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Old 11-15-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
dean_wales
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Default Cider woes!

Hello,

I am a British Westcountry cider making seeking help from our friends in the USA. It's seems crazy but you guys seem to know more about the technical side of making cider than the more *ahem* farmhouse *ahem* types around here!

I crushed and pressed a whole load of eating apple and got about 10 Gallons (45 litres) of juice. I hit it with cambden to sanitize and pectolase to clear and left it overnight.

That juice then got one sachet of Nottingham yeast per FV and went under the stairs at about 17c.

It took a week to start fermenting and then went crazy for a week and fermented out.

BUT IT ABSOLUTELY STANK TO HIGH HEAVEN OF ROTTEN EGGS! I WOULD GAG IF I SMELT OR TASTED IT.

I left it for a week and there was no change. Stinky stinky.

I read it may be down to nutrient issues and that CO2 can drive it off. So when I came accorss some more apples recently I juiced them up ensured they had plenty of nutrient added and blended them with the fermenting cider (2 parts stinky to 1 part fresh). I also poured it all from a height to aerate when blending.

So I am going to give that a couple of days before I start thinking about copper addtions etc.

I may just throw a piece of copper pipe into one FV now? What do you reckon.

Under the massess of sulphur I reckon it would be a nice cider so am keen to save the 70 litres I have!

I have CO2 that I can use if needed but would like to try something else first.

Dean.

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Old 11-15-2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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Hi,
You are correct in thinking that it was a nutrient issue, but the yeast might have been stressed due to low pitch rate, I use 1 packet of Nottingham on 5 gallons of cider, the 10 gallon batch required 2 packets hydrated properly.

You don't make any reference to a hydrometer or any gravity readings, did you start out with just the juice from the apples, or did you bring the SG up with sugar prior to fermenting?

One thing that I wouldn't have done is to add the fresh juice to the problematic cider, this could have masked the underlying issues.

Splash racking would have been my first attempt at fixing this, if this doesn't fix it, try can try the copper, personally, I might purchase Redulees, I've fixed a few batches of wine that started to get a "rotten egg" smell, it is as easy as pitching it into the wine/cider, waiting 3-5 days and racking off of it into a clean carboy.

Since you've added more juice to the original batch, I would get more yeast and try to restart fermentation, the biggest issue is that we don't know if it fermented to dry, or if the fermentation is stuck, there are two different ways that I would approach this depending on if it is stuck or fermented to dry, in this case to about 1.010 for Nottingham.

So to recap:

Did you take gravity readings?
Did you adjust the SG (with sugar prior to fermenting)
Is the fermentation stuck or fermented dry?
Do you have more yeast? Can you get EC-1118 in case it is stuck?
Can you get Redulees and Fermaid K?
Has the smell improved?
Does it taste ok?

Sorry for being so long winded, and playing "20 questions" this info is important to make a decision on what steps to take next.

The good news is that it may be salvageable.
I look forward to your reply,
Tom

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Old 11-15-2013, 11:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the super swift reply - I am in need of cider SOS here :-)

The original juice lacked acidity and depth so I was looking to add soem more anyway, sulfur or not. I hope that it may help clear it up though as a side benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkinman2012 View Post
So to recap:

Did you take gravity readings? Yes - Initial juice was 1.042 and fermented to 1.004. The fresh juice was higher at 1.054. Obviously the current mix will be somewhere in between.

Did you adjust the SG (with sugar prior to fermenting) No sugar added. I would prefer something with lower ABV and to be more drinkable.

Is the fermentation stuck or fermented dry? It fermented dry, but presumable#y will now get underway again - only been 12 hours since blending.

Do you have more yeast? Can you get EC-1118 in case it is stuck? I could get more yeast but having already added 1 sachet of Nottingham per 5 gallon FV it is already adding up. I have one sachet of generic wine yeast in the cupboard.

Can you get Redulees and Fermaid K? No - not seen them in the UK sorry!

