Barrel platform: We used 4 pallets so that the bottom of the barrel is above the top of a carboy on the floor. Using a reciprocating saw and 2 x 4’s we cut rounded wedges to fit the curve of the barrel lying on its side. The keg was placed on the pallets. The wedges were fitted to the barrel and nailed to the pallets.
Noticeable fermentation started within 2 hours. A blow off tube was needed for the first 30 days.
We divided the batch when it got down to 1.020 as some folks like it sweet. Those of us who prefer it dry are finishing it with WLP715 Champagne Yeast.
Most locals here do not pasteurize. They prefer natural spontaneous fermentation. We prefer WLP775!
O.G. 1.120. F.G. stop it where you please.
1 vial WLP775 English Cider Yeast
50 gallons untreated cider
30 lbs honey
50 lbs light brown sugar
20 oz yeast nutrient
1 - 50 gallon oak bourbon barrel
5 gallons local cider, straight from the press. Heat to 170 deg F. Hold for 20 min. Cool and pitch yeast.
1 week later...
Agitate the 5 gallon starter and transfer into the barrel.
Collect 45 gallons of cider from a local orchard. Heat-pasteurize the cider, honey and sugar as noted above. This helps to dissolve the sugar also. We did this in several stages with 15 gallon kegs. Aerate by splashing a few gallons at a time into food grade or fermenting buckets. Transfer to the barrel. Add yeast nutrient. Stir the mixture well with the handle of a brewing spoon.
Start on Columbus Day. It will be clear and ready for a Memorial Day lobster and clam bake!