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Advice with first cider.

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Hyper.Intelligent.Fish

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Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I started my first batch of apple cider on Wednesday April 18. It was a bog easy recipe, more dipping my toe in the water rather than jumping in the deep end. Essentially it's a 3L bottle of juice, slightly emptied, pitched with some bakers yeast from the cupboard and sealed with a bung and "S" Airlock.

In my infinite wisdom I put the brew in a cupboard on the front porch to keep it out of the way of the missus.

The next few nights were quite cold, maybe down to 10 degrees C or so. I checked the brew periodically over the next few days, and the cupboard did have the odour of the fermenting juice, but the s lock never really bubbled, and shortly afterwards I noticed sediments settling to the bottom.

I brought the brew inside, hoping that the cold didn't kill the yeast, but the temp in the kitchen which hovers around the 20 degrees C mark didn't seem to improve it.

On Wednesday the 25th I put down another 3 batches, one apple with bakers yeast (replicating brew 1), one apple with champagne yeast, and one apple blackcurrent with champagne yeast. All four brews are now sitting next to each other in an old desk in my dining room.

The three newest batches are fermenting nicely, regular bubbles through the airlock and an active head on the juice, but my first batch doesn't seem to be doing anything. Any help or advice would be appreciated, apart from the advice that I shouldn't have used bakers yeast. I know that, but it was all I had at the time.

1) Would temps around the 10 degree mark kill off a yeast culture? Seems odd, especially since people refrigerate and store yeast in fridges colder than that.

2) Could I pitch in another packet of bakers yeast to kick start the process again?

3) Could I save the brew by decanting it into the other active bakers yeast brew in a larger jug?

Feel free to suggest tipping the whole thing out, but I'd rather do something constructive with it. It's a learning experience.

Thanks,

Fish.
 

adryargument

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Yeast sleeps/hibernates/mutates into a bear at low temperatures, will be fine.
Adding another yeast couldnt hurt. New packet, Yeast slurry - whatever.

I would suggest adding 2g a liter of MSG into each batch in future, then feed to the missus*.

*Note: do so at your own risk.
 

431neb

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The seal on your airlock may be imperfect. Sealing airlocks is always a hit and miss affair. I still use airlocks but I can see why many opt for glad wrap. I have often put a bit of packing tape over the bung hole in my fermenter lid and pricked a hole in it with a pin. These methods could perhaps be used with your juice bottles.

There's OZ tops too although I have never fermented such a small volume.
 

pk.sax

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That one might actually be done... Chilled it down and had a drink out of it yet?

Can't comment on baker's yeast mate. I use champagne yeast just coz it tolerates the cold so well.
 

Hyper.Intelligent.Fish

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practicalfool said:
That one might actually be done... Chilled it down and had a drink out of it yet?

Can't comment on baker's yeast mate. I use champagne yeast just coz it tolerates the cold so well.
You may have been bang on the money there. I took a sip off the top with a straw, and it's definitely fermented. I've drained a bit off the top and bottled it with 4g of brown sugar to prime. I'll give the rest a week and see how it goes.

If I get a bottle bomb, I'll know it hadn't finished.

If I do get around to getting a hydrometer, what sort of specific gravity reading should I be getting once fermentation is finished?

Thanks,
 

Aus_Rider_22

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Have you looked at or considered oztops.com.au ? Good way to start the cider/champagne brewing.
 

r055c0

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I'm in the middle of conducting essentially the same experiment but I have 1 straight apple juice and 1 with 80ml of soda stream raspberry flavour added and I'm using a coopers kit yeast. From what I have read it will go really dry so a hydrometer reading of below 1.005 is on the cards.

Edit: it's my first shot at cider
 

Hyper.Intelligent.Fish

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ro55c0 said:
I'm in the middle of conducting essentially the same experiment but I have 1 straight apple juice and 1 with 80ml of soda stream raspberry flavour added and I'm using a coopers kit yeast. From what I have read it will go really dry so a hydrometer reading of below 1.005 is on the cards.

Edit: it's my first shot at cider
I never thought of using the soda stream flavours in cider. I'm guessing that the sugar in the soda stream syrup will probably up the alcohol content of the batch. There's a chance that the yeast may kill itself in it's own alcohol before using all the sugar available. Look forward to hearing the results.
 

JDW81

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Hyper.Intelligent.Fish said:
what sort of specific gravity reading should I be getting once fermentation is finished?
Ciders can finish pretty low. I've had them down at 1.000 before.