Has the smell improved? After the splashy racking/blending it is virtually unchanged. Maybe slightly less.

Does it taste ok? It tastes like a nice cider that has been mixed 50/50 with eggs!!
Fingers crossed we can fix it. I have been washing champagne bottles all week in anticipation!

Dean.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkinman2012 View Post
Hi,
You are correct in thinking that it was a nutrient issue, but the yeast might have been stressed due to low pitch rate, I use 1 packet of Nottingham on 5 gallons of cider, the 10 gallon batch required 2 packets hydrated properly.

You don't make any reference to a hydrometer or any gravity readings, did you start out with just the juice from the apples, or did you bring the SG up with sugar prior to fermenting?

One thing that I wouldn't have done is to add the fresh juice to the problematic cider, this could have masked the underlying issues.

Splash racking would have been my first attempt at fixing this, if this doesn't fix it, try can try the copper, personally, I might purchase Redulees, I've fixed a few batches of wine that started to get a "rotten egg" smell, it is as easy as pitching it into the wine/cider, waiting 3-5 days and racking off of it into a clean carboy.

Since you've added more juice to the original batch, I would get more yeast and try to restart fermentation, the biggest issue is that we don't know if it fermented to dry, or if the fermentation is stuck, there are two different ways that I would approach this depending on if it is stuck or fermented to dry, in this case to about 1.010 for Nottingham.

So to recap:

Did you take gravity readings?
Did you adjust the SG (with sugar prior to fermenting)
Is the fermentation stuck or fermented dry?
Do you have more yeast? Can you get EC-1118 in case it is stuck?
Can you get Redulees and Fermaid K?
Has the smell improved?
Does it taste ok?

Sorry for being so long winded, and playing "20 questions" this info is important to make a decision on what steps to take next.

The good news is that it may be salvageable.
I look forward to your reply,
Tom
Do you mean that you think Nottingham will run out at 1.010? We've never had cider stop above 1.000, but never used Nottingham until this batch (still fermenting). Just curious if that's what you meant.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #5
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A strong sulphur small (rotting eggs) is pretty normal for cider. Give it time, it'll dissipate. Before you added more juice you were pretty much done fermenting - 1.004 is close to finished for a cider. A bit of yeast nutrient (which I know for a fact is available in the UK; Fermaid K is simply a brand-name) may help finish things off. Nottingham should finish at or below 1.000. My current batch of cider, fermented with notty, finished at 0.998.

Bryan

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Old 11-15-2013, 12:42 PM   #6
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Nottingham usually will stop around 1.010 unless you start with a low sg, this is verified by Danstar/Lallemand as well.
I usually bring my sg up to 1.070 and Nottingham usually brings it in the area of 1.010
I recommended fermaid not for the brand name, but due to the fact that cider unlike beer is not nutrient rich and fermaid k is a much more complete nutrient, not packed full of DAP as other nutrients, Fermaid O is even a better choice.
Cider does in fact usually have stinky fermentations, but not because that "is just how it is", it is due to the lack of nutrients resulting in stressed yeast.
Being proactive about this will make a better cider, you almost need to approach cider like making a wine.

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Old 11-15-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
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I have to agree w/ pumpkinman. My Nottingham usually quits around 1.010-1.006, but I use brown sugar (unfermentables).

I have used copper in the past to reduce/eliminate odor. The key is to NOT toss copper in the fermentor, but rather let the cider flow past the copper along a racking tube. I insert a copper wire in the racking tube, insuring that a large portion of the cider comes into contact with it as the cider flows. Maximum contact with minimum exposure to the air.

Hope you can save your cider, and I'm flattered you "came across the pond" for advice! :-)

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Old 11-16-2013, 03:09 AM   #8
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Hydrogen Sulfide smell and removing it ...
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/do-i...ml#post3457241

(note however that the comment there about brett does not apply to your cider, you are having an issue with hydrogen sulfide ... low nutrient musts like apple juice are notorious for H2S production under certain conditions and with certain yeasts)

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