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Old 10-26-2010, 06:14 AM   #1
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Default Apple cider with preservatives - is there anything I can do?

Hello, I'm new here. I've been wanting to get into homebrewing/cider making for a while and am just finally getting started. Unfortunately, I've run into a newbie problem before I can even begin.

I recently visited an apple orchard and bought a gallon of cider, but just now noticed that it says "preservatives added" on the label. I don't know what type of preservatives were used -- it's my understanding that ascorbic acid is fine, but potassium sorbate is not. According to the nutrition label, each jug (I bought 2 half gallon jugs) contains 135mg of potassium (as well as 60mg of sodium and 30g of sugar), so I'm afraid they may have used potassium sorbate.

Is there any way I can ferment this?
If I boil the cider first, would that help to neutralize the preservatives?
I have a pack of Wyeast 4766 and the packaging says there's enough for 5 gallons of cider. Since I only intend to ferment 1 gallon, would I be able to "overpower" the preservatives by using all of the yeast?

I'm hoping that I'll still be able to use the cider I already have, even if it's not ideal...

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Old 10-26-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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You could try. Sorbate inhibits yeast from multiplying - so theoretically, if you pitched enough yeast, you could ferment the juice. But, I wouldn't do it. Think about it - preservatives are added to juice to preserve it, i.e. keep it from fermenting. Even if the you did get it to ferment somehow, the yeast would probably be stressed and probably would throw off-flavors or other flaws.

I'd enjoy the juice as it is - good, fresh juice is always a pleasure. Then get some juice without preservatives to make a cider. Of course, this is just my two cents.

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Old 10-26-2010, 04:29 PM   #3
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As a beginner, you should probably do what Pappy says and get more cider. Although it can be done, it's not desirable. Even experts refuse to ferment preserved juice, and only when forced at gunpoint do they take the extra steps to ferment the preserved cider.

However, I think it's odd that it doesn't list what kind of preservatives. As you said, citric acid is fine, and also potassium metabisulfite. If it were one of those two, you can hit the ground running and make a great cider.

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Old 10-26-2010, 06:10 PM   #4
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The all-time best apple drink is your cider heated in a pot with some mulling spice, then spiked with a good oak-aged whiskey and served punch-style. I'm not being a smartass... I'm dead serious.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:31 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot for your replies. It looks like I'll need to take a trip to another orchard and, in the meantime, will be drinking some non-alcoholic cider (although that mulling spice/whiskey punch sounds good too).

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Old 10-27-2010, 10:54 PM   #6
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i just made graff with cider that contained potassium sorbate... i just made a starter for about 12 hours till it was going nuts and pitched it... started right up and went down to about 1.005

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