Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cider and Brewing Equipment

A while back I knocked up a 20L batch of Cider (hard cider for you US-based folks). I used Berry Apple & Pear juice as the base, pitched the yeast directly into it and then let it ferment out to very dry over about five days. Took it off the yeast and kegged 18L in a s/s cornie keg and left it under the stairs for nearly a month.

Now, normally after it's kegged and gassed, you'd consume it relatively quickly, but I had a problem: How to chill the bastard down to serving temp. My mate said bottle it up in 2L bottles and stick them in the fridge. But that missed the point. If I couldn't serve cider, chilled from the keg, how could I possibly do that with beer? (The real problem)

So, the cider sat and I cogitated. Now, it so happens that I have a couple of 27L circular eskies and one of them, I'd played around with, modifying this and that for it's use as a mash tun. I had long ago retired it from that use and had re-tasked it as a rubbish bin. The other one is regularly used as a chiller for cans of beer at bbq's and parties.

But, I got to thinking and started tinkering and after a while, I took the redundant beer line I had in the brewery and made a plastic coil inside the redundant esky. Why not? For slow pouring it should work? But just to make sure, having proven the concept for myself, I bit the bullet and bought 12m of 12.7mm dia. stainless steel tubing. Trouble is it came in two pieces, each 6m long. Yet, a 20cm coil diameter, the two were just too tall for the esky assembly. I knew I should have got them bent into 25cm dia. coils...

Thus, a 6m s/s coil plus the beer line, gives me a drink reserve of just over 2L = 4x500ml serves, or 7x300ml serves. Not bad, but not great either. Oh, and it takes about 5 min to chill the beer to a comfortable temp: esky - coils - water - ice - tap - glass. Problem solved, except I now had to give it a real run, and needed something to serve.

Cider! I've got cider under the stairs in a keg! Great Stuff, time to try it out. Hope it ain't dead... Oh, and it was lovely. Everything works, no leaks, and the cider is lovely. It's primarily flat, with a light spritz the tingles the tongue, and crystal clear. Very easy to drink, no belly full of gas, and no headache the next morning - the body's a bit sluggish, but no headache.

Cider. Ready in five days. Carbonate it or leave it flat. And easy to serve - now.

Until next time,

It's Your Shout, Mate!

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