Friday, 21 December 2012

Testing the cider

I've made the cider, I've racked the cider, and today I've tested the cider.  To do this I arranged some time in a lab, but you can do this at home if you have the parts:

  • Hotplate,
  • Pyrex beaker,
  • Mercury thermometer,
  • 100cc cylinder, graduated by 1cc increments,
  • Clamp stand
Measure out 100cc of the cider using the cylinder, transfer it into the beaker, pop that onto the hotplate.  Stand the thermometer in the cider, using the clamp stand to ensure that the bulb of the thermometer is near to the bottom of the beaker but not quite touching it.  Heat it to 72ÂșC for a couple minutes until it's steaming nicely then take it off the heat and wait for the steam to stop.  You wait for the steam to stop in order to get an accurate measurement.  Once it isn't steaming any more, put it back into the measuring cylinder and read the volume.  We will call this new measurement X.  

  100 minus X = your percent ABV
100 - 92 (my X value) = 8% ABV

I also tested it at a lower temperature to gauge the methanol content and judged it to be less than half a percent.  I used Benedict's solution to test for aldehydes (formed when ethanol goes off) and found none of the characteristic orange sludge which appears in a positive test.  

It tasted largely of rhubarb.  Very sharp, but not too sharp.  I think next week we'll be good to go!

In other news: that arum has grown since it moved to its new home.  It seems to have settled in quite nicely :)

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