Send Me Questions For Tomorrow’s Show — 64 Comments

  1. How long does one gallon cider take?

    Why are tannins important in brewing?

    How much sugar is too much and will cause the yeast too much trouble to get started.

    How do I fix q stuck brew?

    How can you tell if fermentation is done if the original concoction is cloudy? (Cloudy before yeast was added. Eg. Good organic cider)

    Thanks Jack!!

    • Jonathan,
      A typical Cider takes about 2 weeks to fully ferment, it can happen a lot faster or slower depending on yeast viability, yeast amount, oxygen levels, nutrient levels and mostly temperature. Best guess 1 week to 1 month per batch.
      For most Ale and wine yeasts 68 F or 20 degrees Celsius is when yeast are happiest typically work best (not fastest). Colder temps will slow down the yeast and warmer will speed up the process. Trying to get your yeast to hurry up at 78 F isn’t the smartest idea, because it will usually produce off-flavors, esters, and sometimes a “Hot” alcohol taste.
      Tannins can make thin tasting drinks have more body and/or mouthfeel. They are important to red wine, if you ever noticed a red wine that is light and watery, it was probably fermented without the skins or without added tannins (think of a Rose’).
      Sugar additions will basically just increase the alcohol content, but too much can make your beverage too “Hot” tasting (think of a bad vodka or whiskey). Too much sugar could inhibit a yeast that isn’t prepared to hand high levels of alcohol and could cause it to stop or stick.
      Really the best way to “fix” a stuck brew is to make sure conditions are right at the start of fermentation. A lot of Oxygen prior to pitching yeast, good amounts viable hydrated (awake) yeast, nutrients for yeast to survive, and good stable temperatures for yeast to work. If a brew sticks, one of those was likely not right prior to the start of the brew, or they ABV may be too high. To fix it sometimes it just takes time. Maybe yeast nutrient if it is a mead, change the temperature possibly, or add a new stronger yeast? It really depends on what’s causing the stuck fermentation.
      Sometimes fermentation will clear up cloudy cider even if it is cloudy prior to fermentation. The yeast will get in there and eat all of that stuff up and cause it to drop out of suspension. You could also add Irish moss/Whilfloc. Heat the Irish moss/Whirlflock up to sanitize use some of the cider or just water, mix it up and pour it into the cider when you are ready to oxygenate. Then just shake the heck out of it and it will cause the cloudiness to fade with time.
      Cloudiness doesn’t indicate whether a fermentation is done or not, but when the yeast are active they are stirring up everything in that must/wort. The only way to really know its done fermenting is with a Gravity test on consecutive days. When the gravity stops dropping then its done fermenting. But honestly if you wait until about 3-4 days after the bubbling stops you should be ok. 2-4 weeks is ideal for fermentation at this level of brewing.

  2. Jack,
    How are you dealing/thoughts on the Federal statue on limiting home brewing to 200 gal/2 adult household/yr? Puts a damper on the 1 gallon of mead per day.

    Detail: I am in a similar situation of making wine in 5 gal batches and some are experimental. I do not keep records nor tell how much I make, so it is consumed and “filtered” down the drain about every 6mo. The link below says beer, but the federal code details all the definitions, this link was for everyone listening as it also includes all the states rules. Personally I think it is BS, and the ruling state you can make more than 200 gal/yr if you simply pay taxes on it. Again BS. (Side note, I do not plan on complying)

    • Um I said a gallon a week, not a day, that is 52 gallons.

      Then let me just say unless you are selling stuff, no one really cares in general. The limit really had the purpose of getting the law passed to allow home brewing once again back in the 70s.

    • I misheard, as you say, was busy doing other things and only caught part of it. I didn’t think it was enforced unless like you say, selling.

  3. What colour glass is most effective at blocking sunlight for keeping our brews in ??
    In your brewing shows you mentioned brown or green glass bottles help keep a brew in a better condition as it protects against sunlight. I just can’t remember which colour it was you mentioned.
    I’m currently using plastic 500 ml coke bottles for short term storage but will be using budwiser bottles for longer term storage as I have a pretty endless free supply.

  4. Michael Jordan’s original post referred to filtering the mead. I haven’t seen anything about filtering in my (limited) experience brewing beer. What was Michael referring to, especially in the small batches?

  5. I just downloaded the first show, and haven’t listened to it yet, but since you posted asking for questions I have two, if they were covered in the other show, feel free to ignore.
    First, I’m curious about the different yeasts. i was told to get champagne yest, but when I searched I found wine yeast. covering the subtleties of the different kinds of yeast would be helpful.
    Second, I’m curious how much CO2 is generated by fermenting a gallon or two? Any value in putting them in a small green house or indoor garden to make use of the CO2?

    Thanks, eager to get started!

