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Old 09-27-2012, 09:37 PM   #1
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Default The cider I got has yeast killers... any hope?

I was excited about the local orchard's cider, saw on the website it was pasteurized, and they go into detail about the heat treatment. I was like, cool, I won't have to worry about killing the wild buggers, they took care of it for me.

So I bought 4 gallons (at $8/each), and made some graff on Saturday. I put it on the yeast cake left behind by a mild made with Nottingham. I expected a big blow off.

Nothing.

So I looked at the jug, and it says it may have up to 1/10th of 1% of Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate. Grr...

I'm a bit confused on my gravities. My OG was measured at 1.051. 4 days later, it was 1.062 (I stirred it up, I'm thinking this explains the increase). Yesterday and today, it was steady at 1.058, so I'm thinking that's what it actually is, and that it hasn't fermented at all.

I have two courses of action-
1- It still tastes good. Add a bottle of whiskey, and keg it, and just don't worry about fermenting it.
2- Keep trying things to get it to ferment.

So if I do the 2nd, what is my best shot? I have fresh yeast, a stir plate, and patience. Any suggestions?

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Old 09-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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Anyone have any experience resurrecting yeast in a situation like this?

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Old 09-28-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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Good news: Potassium sorbate won't kill your yeast, only keep it from multiplying.

Bad news: Sodium benzoate will go all jack the ripper on your fermentation.

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:18 AM   #4
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I'd say this batch is plain, old juice. It really bites when you get told one thing and the producer is doing something else.

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:14 AM   #5
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I'm thinking I may make a big old yeast starter with fresh, untreated juice, and dump that in. Maybe that will help. It can't really hurt, right?

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:25 AM   #6
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I was doing some reading up after this (I am a biology nerd) and the benzoate can actually even destroy mitochondrial DNA (tested in yeast none the less). The only way I see it working is if you manage to dilute the concentration below some critical point. It can't hurt but I also think it can't really help. This is all aside from the fact that benzoate can be highly toxic to human cells as well (i.e. the ones inside you when you drink it) Its being phased out heavily across the board do to health concerns.

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Old 09-29-2012, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofgrok View Post
I was doing some reading up after this (I am a biology nerd) and the benzoate can actually even destroy mitochondrial DNA (tested in yeast none the less). The only way I see it working is if you manage to dilute the concentration below some critical point. It can't hurt but I also think it can't really help. This is all aside from the fact that benzoate can be highly toxic to human cells as well (i.e. the ones inside you when you drink it) Its being phased out heavily across the board do to health concerns.
Well... I guess I'll believe the biology nerd. I'll go find a handle or so of bourbon or whiskey, and keg it up. Not ideal, but not a lost cause.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #8
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James, sorry man- you got double-crossed by the orchard! However, READ MY LIPS; YOU WILL NOT SALVAGE THAT GRAFF!!!!!!! You will only sink more cash into a batch that is invariably DOOMED. Your only way out is to use it as cloudy yeasty apple juice, or as the other guy suggested-add some distilled liquor and keg it up.(Actually, in the long run that idea sounds very tasty and inebriating.) In the future my suggestion would be ( Note that i brew Hard Cider exclusively.) purchasing a few QUALITY gallons of crystal-clear super-market apple juice- The only ingredients other than juice, juice concentrate and purified water should be Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Ascorbic Acid is technically considered a yeast nutrient and will enhance fermentation.

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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Thanks, Moondawg. I poured in a handle of rum and a few hundred mL of Everclear. Should have gone stronger... it still tastes like juice.

Gotta say though... I never would have bottled this... I love kegging!

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Some stuff I've made: Odell's 90 Shilling Clone, Abbey Weiss Pottsville Common, Simple Mead, Dry Dock Apricot Blonde Clone, Rye IPA, Maibock, Scrapper's Quaffable Irish Red, Short Sleep Blueberry Ale, Lazy Magnolia Pecan Nut Brown Ale Clone, Graff, Apfelwein, Cascades Orange Pale, Orfy's Mild Ale, Vagabond Gingered Ale
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