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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Can I save my cider?
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:08 AM   #1
Colinater22
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Default Can I save my cider?

Hello, this is my first post, so bare with me if I screw up protocol or what not.

So about 5 weeks ago I started to make a hard cider. I let it sit in primary for 3 weeks then transferred to secondary. During transfer, I tested the gravity and it measured 1.000. I was confused, cause I knew it had fermented and couldnt understand how there would be NO alcohol after fermentation. So i threw some raisins in the secondary in hopes that in a week it would give me a sign of life or direction to go. Well i measured a week later, and still at zero. So i figured that i might as well add some more sugar and stir it up and hope that the remaining yeast would be enough to start fermenting again and time would fix my problem. Well the next day I asked a local brew shop why i had no alcohol (something i should have done earlier) and they informed me that I mis-used the hydrometer and that my cider was done. So here I am with a bucket full of sugary fermented cider. Is it salvageable or do I need admit defeat and start anew?

My last ditch effort is to add another packet of yeast and maybe another gallon of juice and let ferment again for a couple weeks. Bad idea?

Please help!

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:18 AM   #2
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Well, as you learned, the SG drops as fermentation occurs, since alcohol is lighter than sugar. So, having an SG of 1.000 or below means that fermentation is finished.

You may or may not have added too much sugar for your yeast to handle. You have a couple of choices- settle for a very sweet cider like you have now, or buy some champagne yeast and try to ferment the cider further. It might work, but it'll be "hot" like rocket fuel for a while. It'll age out, though, and be more like a white wine in a year or three.

How much sugar did you add to your cider after it was done, and what was the OG? Lastly, what is the SG now? Our advice can be more specific if we know where you are now, and what the approximate ABV is.

In general, at this point if you want to re-start fermentation, I'd suggest champagne yeast. If it were me, I'd start by rehydrating it. Then, I'd make a starter by adding some apple juice along with a tiny bit of your cider. I'd do that again, and add more of your cider a little at a time over the course of a day or two, to make sure it's going well and then put it into your cider. The reason to do it gradually is because alcohol toxicity will kill the yeast before they can ferment, if you add it all at once. This may work and take your cider dry, but it may be very "hot" for a long time afterwards, depending on how much sugar you added.

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:26 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for responding!

It's a 3 gallon batch. I added about 3/4 cups brown sugar. The gravity was 1.020 at that time. I bought some yeast thinking pitching more was my only real option.

To think, I did cider cause I wanted to do something quick and easy one day.

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Colinater22 View Post
Thanks so much for responding!

It's a 3 gallon batch. I added about 3/4 cups brown sugar. The gravity was 1.020 at that time. I bought some yeast thinking pitching more was my only real option.

To think, I did cider cause I wanted to do something quick and easy one day.
3/4 cup of brown sugar isn't much, so that shouldn't be a problem. I'm surpised it's very sweet, but at 1.020, it would be. I didn't know how much sugar you added- it could have been 6 pounds for all I knew! What was the SG at the very beginning of fermentation?

Have you checked the SG again since you checked it when you added the sugar and had it at 1.020?
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:39 AM   #5
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I'd just let the ferment continue with out picthing more yeast. It is close to being done if you consider 1.010 done.

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:55 AM   #6
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I just checked the SG and it's just under 1.010. So it may not be dead, it just looks dead. The taste is less foul than it was before too. My only concern now would be the clarity, which is very cloudy now.

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Old 11-30-2009, 03:00 AM   #7
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I just checked the SG and it's just under 1.010. So it may not be dead, it just looks dead. The taste is less foul than it was before too. My only concern now would be the clarity, which is very cloudy now.
That's good! That means it's still fermenting, and you don't have to add more yeast. So, all is well.

Once it's done fermenting, it'll clear up just fine. Cover it with a towel or blanket and don't even look at it for at least two weeks. By then, it should be finished up and starting to clear.
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:11 AM   #8
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Awesome! Thank so much for the help!

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