  6. How long can your cider sit in the primary fermentor if away on business?
    Will it be bad for my cider if it finishes fermenting but I am not there until a week later(or longer) to bottle?

    What are your thoughts on mixing/combining yeasts?

    Thanks Jack!
    p.s. I would love to see a Jack’s Dead Simple Ciders, Meads, and Fruit Wines Recipe/Cookbook!

    • Ryan,
      Your Ciders can sit in primary fermenters for months! I have let beers and ciders sit in fermenters for 4-6 months with no issues.

      You can mix yeasts, though one is likely to dominate. but go ahead it won’t hurt it…

  7. I am curious about the presents of methanol in these ferments. Particularly, as in the case of making apple jack from hard cider, does methanols concentration become a problem? I know it’s removed during distillation but I assume it remains after freezing.

    Thanks, handle is “deleted” in the msb

  8. Hi! I loved that show, and have probably listened to it 3-4 times. My Dad and I had made beer from a kit and I had even gone to a couple of beer making workshops. This is so much easier, and with your explanations, I understand what we were doing and why a lot better, too. Thanks so much! My husband and I are moving into a new home, soon, and we will now have a basement with just a couple of fluorescent lights, heated to 60-65. Is this warm enough for fermentation? Will the fluorescent light damage beer/mead/cider the way sunlight would?

    • Helen,
      Most Ciders and meads are ideal at about 20 degrees Celsius which is 68 F, but are ok around plus or minus 10 degrees F.
      Here’s what happens, when its colder the fermentation will occur slower than at 68 and when its warmer the fermentation will occur faster. More esters tend to be produced at warmer temps which can be good or bad depending on what you want from the yeast. I personally love fermenting beer at lower temps because it makes it cleaner in taste. If its right around 60 F then try a California Common, Cream ale, or Alt Beer Yeast. Though most German ale yeasts ferment easily at cool temps. Wine yeasts tend to not like a lot of cold.

      Yes, any light can affect the beer, wine, cider, mead but sunlight has the worst effect. If the light is constantly on wrap it in a blanket or towel except for the airlock. If the light is only on from time to time when you are in the basement then its nothing to worry about.

      • Rick,
        What effect will light have on ciders and meads? I’ve got mine sitting on the kitchen counter, not too far from a window, so pretty much get daylight all day.

        • You don’t want Sunlight to hit your cider, it will skunk it. Wrap up the bottle with a towel or something else opaque.

  9. What is the best temp to keep them at while they ferment? How long does one gallon take to ferment? What are some of the most affordable places to get your yeast, airlocks, and sanitizers? Thanks for all you do Jack!

  10. Can you use bread yeast?
    No, I’m not underage, just curious if everything can be purchased at the local grocery store.

    Committed to both cider and mead, and got three different yeasts to try for each. Thanks for the great episode! Might even make the 1 gal a week challenge!

    • Robin,
      You can use bread yeast, but it is not designed for brewing the levels of alcohol we are talking about. It will probably stop early, but it probably would work.

      • Actually a lot of shiners use bread yeast as it is cheap and works pretty fast. It can generally get up to about 12%, so it ain’t Cuvee or Champagne levels but plenty good enough for most ciders.

        Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead is a big hit with a lot of people and it is made with bread yeast, we discuss this in todays show.

        • You know I made Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead about 6 years ago and forgot that I used bread yeast. It was the first mead I ever did.
          Sure use it.

  11. Wanted to know if you want to run a video series on brewing mead.

    That the 30 min mead in a coffee pot is a two hour class. to talk about all the yeasts used, the four different time to add ad-junks, water’s, types of honey. filtering, and even if you boil the honey (caramelizing) does all kind of things to the same recipe.

  12. I have seen that some people put raisins in as a yeast nutrients. Will this change the flavor any? Or will it just help with fermentation.

  13. Plastic vs. glass fermentation vessels

    Pasteurized must vs. raw

    Yeast pitching rates and reusing yeast from previous ferments.

    • Plastic is fine for shorter fermentations, like 1-3 months or less. Anything longer than that should probably be fermented in glass. Meads I prefer to do in glass, because they are better if aged.

      Heat pasteurized must is perfect, potassium sorbate pasteurization means no yeast fermentation.
      If you get raw cider with nothing, you need to pasteurize it with Campden tabs or heat.
      You can just let it ferment on its own, but your results could be interesting tasting…

      For 1 gallon don’t get too picky on yeast rates for 5-10% ABV ½ to a packet of dry yeast rehydrated will be fine.
      If your previous batch of yeast made a good batch of drink they use it again, just pour the must right on top…or pour the yeast, but watch for contamination. This is why glass is better, just putting a new batch on top is easy, with plastic I would worry a bit about doing multiple batches in a container.

