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Cider Digest #1319

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Published in 
Cider Digest
 · 9 Apr 2024

Subject: Cider Digest #1319, 2 May 2006 

Cider Digest #1319 2 May 2006

Forum for Discussion of Cider Issues
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor

Slow digests for a bit (Cider Digest)
Re: Newbie found advice for making applejack (Marc Shapiro)
[Fwd: Juice clarity] (David Pickering)
Need info (pH adjustment) (Andrew Lea)
Funky smelling keeved ciders (Andrew Lea)
RE: Why are bjcp judges judging cider and mead? ("David Houseman")
Intensification pre- vs. post fermentation ("McGonegal, Charles")
planting trees with bones ("deva maas")

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Subject: Slow digests for a bit
From: (Cider Digest)
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 23:24:45 -0600 (MDT)

Cider Digests may be slow-to-nonexistent for the next couple weeks. The
janitor's alter-ego is involved in intensive organoleptic training sessions
on cider and perry. The alternate/surrogate janitor may put out a digest
or two, but the usual sporadic flow of digests won't resume until after

hang loose


Subject: Re: Newbie found advice for making applejack
From: Marc Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 02:13:08 -0400

"Timothy" <> wrote:

>Thanks to both comments I got on this subject. No, I didn't know fractional
>Crystallization was illegal.only Distillation. Of course this is the United
>States, and no one can be sure anymore what is legal and what is not.
>Secondly, I was completely unaware of the health hazards associated with
>fractional crystallization. I would have figured that wine is made from
>fermented grapes and is healthy, then applejack comes from fermented apples
>and should be healthy, apparently not. Both are two good reasons to make a
>change in plans. Of course, the lack of knowledge on this subject is why I
>subscribed to this newsletter.

I can't speak to the healthfulness, or lack thereof, of applejack, but
it is illegal in the U.S. since it concentrates alcohol.

>My inspiration for all this was my great-grandfather, who I never knew. He
>had a large wood barrel (carboy?) in the basement of an unheated
>out-building. I was told he made applejack. I now suspect it was simple
>fermented and aged apple cider. So I ask once again with all the ignorance I
>can muster: Is making fermented cider, with no factional crystallization,
>legal and safe for the body?

We are all here, and healthy. If applejack is unhealthy for the reasons
stated, it is due to the concentration of whatever substances the
statement was referring to. In apple cider, or apple wine, these
substances are not concentrated any more than they are in apple juice.
I haven't come across anyone who says that apple juice is unhealthy for
you, except for my daughter's dentist, who points out the large amount
of sugar in apple juice. The sugars are mostly gone after fermentation,

- --
Marc Shapiro

No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.
What?! Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here.
Boom. Sooner or later ... boom!

- - Susan Ivanova: B5 - Grail


Subject: [Fwd: Juice clarity]
From: David Pickering <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 17:45:21 +1000

Recent CDs have been discussing the assorted aspects of belt presses,
one being the clarity of the juice.
I would have thought that juice clarity is an issue that - apart from
varietal characteristics - is predicated by the
grinder/shredder/whatever and that the press cloths or belts would have
been a very minor factor.
My original cider making rationale was that fine shredding of the flesh
made for high juice extraction rates from the pomace and consequently
had run the material through the shredder several times. That was until
we visited a couple who had imported an old grinder and farm basket
press from France. With guidance from a parent who travelled out from
France for the crushing and pressing they ran the apples through the
grinder only once and the apples were broken into pieces that would have
had a thickness of perhaps 1cm (1/2 inch).
Subsequent pressing in their basket press (no cloth) gave a very clear
juice, perhaps at the expense of extraction rate, but since it was for
home use this aspect didn't worry them. Perhaps as part of this they
were also making a secondary product by adding water back to the pomace
and they would press this again at a latter date.
Can anybody put some sort of numbers, or explanatory text, to the
relationship between pomace particle size, juice yield and clarity?

David Pickering "Linden Lea" Orange NSW Australia


Subject: Need info (pH adjustment)
From: Andrew Lea <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 10:17:05 +0100

Craig wrote:

> I had read that my cider should be at least 3.8 on the ph scale. I used
> a litmus paper to test the acidity of my cider. My cider was not even
> registering at 4 on the litmus paper. So, I added malic acid until it
> tested at 3.8.

When you say 'litmus paper' do you mean proper pH test paper? Calibrated
for winemaking? The 'magic' of pH 3.8 is not so much for the taste of
the finished cider, more to prevent microbial infections primarily
during fermentation and secondarily in storage, and because above that
pH any added sulphite is practically ineffective. It is just a
guideline, not a rule set in stone. Unfortunately pH does not correlate
too well with perceived acidity by taste. Titratable acid measurement is
much better for that. See my website for further info.

>I ended up adding about 1 oz per five gallons. Now my
> cider is extremely acidic and very cloudy and quite nasty to taste, and
> Im convinced it may even be dangerous.

That's about 25 grams per 25 litres in metric. Or 1 g/l or 0.1%. That
amount of acid addition is not huge (typically ciders run at 0.5% acid
total) and should not make your cider 'extremely' acidic (I've had
ciders running at 2% total acid - and they *are* harsh!!). Perhaps it's
more a matter of your sensory expectations. It certainly won't be

>Short of diluting the cider, is
> there an other measures I could take to reduce the malic acid content?
> It would be great if a malolactic fermentation took place. Is there any
> way to improve the possibility of a ML fermentation?