I reckon you should grab a hydrometer ASAP. It is an essential piece of brewing kit, and can save you having to clean up exploded bottles, or worse, pulling shards of glass out of yourself/dog/cat/wife/children.

JD
 

TheOtherLeft

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I'm on my 4th batch using the OzTops which makes life easy as it uses the plastic juice bottle so no need to sterilise the bottle.

Apple juice (Aldi etc) works the best. I tried straight pear juice but it developed chunks and wifey said it tastes like "off" fruit juice.

I bought a hydrometer but wonder would a refractometer also work? Reading up on them in the Gear and Equipment thread they seem to waste less cider but have a problem with sugar/alcohol content. Can someone explain this please?
 

r055c0

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Hyper.Intelligent.Fish said:
I never thought of using the soda stream flavours in cider. I'm guessing that the sugar in the soda stream syrup will probably up the alcohol content of the batch. There's a chance that the yeast may kill itself in it's own alcohol before using all the sugar available. Look forward to hearing the results.
According to the nutritional info on the pack (link) 80ml of the syrup contains about 70g of sugar, an online calculator estimated 70g of sugar into 2L of water would have an SG of 1.0134. That coupled with the SG of the apple juice (1.050) gives me an OG of 1.063(ish), hopefully enough for 2g of yeast to handle.

The plain apple juice developed a pretty reasonable krausen but there hasn't been much movement in the flavoured one yet, I'm planning to bottle this weekend so will check gravity then and report back.
 

pk.sax

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Straight juice had gone to 0.999 for me before. If its at 1.002 and stays there I'm not too concerned either, just carb conservatively. Added sugars just make it harder to calculate fg. Actually honey is completely Fermentable and makes a big difference to the aftertaste so I like using that.

Besides that, I still say oztops are a top waste of money on yet another plastic brewing gimmick. Yes, you, you kitten chocker, airlock bubbling, shit advice giver. All you need to make cider exists in a bottle of juice off the shelf. (Even yeast, wild from the air works superbly, just a little exposure required, been there and done it a few times)
 

Airgead

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practicalfool said:
Besides that, I still say oztops are a top waste of money on yet another plastic brewing gimmick. Yes, you, you kitten chocker, airlock bubbling, shit advice giver. All you need to make cider exists in a bottle of juice off the shelf. (Even yeast, wild from the air works superbly, just a little exposure required, been there and done it a few times)
Ok... yes. Technically correct. But...

Yes wild yeast will ferment your brew. Wild yeast is however, a bit hit and miss. Often more miss than hit unless you are lucky with your local microflora. To get repeatability you need to be adding some known yeast. While I agree that oztops are unnecessary, they are one way to do that for small batches. An airlock and a packet of a good wine yeast from the LHBS is all you need. Actually... you can even drop the airlock and just cover the opening.

Bottled juice is also lacking a bunch of stuff you need to make a really great cider. Things like acid and tannin. It will make cider. And often better cider then the commercial lolly water but it won't make a "great" cider. For that you need to start adding stuff (or buy a juicer).

Cheers
Dave
 

Adr_0

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I'm about to do this myself, basically because it's been about 8 years since I've put a brew down and want to make sure my methods and sanitation are on the ball.

Hydrometer is an essential investment, no matter how small the volume.

I have had a starter for 4 days with Wyeast 4476 I think (the cider one anyway) and it went from 1045 to 1013, so surprisingly slow (I thought) for what I thought were good fermentation conditions (small volume, 20°C controlled). I always wonder about nutrients and yeast health with ciders, as the yeast has to battle with high acidity (potentially) and high alcohol, and basically fully attenuate. It's got a bucketload of sugars but I just don't know if it's a good environment for your normal ale strains, and certainly not for bakers yeast.

I will see how 4476 goes - at least with the starter topup I did last night ,the actual batch should start very quickly on Sunday - but most people use champagne yeast with great results. I would put a lot more confidence in a couple of packets of champagne yeast (rehydrated, then stirred) than a packet of bakers yeast - but there is nothing stopping you finishing with champagne. Except that you bottled already. Hmmm.

But, good on you for giving it a go - record what you did, and see what you are going to adjust next time and compare the results as always. :)
 

pk.sax

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Agree with you Dave, directed at the whole resurgent oztops thing, every time someone mentions fermenting in the bottle... Just lightly screw on the lid and its doing as much as the oztops do.

btw, yes, I think I did get lucky with the wild ferments. Incidentally, the houses I did that in had had plenty of beer fermented in so I suppose there was quite a bit floating around. I have yet to try adding malic acid to cider, perfect to do now since I've moved to perfect ambient cider brewing temps :)
 

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