  14. How do you know if it’s ready or needs time to rest? What does it do to the taste? Do you let it rest at room temp or in a fridge?

    Thank you!

  15. Great topic, Jack. My question and some historic goodies are in your inbox. The two cards are from my grandparents’ recipe box. They are gone now, but their legacy lives on each time we make a batch of wine, cider or mead.

    I shelved my carboys earlier this year for some family issues, but with all of these posts, I am getting the hankering to make some mead. After all, I have 20 pounds of local honey hanging about, and my beekeeper friend was disappointed I did not get my big order this year…..small batches for the win? Heck yes!

  16. Matthew K, yeast needs a good 55 to 80 degrees F to ferment. I try to keep mine around 65 to 70 degrees. Living in MN, I HAVE to put heating pads on my carboys to keep that temp in that range. If you put it in the fridge, you will slow or stop the fermentation process. Nothing is worse than seeing that process stop and having to pitch more yeast!

    229Mick, the some of the CO2 remains in the wine. I have never done a small batch like this, but some will be there as a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. I am not sure enough CO2 will be generated to make that much of a difference; however, your spouse or significant other might appreciate keeping your fermentation in another place. It does let off an odor as part of the process.

    • Tom,
      Thank you for the reply, but I was asking if you need to refrigerate the batch while it’s “resting”. I get that it needs to be at room temp during it’s 4ish week fermentation. Or are you saying that it’s still fermenting while it’s resting for X months and needs to be left out because of that?

      • Once you put it in the fridge you are kind of setting the batch. first it cold crashes then it is staying as what you are going to get for a while.
        If you want to age it, please feel free, especially if it’s in glass. watch out because plastic is somewhat breathable. If it is high alcohol then aging it will make it better usually. Especially if it ferments fast and tastes Hot.

  17. How long do you leave your cider to age?

    When your cider is done, do you bottle it into new bottles or leave it in the original gallon bottle? Do you add sugar to carbonate it?

    I’m in Australia. Juice doesn’t come in gallons, it comes in 1.5, 2 or 2.4L bottles. Water doesn’t come in Gallon batches either. I have converted the gallon and pounds of water:honey ratio to litres and kilograms but would like you to also run the numbers to see if I’m about right.

    A list of books you recommend?

    Ever thought about distilling? I make vodka from sugar based washes, thinking it is probably too expensive to run mead through the still, but what about cider?

  18. Is it possible to make boil the alcohol out of the mead for those of us that can’t have alcohol? I’d love to try it or even have a really tasty IPA (I know you said you were kind of sick of them) but man I sure miss the taste of a good one.


  19. What is the difference between a mead, wine, and cider?

    What about different types of beers and wines

    • James,
      I am not really sure what you are asking here. Mead is made with Honey, wine is typically made with grape juice/must, cider is made with apples. There are numerous other ways to add and change these definitions but that is pretty standard.
      For Beers look up BJCP styles, and spend a day or 3 learning them all?

  20. Good year in Maine for apples and pears. My neighbor and I collected 6000 pounds of apples and pears, and processed 350 gallons of various wine, ciders and meads. We had so many apples, I invited the guys at work over for a pressing party. 35 gallons in 1.5 hours. Yummy!

  21. How do sulfates get into wine etc? Are they created during the fermentation process or added later? My wife may be allergic to them and I am wondering if by brewing my own I can avoid them.

    • Nick,
      Sulfates are added to most wines, they do not occur naturally in alcoholic beverages. They Kill or inhibit yeast from fermenting.

  22. I want to back sweeten my cider when done and store in a 1 gallon container in the fridge. Do I need to worry about it fermenting again and a broken bottle? How long will it keep?

    • John
      If you put it right into the fridge after fermentation, and back sweeten, then it should be cold enough to not ferment in the bottle (bottle condition). It still can but probably not enough to break the bottle. It will keep a long time sealed tight in glass, I wouldn’t store long term in plastic.
      And make sure you take it off the yeast.

  23. TSP Cider
    Can I use beer and or wine yeast in my cider and grape juice to make good tasting product? What are your thoughts on types of yeast?

    Jack I went to my local brewing supply store and they had about 20 different types of yeast. Some for wine, cider, champagne and beer. I am interested in making the cider and grape juice suggestions you talked about in your pod cast, but unsure of what types of yeast to use.

    I would like to experiment with bottle apple juice, white and regular grape juice and maybe cranberry juice.

    • Any yeast will work fine Steve…My favorite is Mangrove Jack Cider yeast. But I have made some killer ciders with Ale and wine yeasts. Do some experimenting or look on the forum for suggestions.

  24. Jack, you’re fermenting the same juice I am! Anyway, the Dead Simple Cider episode was awesome and I think you just got me back into wine making/vinting.