You can buy a ML culture from a winemaking supplier if you want to
improve the chances of MLF happening. Or you could reduce the acidity
again by adding potassium carbonate.

Andrew Lea,
nr Oxford UK.
- -----------------


Subject: Funky smelling keeved ciders
From: Andrew Lea <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 10:18:00 +0100

Jason wrote:

> In November we pressed and keeved a cider which we are hoping to
> ferment to an "off-dry" level of sweetness, somewhere in the range of
> 1.005. We pitched 2 yeasts into the batch, a Champagne style yeast
> (K-1118) and a Cotes des Blancs white wine yeast.

I am puzzled that you should be adding a cultured yeast. The whole point
of keeving surely is that we're looking for a slow fermentation with a
weak yeast, not a bred-to-be-bullish full-fermenting wine yeast. So
keeving goes hand in hand with wild yeast only (at least in my book -
others may differ!)

> the cider is smelling rather eggy, and I am guessing that we have
> stressed the yeasts to such a degree that they can no longer ferment
> "cleanly". We have actually added small amounts of Yeast Nutrient
> to nudge the yeasts along and clear up the aroma, but this has raised
> some questions in my mind. Those of you who routinely have very slow
> fermentations, with or without keeving, do you find your ciders to be
> "smelly" during the fermentation process?

No. Not in my personal experience. Nor in that of at least some other UK
cidermakers. This topic came up recently at a 3CCPA meeting on bottle
conditioned ciders and most people did not report eggy problems when
using wild yeasts.

> If the process of keeving is performed with the intention of stopping
> fermentation early, aren't you guaranteed to stress out your yeasts
> and generate off-flavors?

I think this is much more likely with cultured yeasts than it is with
wild yeasts. The reason is that wine yeasts are too highly bred and
ill-adapted to "real life" to do without added nutrients. When those
are not available, they scavenge other sources of nutrient (eg
sulphur-containing proteins) thus releasing eggy aromas as a by-product.
Wild yeasts do not (generally) do that.

> Or do some yeasts never produce that wonderful eggy smell which our
> cider is currently producing?

I think you should 'live dangerously' and avoid cultured yeasts in
keeved juices. Treat with half the recommended amount of sulphite for
the pH to knock out the real nasties, and just let a natural (wild
yeast) fermentation take its course!

Andrew Lea
nr Oxford, UK

- --
Wittenham Hill Cider Page


Subject: RE: Why are bjcp judges judging cider and mead?
From: "David Houseman" <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 07:36:06 -0400


The issue isn't that there aren't qualified cider and mead judges; there
are. Many of those that follow this forum and make cider for example.
While not formally certified or trained, there are great judges for mead and

The issue is that there hasn't been a body of individuals that was willing
to tackle the considerable work to create a cider and mead sanctioning
program that provides training, testing and tracking of judging specifically
for meads and ciders. The BJCP has recently agreed to take on this task
and has asked for volunteers from the cider and mead community to join this

David Houseman


Subject: Intensification pre- vs. post fermentation
From: "McGonegal, Charles" <>
Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 07:52:04 -0500

Given the illegal (in the US) nature of boosting home wine/cider past
what yeast can do by themselves, I'm reluctant to tarry on this subject,
BUT I do have one more question to toss out...

The less than heathful nature of applejack has been discussed here
before - check the archives. The basic idea is that fractional
crystallization concentrates fusel oils and other naturally occuring
compounds (like amygdalin) that proper distillation leaves behind - be
it wine/cider/beer/mead. Sloppy distillate might bowl you over with
aldehydes in the nose, but it shouldn't carry a load of molecules that
are better left on the 'micro-' side of 'micro-nutrients'.

But what about must intensification - as in ice wine/cider? Not all the
nasties I can think of are fermentation products - they would be
concentrated pre-ferment in these products. Is it a matter of degree?
An ice cider (faux or pressed frozen) is concentrated from 10-12 to,
what, 30 brix? Call it 2 1/2, maybe three times I don't know what
applejack was, or might still be, ABV wise, but say one was aiming for
brandy strength, or 5%ABV to about 40%. That's an eight-fold

Ben W., you written on this topic before - any thoughts?

Charles McGonegal


Subject: planting trees with bones
From: "deva maas" <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 09:44:53 -0700

Last year I planted two trees with a chicken carcas in the bottom of
each hole, deep enough to keep my dogs and wildlife from digging them up
(30-36in.). I did this to provide a long term supply of phosphorus in our
phosphorus-difficant soils. Next year I plan to plant 35 more trees and am
considering planting them all with a good stock of bones. Is this a crazy
idea? Is there a risk of root disease or rot if there is meat still on the
bone? Has anybody done this and had their trees dug up by animals?

Thanks for the advice, Eric - Burdett, NY


End of Cider Digest #1319

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I made cider similar to this last year and it was an awesome base for Apple pie moonshine! It wasn't actual moonshine, but we blended the apple cider with apple juice and then high proof grain alcohol.

13 May 2024
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