 degrees. I am going to let it work itself out for a week or two then rack it into a smaller carboy with less air space the continue to age.
Any tips are appreciated, I will keep you all posted.