    QUESTION: Why hardly any foam in my containers? I’ve seen foam like 2 or 3 inches deep in ferm buckets before. Mine have less than 1/2 inch of clear foam and it disappears and then comes back. Is it just because the lack of pulp and whatnot that my other batches have had? Added only corn sugar, yeast, tannin, and pectic enzyme (and raspberry to one, that one’s not foaming). Temp is pretty constant, 68ish. Intermittent artificial light. Thoughts?

    I made apple wine years ago from apples I got from my dad’s apple tree and thought it was fun, interesting and the wine was awesome. For whatever reason, I stopped.

    The other day, I heard that episode and thought, “what the hell, I’m going to get some apple juice tonight and do it.” I never really thought anyone could do this with store-bought juice and pressing apple juice from a hundred pounds of apples (WITHOUT an apple press) is hard and time-consuming, maybe that’s why it’s hard to get myself to start a batch!

    I making two gallons right now, one straight apple and one apple-raspberry. They’re on their sixth day so they should be close to finishing. I am starting a third tonight. My yeast, I think it’s Cuvee, says it’ll go to like 19% alcohol so I am going to push it just to try it.

    Great show Jack!!!

  25. How does one go about making a ginger beer? Or a cider with a ginger adjunct?

    Thanks for the inspiration to get several batches going!

  26. Great show topic! Love it. Just wanted to add if making a batch of cider and dont like it for whatever reason, allow it to turn into vinegar. Very useful homestead and prepper thing to have on hand. Maybe add a bit of purchased raw ACV as a starter, and let it ferment.

  27. Can you make cider from frozen concentrate as long as just juice.
    I know it is easy to just use bottle of juice and yeast but might be able to get a concentrate of a juice you can’t find in a bottle without the preservatives.

  28. More of a beer question, but does it do any harm to let a batch sit he primary fermenter longer than fermentation time (like two or three months)?

    • Not as long as it is in good fermenting conditions (not too hot or cold)
      I made 20 gallons then deployed to Afghanistan and was away for 8 months. Bottled them up with no secondary or anything, and won multiple awards for my Belgian Tripel. Higher alcohol stores better.

  29. My main question is about bottle conditioning to achieve carbonation in my cider. I don’t have a kegerator setup, nor do I have a soda stream, so this would be the only way I can make a sparkling cider.

    Should I wait until fermentation is complete and add a little sugar before bottling, or cold crash when fermentation is almost complete to clarify the cider and then bottle, allowing the remaining fermentation to carbonate the cider? What else do I need to know about bottle conditioning that I am too ignorant to even know that I need to ask the question?

    Thanks to your show, I currently have 5 gallons of apple cider going, as well as 2 gallons of mead and 3 gallons of various fruit wines.

  30. Yeasts! Specifically, the finer points of using wet bread yeast for basic ciders and country wines. I’ve read about it in all sorts of places, but it’s usually really vague. Reculturing barm would also be interesting.

  31. I have 6 gallons fermenting right now with different amounts of sugar added. Jack I want to add concentrated pasteurized cherry juice. What amount would you try as a base line pre ferment?. Different batch how much would you try to add post ferment?

    Just trying to get a baseline to start from and I can adjust from there. These are 1 gallon batches.

    Thanks Jack!

  32. Jack,
    Not specifically a question, but I’d find it helpful if you could do a basic outline in text form of the recipes. I listened to the show, and got 90% of it, but there’s so much info, it would be nice to be able to look at something that said whether or not to proof the yeast, whether or not to add sugar, etc for specific “recipes”/types of cider vs. mead vs ciser, etc. It’s hard for me to answer easy questions from audio. This info is probably all easily available online, but it would be a nice adjunct for your shows, even if you just linked to it.

  33. Hey Jack,

    Your episode finally got me to try brewing! I’m doing apple cider and two questions.

    How do you make it a bit sweeter and carbonated? Add extra sugar and cold crash after a week so that all the sugar isn’t eaten up? Back sweeten after carbonated? Not going for wine cooler sweet, but away from dry cider.

    The perfect closet in my house to brew also stores the dog food. The dog food is in a sealed Tupperware bin, but gets opened for feeding and can leave some dog food smell behind for a bit. Is it okay to brew in there?

    Sorry third question, can you use unfiltered apple juice? Should you or is filtered better?

    Thanks again!

  34. Jack, with all this talk of fermenting, there are going to be millions of poor overworked yeast laying around dormant…don’t throw them out, REUSE them in a batch of “skeeter pee!” Google the term, but basically skeeter pee is hard lemonade (fermented on the sediment mostly yeast on vacation)! Enjoy! And be forewarned, there is almost a cult following of this stuff! And it’s EASY.

  35. An egg question. What can I do for long term storage for my excess eggs……besides feeding them to my dog or eating the layer hens. 🙂