Cider Making Weekend 13/14th November

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Monday 1 November 2004 5.26pm
I have started this new thread specifically for important information relating to our cider-brewing venture in two weeks time. Please could we keep questions, discussion and chat to the existing thread, to keep things easy to locate on this thread? Other threads to use:

Cider - how much do you want to make? - for requests to be in on some apple juice.

Cider equipment orders - what it says! See below.


Following our meeting on Saturday, we are now forging ahead with plans for the pressing weekend, which will be on the 13th and 14th of November, at:

Surrey Docks City Farm, Rotherhithe St, SE16 5EY
020-7231-1010

The farm is at the very southern end of Rotherhithe St, is signposted and is marked on some maps. The 381 goes there via Southwark St, Tooley St and Jamaica Rd, and there is free on-street parking.

The start times are yet to be posted, but bank on it being a full weekend's work.

All and their friends and family are very welcome, whether or not you have been involved so far. Indeed we will want you all to do a few turns of the scratter handle and prepare a few apples! The farm is a great place to visit, especially with children, and the whole weekend should be jolly messy outdoor fun. The apple juice is mostly now spoken for, but we can accommodate a few extra people who want to make a gallon or two of cider. If you do and you haven't signed up yet, please make yourself known on the Cider - How much do you want to make thread in the next few days. You will have to buy a few things (keep reading…) and pay a cost per gallon to cover communal purchases and costs.

Next posts will cover:
What you need
Obtaining your equipment
Please read these now, because orders need to be placed by this Friday lunchtime.

Forthcoming posts will include:
Cost per gallon estimate for communal costs (I hope - from Ivanhoe)
Brewing method
What to bring for the pressing weekend

You might want to read a bit about the brewing method before deciding whether you want to order yeast or to rely on natural yeasts.




Edited 2 times. Last edit at 23 November 2004 5.34pm by James Hatts.
Monday 1 November 2004 5.29pm
Cider - What you need.

To make cider with us, you will have to pay a price per gallon for your ordered apple juice and communal costs. Ivanhoe is currently calculating this, and it should be be a bargain compared to buying cider! I hope he will post up the amount this week. We will arrange a drop-in time and place next weekend, where people can pop in with their money for this and for any equipment ordered.

In addition, you will need:

Fermentation vessels - enough for your chosen quantity, bearing in mind that most hold about 20% more than the nominal quantity.

For each vessel: bored bung, airlock

Yeast (if using - see notes about method)

You will also need these things which you probably have at home:

Cotton wool
Vaseline

You will also need these, which we intend to order communally and include in the communal costs:

Sterilising chemical
Campden tablets (if using- see notes about method)
Siphon tube
Extra vessels for racking

And of course we need you to help with the hard work on the pressing weekend.
Please read a little about brewing method, in order to decide whether you want to use yeast or not. It is a hotly debated topic in cidermaking circles.

Next post about cost of equipment and where to get it.
Monday 1 November 2004 5.33pm
Costs and ordering equipment

To get your equipment in time for the pressing weekend, you need to take action this week. Although there is a homebrew shop in London where you can buy things over-the-counter, it holds very little stock and is very expensive. It may be handy for last-minute omissions though. If you want to use it, they can deliver for £5. I have not managed to locate any other retail places nearby.

For the record, the shop is:

The Homebrew Shop
14b Pitfield St, N1
020-7739-3701

Rather than using this, I would recommend one of the two following options:

Option 1:

As a group, we are intending to do a communal order from Richard Burns of the Cheers homebrew shop in Cheam, Surrey. This is the place where the presses are being hired from. Richard is a very enthusiastic, helpful and friendly chap. He is giving us a good discount, which makes his prices very reasonable (though 5-gallon fermenters are cheaper elsewhere - coming to that in a minute…). Blake has offered to drive down in his dad's camper just before the pressing, to collect our ordered equipment and bring it back, either to the farm or to people's homes. What a man! This makes it a very easy way to get your gear.

What you need to do if you want to take this option is:
-Select your items from the list below.
-Post your order on the Cider equipment orders thread. This must be done before Friday 1pm, so that Blake can phone in our order to Richard on Friday afternoon, so that he can in turn order from his supplier if necessary.
-Pay Blake. We will have a session this weekend, perhaps in the Royal Oak (Roadrunner, I assume you in your ‘logisticator' role are making sure this is organised and details posted), where people can drop in with their money, for this and for the communal costs. If you cannot do this, I'm sure some other way of paying will become apparent in due course!

