Apple cider

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Apple cider

Postby Oddwookiee » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:31 pm

So a good friend of mine and I are going to put up some apple cider this year. We have very easy access to a ton of amazing apples of a whole slew of varieties (Willamette Valley in Oregon is an amazing area for produce of all kinds) within close proximity, so the hardest part (in my opinion) is covered.

Here's the problem- neither one of us owns a press, and all the presses I've seen are brutally expensive ($400 US for a new one, for a good model) and we're both doing this on a budget. We've been looking around for a while, hoping to find an old forgotten press in somebody's barn for cheap (the screw & collar is really all we need, we can build the rest) but no luck.

I have access to a 7.5 hp full-size meat grinder, so the plan is to figure out an apple blend we like and run a few hundred pounds through the 3/8" coarse plate to pulp and press from there. Any suggestions on an improvised press would be very helpful. Worst case, I'll break down and buy a good press, but I *really* don't want to.
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Postby DiggingDogFarm » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:49 pm

How much do you plan to make?


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Postby Oddwookiee » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:17 am

Between the two of us, lots. If a few friends we know gt in on it with us, over a hundred gallons for sure.
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Postby DiggingDogFarm » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:33 am

Any cider mills or winemakers in the area that do custom pressing?
That's how it's often done around here.

Or build your own....
http://www.whizbangcider.com/

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Postby vagreys » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:18 am

If you go to the orchards that offer fresh-pressed cider, you may be able to get raw or pasteurized unfiltered cider. Don't trust to whatever wild yeast was present on the skins - that way lies Russian Roulette. Pick a moderate alcohol yeast, because unfiltered cider fermentations can be wildly vigorous, resulting in ciders as dry as Death Valley. If the yeast goes dormant at moderate alcohol levels, some residual sugar will remain, giving a nice fruit balance. Ciders are deceptively challenging, but can be rewarding. Good luck with it.
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Postby mitchamus » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:19 am

I think you will over heat your meat grinder if you try and use it for long periods....

A cheap electric wood shredder is you best bet in place of a proper Scratter.

If you have some cheese cloth, some plywood, and some spare 2x4's, you can make a simple frame with the 2x4's and use a bottle jack from a car to make a fairly decent press.

obviously the cloth is used to make the cheese(es),
the plywood goes between cheeses in the stack....
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Postby Snags » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:55 am

I have a wine press too far and too heavy to lend it to you
My uncle made it 30 or 40 years ago
Basically a cork screw on a bases surrounded by a leaking wooden slatted barrel.

http://theitascan.com/images/press300.jpg

I think they bought the threaded centre but just welded the rest from flat metal and it has 2 inch gal water pipes for legs.

You could something similar using a bottle jack instead of the thread.
...........................................................
found this for you hope it helps

http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Home_ ... ine_press/
yet to take the plunge still researching
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Postby Oddwookiee » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:53 pm

For the life of me, I didn't think to look up plans. I feel like an idiot, that's exactly what Im looking for, thank you! I'm not by any means a woodworker, but I can follow directions like a champ.

I don't plan on making all hard cider, I prefer to make mostly sweet. I inherited from my grandmother a bunch of mason jars, and once word got around to her 6 sisters and all of their families the whole clan unloaded their old canning jars and stuff on m,e so I have lots & lots to work with. I'm thinking of canning most of it for sweet cider and worrying about fermenting later.
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:00 am

Using a food processor to make just FIVE gallons is a royal pain in the neck. You can probably find a place that would rent you a press. I also like cider when it is only partially fermented, but you will need an airlock. Mason jars will turn into granades ... If you leave the lid partially closed the cider will foam over and eventually oxidize. You may want to consider freezing down the semi-sweet cider in plastic jugs.
In my experience even a low-alcohol yeast strain will make a dry cider.
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Postby Dogfish » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:59 pm

The whizbang press seems to be the go-to at home plan on the net. It's pretty easy to eyeball the plans.

This site: http://www.kevinkossowan.com has a ton of information on cider. He's based in Edmonton. The typical thing to do for crushing is setting up a garberator for the apples and spitting it all into buckets. Apparently there's not much issue with overheating or anything.

Vagreys is right: wild yeast dries stuff right out and has too much gas.

I'm getting ready for next fall. Should be fun.
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Re: Apple cider

Postby BriCan » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:55 am

Oddwookiee wrote:Here's the problem- neither one of us owns a press, and all the presses I've seen are brutally expensive ($400 US for a new one, for a good model) and we're both doing this on a budget. We've been looking around for a while, hoping to find an old forgotten press in somebody's barn for cheap (the screw & collar is really all we need, we can build the rest) but no luck.


If you did not mind the drive as you are five hours away from me there are these around

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rds/f ... 76565.html

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/bnc/g ... 79701.html

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/van/f ... 22505.html

and my daughter was just down there in your neck of the woods (driving)
:)
But what do I know
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Postby mitchamus » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:16 pm

If you go for one of the older style wine/grape bucket type presses -

These work more efficiently if you use the 'cheese and rack' method inside it.

it's a bit more effort though...
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Postby mitchamus » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:23 pm

I was just thinking about this -

You could probably re-purpose a bearing press or mechanics press if you can't be bothered making something.

you can but new ones fairly cheap:

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-ton-a-f ... -1667.html

If you went halves with your buddy - that's only $70 each.

Of course your would tell your wife it was $30 each :)
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Postby Oddwookiee » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:24 am

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm down to either making a press (definite summer project) or jiggering that metal press to work. It'll depend on how much time I have to play around with it this summer before hunting season sucks up all my free time. Either one looks like it would work quite well, but the wooden one has a certain charm to it :)

I had an interesting thought this weekend. We had a guest from the east coast in town for a week to visit my girlfriend, so we showed her around. One of our stops was the Tillamook Cheese factory in Tillamook (check it out, they've been winning international cheddar awards for a long time now) and we stopped there for ice cream after touring the plant. I noticed they sell the used ice cream buckets (looked about 3 gallons each) for $.50 per bucket & lid. I can press cider and just freeze it right then and there, and then mess with it after hunting season is over.
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