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Old 12-01-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default My cider yeast won't start!!

I'd love a bit of advice for a cider that I started about 2 weeks ago whose SG (1.050) has not budged. I used 4 gallons of already pasteurized cider, combined with 1 can of apple juice from concentrate, and a 1 gallon starter that I had made a separate gallon of cider combined with yeast that I had previously washed and saved from my last cider brewing.
I had followed previous posts on yeast washing, and although the starter wasn't bubbling like crazy, it was active. I pitched everything, making sure to aerate it as it was going into the carboy, and then stuck it in my basement. The temperature there was about 65 degrees. After about 1 week, nothing was happening. I got worried, bought some dry ale yeast, rehydrated it in water at 105 degrees, and then pitched that. Then, I left for thanksgiving and dropped the temp in the house to 55 degrees. I got back and checked the SG today and found it at 1.050. It tastes sweet, and has no sour or bad tastes.

Before this post, I removed the airlock and covered it with aluminum foil and agitated it for 10 minutes. There was definitely carbonation with this. Current temperature is 63 degrees. I've replaced the airlock and am going to keep it a bit warmer, but I'd love any thoughts on what I've done wrong and how to not repeat this mistake in the future.

Thanks
N

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Old 12-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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Any possibility that your apple juice contained potassium sorbate or other preservatives? That would keep the yeast cells from reproducing.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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Oops-- you're right. Potassium sorbate in the cider. I guess I just need extra yeast then, right?

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Old 12-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateBrews View Post
Oops-- you're right. Potassium sorbate in the cider. I guess I just need extra yeast then, right?
Sorbate will prevent yeast reproduction. You're going to need a whole lot of extra yeast.

One option (if you have an extra fermenter) is to do a separate batch of ale or cider using a clean-fermenting yeast (like US-05 or Notty). When it finishes and you rack it off the cake, toss this cider on top of that cake. You'll have such an abundance of cells there that lack of reproduction won't be an issue.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:43 PM   #5
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i have fermented out a cider with potassium sorbate using a yeast cake as described above. it worked but tasted terrible. 6 months later it tasted just as terrible. after 9 months, i dumped it.

i'd start over with the right kind of cider. it isn't even worth screwing around with IMO

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Old 12-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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i have fermented out a cider with potassium sorbate using a yeast cake as described above. it worked but tasted terrible. 6 months later it tasted just as terrible. after 9 months, i dumped it.

i'd start over with the right kind of cider. it isn't even worth screwing around with IMO
I defer to the brewer who has "been there, done that" and got a nasty-tasting result.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NateBrews View Post
Oops-- you're right. Potassium sorbate in the cider. I guess I just need extra yeast then, right?
You could use this batch to back sweeten another, fermented batch.
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