Equipment

The Cider shed is a 18mt x 6mt single story building which houses the Scratter, Press and fermenting barrels.  The washing table lives outside the shed.

Scratter and Sorting TableThe original scratter body is made from solid oak with a sycamore drum studded with stainless steel screws.  It did a fair job of crushing the apples to give the pomace required, it did jam occasionally hence the poking stick lying on top.  I decided to purchase a “Fruit Shark”, this being a commercial unit made in the Czech Republic.  This gives a wonderful pomace allowing more juice to be extracted from the press.

 

 

 

Here is the view looking down the shute onto the Sycamore drum.

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the  “Fruit Shark” –  It’s not without its problems despite doing a wonderful job of mashing up the apples.  The bin that collects the pomace (not in this photograph) is woefully small and requires emptying at regular intervals.  I intend to cut off the lower horizontal parts of the legs and extend them in height and width to accomodate a standard waste bin.  I have eight bins which I fill with pomace and leave overnight before pressing the next day.  

Another issue is the open ends on the deflector plate.  When the pomace is thrown out of the Shark a proportion is fired out of the right hand side (looking from the front) due to the centrifugal action of the spinning blade.  I am going to have this corrected by welding a baffle to this end. 

The motor casing is in Farari Red, very expensive because it’s for the car, the original powder coating was peeling off due to rust. 

 

 

  

The press is constructed with rectangular box section steel.  Using it for the first time revealed a couple of design flaws which required strengthening.  The compression comes from a pneumatic 20 ton vehicle jack.  This works well but is very heavy.  I shall be looking to produce a new press using a hydraulic jack lifting from below, like the Voran Presses.  More expense!

#

#

#

The press has been strengthened and a new detachable set of legs with wheels for easy manoverability have been fitted.  They need painting as you can see from the rust!  Having wheels on makes it easy to wheel outside for pressure washing at the end of the day.

#

#

#

#

#

#

The fermentation takes placed in 220Lt HPDE barrels standing on Harcostar water butt stands. The tag you can see hanging off the lid fixing band is to identify the barrel, when a barrel is racked the tag follows it, handy way of keeping tabs on which is which! I did a fair bit of research on whether the blue coloration of the HPDE would be a problem and the consensus was not. The cider does not appear to pick up any colour or flavour that I can discern.

I purchased the barrels from Smiths of the Forest of Dean Ltd – very helpful people to deal with.#

#

#

#

#

You will notice from the photographs that I use plastic “Hozelok” fittings on everything; to date they have proved very successful.

#

#

#

#

#

 

The airlock fits inside a small length of clear PVC tube which is heated over steam to stretch over the Hozelok fitting before screwing down the back collar.

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

On the left side of the barrel lid is another tap, the same as fitted to the bottom of the barrel, this allows me to attach my CO2 supply for purging the barrels of air. When I purge a barrel I connect the CO2, open the tank valve (regulator set right down to a couple of psi) and lid valve and remove the airlock. Air in the barrel is replaced by CO2, close valves and replace airlock. This is very useful if you cannot fill a barrel and have a large airspace, particularly when fermentation has slowed or stopped.

#

#

#

When I come to bottle, I pump the cider from the bottom tap of the fermenting barrel up to the 5 gallon fermenter with bottling stick, suspended from the ceiling. I remove the airlock and blow CO2 in as I pump, when I have finished pumping I stop the CO2 and replace the airlock. This minimises the ciders contact with air. Before pumping and bottling I run 5 gallons of cleaning solution from the bottling vessel through the delivery pipes then connect to mains water for a couple of minutes to clear all the cleaning/sterilising fluid out.

#

#

#

#

The pump, which runs from 12VDC,  is made by Shurflo and is designed for fresh water delivery into a pressurised container, when the tap is opened the pump senses the pressure drop and pumps to replace the water used. I am working on a method to incorporate this into an automatic bottle filling system.

Comments are closed.