crescent moon cider (2.0)
subsequent batch info: this is version 2 of the first crescent moon, that jenna and i made about a year ago
12L woolworths apple juice
2.4L woolworths apple and pear juice
2.55L goulburn valley pear juice
100mL fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
750mL liptons tea
170-200mL s-04 english ale yeast (1L starter)
stepped up starter of s-04 yeast to 1L, 18L batch, 16C fermentation, 2C increase to 18C after half way fermenting, 2C cold crash once desired sweetness and FG has been reached
estimated OG: 1.040
actual OG: 1.040
estimated FG: 1.010
actual FG: 1.010 - will no doubt be about 1.008ish by the time it cold crashes.
%AbV: 4.0 estimated (kegged)
australian standard drinks (1 x 340mL glass):
08/04/14 - will be making this bad boy in a day or two, once my starter has increased and the yeast has grown more. pretty excited. now with the use of kegs i can halt fermentation and keep the cider very cold, meaning the yeast should mostly drop out of suspension. what this should do is to keep the cider relatively sweet (i don't want it to be bone dry). most yeasts will normally ferment the sugars in juice RIGHT out, leaving it quite dry and thin. i endeavour to allow this cider a bit more body, and by using an ale yeast, should hopefully be able to. once this is done, it is kegged and carbonated and kept at a low serving temperature and left to mature and condition in the keg - then, with luck, it'll be a ripper!
13/04/14 - pitched today! didn't take long. boiled some water, squeezed some lemon juice, poured some apple and pear juice into the fermenter and combined the yeast and it was done in under 30 minutes. looking forward to sampling it as it ferments and see how the s04 yeast goes. fingers crossed.
14/04/14 - i pitched a fairly live and active starter (as seen below) of s-04, and checked today and had not seen any signs of fermentation! hopefully it hasn't stalled at all, as 24 hours with very little activity is kind of strange. i think i'm being way too impatient. regardless, i gave it a bit of a spin and whirled the fermenter around a bit, hopefully not adding too much oxygen. what i've done will either make it or break it. fingers crossed.
17/04/14 - so after the big old spin with a spoon, it looks like the yeast has woken up. a few days later and it's fermenting slow as shit, but is now at 1.030. it's moving at least. i'm happy for it to be slow, so long as we get some cider. i also realised i'd forgot the yeast nutrient so that adds another reason as to why it didn't kick off straight away. martin advised me it's probably just a mix of 1. adding dry yeast to starters which is usually a no-no, 2. having it incredibly out of date, which was the case, 3. stepping it up (not normally done with dry yeasts, and 4. adding it into a high fructose environment with little to no nutrient to work with. so i'm happy it is going, i'll be honest. fingers crossed again that she picks up and gets it down to about 1.010. a little bit higher and i'll still be happy.
19/04/14 - things are picking up! it's now down to 1.020 about 5 days or so (from when it actually started taking off on the 14th). still a ways to go but i'll be testing more regularly now to make sure it doesn't stop. am really hoping to get it to 1.010 if possible.
21/04/14 - ack...more s04 dramas. i don't think i'll be using this yeast again or at least hydrate and pitch it properly. the two times i've used it it just hasn't done well. the cider is again stalled at 1.020. i've increased the temperature in the fermenter to 20C and gave it another little swirl (no spoon). fingers crossed it gets a bit lower or i'll either have to add more yeast or just dump the thing, or just keg it as is which means it'll only be about 3% alcohol or somewhere around there.
22/04/14 - huzzah! she's moving again. tested this morning and definite signs of life! it's now down to 1.016 and looks like this increase in temperature has given it what it needs. will teach me to use this yeast at such a low temperature when it's not the most viable in future. all good. will taste again in a few days to see how far it's come and can hopefully keg it soon once it gets low enough. 1.010 would be the sweet spot!
24/04/14 - yay! it's now down to 1.010. i'm going to cold crash it here to put the yeast to sleep (which shouldn't be hard considering it conks out basically whenever it feels like it). this will keep some residual sweetness in the cider which is to my taste, and also give it slightly more body. it is now cold crashing and i'll be kegging it in a few days from there. very excited.
14/04/14 - still very sweet. no movement on the hydrometer.
16/05/14 - reports on this are that it's a nice basic cider. nothing flashy and crazy but it's a very easy-drinking thirst quencher. it's been kegged for a while now and will probably get better with aging but i daresay it will be drunk before this happens. so far, it's a success! a nice apple taste with slight hints of the pear and tea. i prefer this one over the last one that was made last year. definite improvement.
19/05/14 - mixed reviews and from the bottle, jenna wasn't a fan, but many have been from the tap. perhaps it just doesn't suit all tastes or they were being nice. i'm half way, don't mind it but know it's not going to win any awards.
brew day / beer pictures: