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Old 03-13-2008, 12:49 AM   #1
AKSE
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Default Can't get cider (Apfelwein) to ferment! Other questions...

Hello everyone.

Yesterday I started my first ever (first time brewing anything) batch of Apfelwein, but used Flavorite Apple Cider instead. The only difference in the Cider vs. the juice, was that the juice contained Applejuice concentrate/Water/Ascorbic Acid where as the Cider contained only Applejuice concentrate/Water, so I chose to purchase the cider even though ascorbic acid is nothing to worry about. However, neither the Juice nor the Cider had in writing 'no preservatives' but if there were preservatives, wouldn't they be listed in the ingredients?

So I am using 2 gal. buckets for carboys, with corks/tubing/airlock. In each 2gal bucket I mixed 2 gallons of cider, 1 pound of light brown sugar, and then when it was all thoroughly mixed and dissolved, i added half a packet (2.5grams) of Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast. In one i just added the yeast in with the last few cups of cider, it didn't really dissolve much but floated around suspended in the cider for a good while. The other batch I warmed some of the cider/sugar up and then mostly dissolved the yeast in it before dumping it all into the bucket.

They have been made airtight and have airlocks but I haven't noticed any bubbling or change at all in them. I was under the impression that when you start fermenting, it is instantanious and you very soon should see some Co2 action. The things that I have come up with are:

1. My cider was fairly cold when I added the yeast to it, probably 40 to maybe 60*F at the highest. Can cold temperatures kill yeast?

2. Even though there was nothing but Applejuice concentrate/water in the ingredients, could I have possibly gotten one with preservatives?

3. Could my buckets not be airtight? I checked to see if they were airtght, and if i suck through my air-lock tube on the top of the buckets, it takes a great deal of force to pull any air through any leaks there might be, and even so its much easier for the gas to push the water down, than to force it's way out cracks?

Thank you so much if you take the time to read this, I'm really anxious to start experimenting with cider brewing, but I'm off to a rough start!

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Old 03-13-2008, 12:58 AM   #2
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My Apfelwein took three days to start fermenting with Red Star Champagne. It also started out pretty chilly. Not a single bubble on days 1 or 2. No worries!

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Old 03-13-2008, 08:04 AM   #3
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Perhaps a little yeast energizer would help?

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Old 03-13-2008, 08:25 AM   #4
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How did you make your buckets airtight? I'm wondering because I have a problem w/ my 4 gallon buckets not being airtight.

To your question... I would make sure that your temps stay above 55 degrees and below 75. However, I would take out a couple cups of the juice and heat it in the microwave until it is lukewarm, add yeast(if you have more) and cover with plasticwrap for 2 hours, then add it back to your juice. This creates a very quick starting fermentation and gets the ball rolling.
If you dont have more yeast, put it right next to a vent that will warm it. You must keep the temp up.
Thats all I have.

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Old 03-13-2008, 11:52 AM   #5
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Don't worry about it! Ideally, you would have pitched the yeast when the must was closer to 80 degrees (champagne yeast really likes warm temperatures) as well as a whole package of yeast in each batch. The instructions say to use one package for up to 5 gallons, but you can use a whole package for even one gallon with good results.

So, just wait. Stir it up to aerate a bit today, stirring it really hard, and keep it warm. It should take off.

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Old 03-13-2008, 08:58 PM   #6
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I use a champagne yeast and it takes a full 72 hours before bubbling activity begins. But once it begins it is very lively...

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Old 03-14-2008, 07:24 AM   #7
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Okay, it's been two days since I pitched the yeast and I do have fermentation started! It looks at the rate that it's going, my airlock should start bubbling away this weekend. I guess it takes a few days atleast to get fermentation started in most cases? Next time I'm deffinitly going to dissolve my yeast in warm water before pitching.

Should I open my buckets and stire the yeast/cider? Or just let it be?

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Old 03-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #8
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I have read and heard more then a few say to keep fermentation temperatures below 60-65 F.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cider

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Old 03-18-2008, 03:45 PM   #9
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When I started mine, I had it at 67F and it took off after 4 days - used Red Star Montrachet and almost repitched.

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