Prices from Richard in Cheam (after discount):

5-gallon fermenter £12-50
Screw-on lid with bunghole and o-ring seal
No tap, bung or airlock

2-gallon ‘favourite' fermenter £7-75
(this 2-gallon thing comes highly recommended by Richard)
1-gallon glass demijohn £3-99
1-gallon plastic demijohn £1-95
Airlock 75p
Bored bung 25p


Option 2:

Buy online, checking that they will deliver in time. You will easily find several suppliers by googling. One that I found to be cheaper than some of the others is Hamstead: http://www.hamstead-brewing-centre.co.uk/catalog.htm
They charge £6-50 for delivery per parcel, and if you order by Mon 8 Nov, they say they will deliver by Sat 13 Nov. They can get 4 or more 5-gallon fermenters in one parcel (were reluctant to be exact when I spoke to them) as well as a few smaller things, and the fermenters are much cheaper than Richard above, at £8.99.

If people clubbed together to get large fermenters from Hamstead, it might be cheaper than from Cheam, and would free up a lot of space in Blake's camper!

Another well-respected online supplier is Vigo: http://www.vigoltd.com/index.asp
I reckon they are a little more expensive than Hamstead.

The choice is yours! But remember remember the 5th of November: the deadline for ordering stuff from Richard's shop via Blake's camper.
Monday 1 November 2004 5.43pm
[sorry to butt in. Do we use this as the "Cidermaking - equipment orders" thread, or will there be another one?]

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 1 November 2004 5.50pm
(no worries about butting in...) I've just made another one - you posted in my tea-break! Would you post your cost-per-gallon so that new people can see it?
Tuesday 2 November 2004 9.47am
We're working on a cost of around £4 per gallon of juice if we have any spare and if anyone wants to take the odd gallon to make cider with or to drink (it is apple juice, remember. Even if it doesn't come in a sterilised tetra pack it might still be OK to drink.)

[edited to change cost per gallon, after we decided to give a donation to the city farm and include this in the price of juice]

...if you press it, they will come.




Edited 2 times. Last edit at 2 November 2004 1.08pm by Ivanhoe.
Tuesday 2 November 2004 12.23pm
Brewing method - links

Brewing method seems to be a hotly contested minefield of conflicting information - everyone you talk to says different things and insists that their tips will make you the best cider. However, all seem to agree that two things are vital :

Excude air at all stages where possible. Brewing vessels must be full, and be airtight. This is more important in cider brewing than for wine or beer, because the process is cooler and slower and takes a long time.

Hygeine is vital - everything in contact with the fermenting juice must be sterilised.

I will post a set of detailed instructions on brewing method, giving one suggested method that might be suitable for us, with some possible variations. In the meantime here are two good sites you can look at. The suggested methods are not gospel, there are many variations to choose from. In particular, you might like to think about whether you want your cider to rely totally on natural yeasts, which is traditional but risky. Aparrently it ‘usually' works out OK but runs the risk of spoiling. The plus side is that you can get more complex flavours and that its very traditional. The alternative is to sterilise the juice with chemicals and add yeast. Both the sites below discuss pros and cons.

Richard in Cheam has produced some very straightforward instructions:
http://www.cheerswinemakingandbrewing.co.uk/htcider.html

He has now updated these (he kindly posted me an updated hard copy which anyone is welcome to have a copy of) and advocates strongly that people do a slow fermentation with natural yeasts, adding no sulphite at the beginning. He says that apple juice has its own natural immune system which prevents it spoiling. But be aware that most books say beginners should use sulphite and yeast - the choice is yours. Those of us making several containers can try a bit of each.

Another good site is by Andrew Lea. It is more detailed and in parts quite technical, but well worth having a look at. The whole site is good:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/andrew_lea/content2.htm

The most relevant bits for brewing method are these two sections:
Intro
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/andrew_lea/part1.htm

Juicing and fermenting
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/andrew_lea/part3.htm

Andrew's advice seems to be to use a minimum of sulphite, to kill the bad organisms on the outside of the apples but preserve the good yeasts inside the apple flesh, which go on to multiply and produce a natural fermentation. That's the theory - the choice is yours.
Tuesday 2 November 2004 12.29pm
ps. Tharg may have something to say about natural v. added yeasts (as well as any other aspects of cider-making) as he seems to have been immersed in cider-making for the last few weeks and has presumably had the opportunity to chat to several experienced cider-makers, whereas I have only talked to two and looked at one book and a few websites. I would always go for experience over books (especially if the person concerned makes nice cider!)



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 2 November 2004 12.31pm by The Unladylike Ms. Jo.
Tuesday 2 November 2004 12.58pm
It's entirely up to you, whichever method you choose. I personally will be going "natural" that is, rely on yeasts already present in the apples, but I may feed them. Keith uses Sodium Metabisulphate to control rogue yeasts on all his ciders, but he also goes yeastless on some of his produce. Yes there is a risk, but you may be rewarded with a superior cider.
Tuesday 2 November 2004 3.01pm
Not sure if this is the right thread but here goes anyway. I have a problem with van rental. They want £500 deposit which I don't have. They want it on my card too. I'll see if I can get paid in time to do it but I may need a contingency plan (i.e. someone else to pay for it!).

Any ideas?
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