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Old 09-09-2010, 12:13 PM   #1
martyr13
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Default Cider: How long to begin fermentation

I pressed 5 gallons of cider with my new hand-built cider press. I decided to take my chances and not use the campden tablets. I hydrated one packet of champagne yeast and pitched it to the 62 degree cider, and aerated it for a couple of minutes. It's been about twelve hours and I haven't seen any fermentation activity. My beer always begins to ferment overnight. Does cider take longer to begin fermenting? If I don't see any activity in the airlock. When would be a good time to take a gravity reading to see if there's been a change (.042 OG)?

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Old 09-09-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
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at 62 degrees it will take a little longer to start, but should be going in 24 to 48 hrs

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Old 09-09-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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Thanks. It was 62 degrees when I pitched it, because I was outside, and it looks like fall is coming to Michigan early, but the ambient temp in the basement is about 70 degrees, and that's about how warm the cider is now. If I don't see any activity by tomorrow, should I be worried?

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Old 09-09-2010, 01:27 PM   #4
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if it goes 48hrs at 70F, you might want to repitch
when I pitch, I sprinkle about a third of the packet at a time on the surface of the cider, so that it spreads out and rehydrates evenly. When the first third rehydrates and sinks, pitch the 2nd third, followed by 3rd. When the last third sinks, give the carboy a shake. I've never had a bad start using that method

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Old 09-09-2010, 02:12 PM   #5
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Hopefully it'll git goin here soon enough, but if it doesn't, I'll try your direct pitch method.

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:01 PM   #6
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I don't use campden either. However to avoid worrying too much I make sure I pitch an active starter. Cuts down the lag time.

However I also use the method for clarification described on the breton cidermaking page at jim's beer kit which involves letting the soft cider sit minus yeast for 24 -48 hours then racking from under the foam and crust that forms and then pitching the starter. I have always assumed that at least some of this foam and crust was due to natural fermentation but when I add my active starter, the yeast I add will be in high enough numbers to dominate. My theory only, no scientific evidence or measurement to offer.

Seems to work for me.

Active starter can simply be a litre or so of store bought, preserve free juice, shaken about with yeast nutrient and the yeast of choice. Active when you see foaming on top or (because foaming krausen can be short lived or not happen at all) when you can see production of carbon dioxide occurring. Bottles I use are clear.

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