Fresh London Cider

Friday, September 20, 2013

After the success of the Fresh Cider and Ale Yeast experiment I've decided to use another of my favorite strains to make a new batch of slightly sweeter, rustic cider with the Wyeast London Ale yeast. The theme will remain the same; simple. This batch will also be fermented in the same keg it will be self carbonated and served from.



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Style & Targets
Rustic Semi-Sweet Cider
4% abv

Ingredients
4.5 gallons fresh pressed cider
Wyeast 1028 London Ale yeast


Procedure
Clean and sanitize a 5 gallon keg, fill with 4.5 gallons of fresh pressed cider (no preservatives of course!) and pitch a packet of yeast. Much like our first experiment with making simple cider we will be using the same blow-off setup. To do this I removed the poppet entirely and (luckily) had a tube that fit snugly (after being made flexible in hot water) over the gas-in post. I don't expect too much krausen from the juice but between not filling the keg to the top and this blow-off I think it will work out fine.


Thoughts
In order to allow for some CO2 release during fermentation I will use the blow-off for the first few days, however, once I reach 4 gravity points above my target, I will replace the poppet and allow the cider to self carbonate during the remainder of the ferment. I will be closely tracking the progress with daily gravity samples and once the cider is at the desired gravity, I will put it in the fridge to stop fermentation and then consume it - fresh!

I will be aiming for a final gravity of 1.012 (4% abv) and will seal the keg at 1.016. Based on the math found in this wiki, this will give the cider approximately 2 volumes of CO2.


Notes
Day 1
Ambient Temperature: 70 F
Initial Gravity: 1.042

Day 3 
Ambient Temperature: 66 F
Gravity: 1.023

Day 4 
Ambient Temperature: 64 F
Gravity: 1.016
* Sealed the keg to allow self carbonation down to FG of 1.012

Day 5.5 
Ambient Temperature: 62F
Gravity: 1.012


Conclusions
We have our winner! Although the Safale 04 does a great job it takes away more of the apple character than I'd like. The Wyeast London 1028 is absolutely perfect for this session cider; not only is it ready in about 6 days but it is delicious from the get-go! If you want something simple, rustic and delicious - this is the recipe for you!

One more wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can reuse the same keg all season. Make sure to keep sanitary and make sure to allow the remnant "dregs" and yeast cake to remain at the bottom of the keg (as you get to the bottom it gets so think and sludgy that it pours like mud, that's when you stop drinking it and save the cake for later). Once you've drained the last of the cider, simply bring your keg to room temperature, dump in 5 or so more gallons of fresh juice and repeat the process above - ta-dah! - another batch of perfect cider is ready for you in no time. I can drink this stuff all season!


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