Cider Making


Temperature is one of the many important variables in cider making, as much as patience. It’s been a week since I started fermenting my first fruit juice. It wasn’t apple juice though, it was fresh grapefruit juice from our own urban orchard.

I put the juice in the primary fermentation bucket and I took it to the basement. Then I got some juice from a cider mill in Astigarraga and I put about 3 gallons in a larger fermentation bucket.

I’ve been checking the grapefruit juice during this week. It still smells nice and fresh, it seems to be generating some Co2 and fermentation is starting slowly (not enough to see bubbles in the airlock yet). I didn’t use any additional yeast, just some grapefruit skin and crab apples, assuming they could help natural fermentation.

Regarding to the apple juice, it’s been only few days since I stored it, but I believe things are going faster because the juice seemed to start fermenting at about 70 °F in the carboy before I racked it to the bucket.

Winter is coming. Temperatures have dropped down quickly. Snow is already at 2600 ft. and it’s expected to get cooler in the coming days. The temperature in the basement is between 60 and 65 °F . I’ve read that it should be fine for apple juice, and that it might even slow down the fermentation a little, which is supposed to be good for cider.

On the other hand, I am not sure if it’s OK for grapefruit wine, which seems to need a higher temperature. BTW, I didn’t have the chance to measure specific gravity since I’m waiting to receive my hydrometer.

Just in case, I’ve moved the grapefruit juice to a warmer area at home, around 70 °F. I’ve decided to be patient and keep my principles of course, so I won’t add any yeast to any of my cider experiments. And since it’s said that patience is the one of the most important variables in cider making, I will wait a few more weeks hopping to see bubbles greeting from the airlock soon.

Would you share your experience? What temperature do you ferment at?

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