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Old 11-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #1
lrice648
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Default Did I possibly ruin my cider - update

Hi everyone, I just started my second ever batch of cider and I'm trying to decide how badly I messed up, and if there is any way to tell/do anything about it.

I sterilized everything really well I'm pretty sure (better than batch 1 back in the summer that went great), but when I was removing the airlock to take the lid off and siphon the cider into my bottling bucket, I think some of the water from the airlock got splashed into the cider. I wasn't 100% sure, there was still water in the airlock but it looked a little less. Worse, I don't think I used sterilizer in the airlock (I didn't the first batch either, I didn't even think about it, I had meant to do it this time around but it slipped my mind). If I didn't remember to do sterilizer it would have been city tap water.

I made the cider at a friends house since I have neither the room nor temperatures to do it well, and I couldn't stay around so not knowing what else to do I went ahead and bottled it (maybe a bad idea). Is there any way to tell if its going bad at this point? If it is, what can I do about it? I've read people saying to unrack it and put camden tablets in it.

I'm carbonating it in the bottles, so I added priming sugar to it, and no extra yeast (the last batch carbonated nicely with just the leftover yeast). If I have to unrack it and sterilize, could I add more yeast again when I bottle it or would I be better off trying to force carbonate or something? (I have a friend that has a carbonator, but it wasn't available and I was very limited in my free time to finish the cider up).

Thanks for the help.

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Old 11-18-2011, 05:58 PM   #2
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It'll be perfectly fine. People have dropped worse things than a few drops of water into unfermented wort, let alone post fermented cider.

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Old 11-18-2011, 06:37 PM   #3
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Whew, that takes a load off my mind. I'm still probably going to take a look at it and maybe crack one open (it was delicious still, but I like carbonated better) and see how it is after a couple weeks.

If I wasted 5 gallons I would be very sad, its all homemade cider from very unique apple trees and even though we've made hundreds of gallons over the last few years, this was a bad apple year and 5 gallons would be a pretty big loss ;-)

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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one of the first ciders I ever made I cold crashed without racking first. I put the primary carboy right in the fridge with a blowoff tube going into a powerade bottle full of tap water. When the temp of the cider dropped, the volume decreases, and it sucked back a bunch of nasty old tap water into the cider. There were even flies in the water (i didnt know they where there until the water was gone).

I panicked, but in the end it didnt get infected. Obviously we all want to minimize contamination risks. but the reality is that the chance of ruining a batch due to infection is pretty minor.

Dont do anything. your bottles will carbonate, and chances are it will be fine. I would test one every now and then though.

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Old 11-18-2011, 08:15 PM   #5
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If you'd like an official taste tester, feel free to ship me half your batch and i'll "take one for the team" and try them for you

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Old 11-23-2011, 02:21 AM   #6
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So, a couple worries:

a) When I got the bottles out to look at them, there was a bunch of stuff down at the bottom. Attached picture of bottle (hope you can tell what it is). A quick google seems to say this is not uncommon, but I didn't see any pictures that quite matched. Comments? I didn't look at my last batch at this time, but there is definitely less sediment in the aged bottles (around 5 months old I guess at this point). Hoping its not flesh eating bacteria since I did drink some.


b) It was much more carbonated than I expected, making me think maybe it still had slightly more sugar than my first batch did. It had quit bubbling for a while when I bottled it, but since I wasn't near it daily I couldn't check on it much. It didn't taste sweet at all to me, but when I cracked a bottle open just now (its been bottled approx 1.5 weeks) it came pouring out all over me. Is this natural during the carbonation process or am I on my way to some bottle-bombs? I used the exact same priming sugar and amt as last time in the same amount of cider, but I put in a quart of honey during primary fermentation to add extra kick to it (which seemed to work handily).

It seemed like the stuff at the bottom, when it mixed in, caused it to foam up hugely, not that it was just that carbonated. Has anyone ever experienced this?

If by chance it is getting too carbonated, what can I do? Bottle pasturize? Fridge?

Thanks again for indulging my paranoia.

imag0111.jpg  
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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The sediment on the bottom of the bottle is just yeast. Just pour carefully when you get to the bottom.

What SG did you bottle at? What yeast did you use? That can help to figure out whether you have potential bombs on your hands. Any time you don't pasteurize there is a risk o you may want to uncap and recap your bottles just to be safe.

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Old 11-23-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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I'm ashamed to say I didn't actually check the SG. The "recipe" I was going from didn't really mention anything about that, and I didn't start reading about checking it until I started posting here (which was after bottling it).

I did not add any extra yeast after fermentation, but the yeast I used was champagne yeast I believe, I don't have any extra around so for the specific brand I would have to go back to the brewer supply store.

Would it help to measure the SG now or does it only help to compare it?

Thanks

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Old 11-23-2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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Champagne yeast is typically pretty cold resistant. It will definitely slow down in the fridge but I would expect it to slowly keep fermenting all the way to dryness if left long enough.

How big is your batch? Did you allow it to ferment to completely? How much priming sugar did you use? Most places suggest around 200-300g for a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 11-25-2011, 03:39 AM   #10
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Sorry I didn't reply sooner, was off the grid for a bit. The batch is 5 gallons or a little less (the gallons were never full so they would freeze without exploding). I used a bag of dextrose in the 200-300 gram range, it was supposed to be for 5 gallons (and its the same amount I used before).

The batch fermented for 4 weeks. My first batch stopped bubbling after 3 weeks, but I left it for another week, which resulted in it being very dry and taking quite a while to carbonate (after 3 weeks it was not really very carbonated at all, but by 4+ it was getting pretty good - it seems to still be carbonating very slightly since a 22oz bottle I cracked today bubbled over ever so slightly, but until now none of batch 1 ever did that).

It reminds me of shaking up a bottle of soda and opening it, which made me kind of hope that it is just going through a process during carbonation as the CO2 is dissolving in the cider. The 12oz from batch 2 overflowed pretty generously though when I opened it which might be a bad sign. I have all my bottles in buckets just in case, but I'd rather re-bottle than lose any.

Is rebottling my best option if bottle-bombs seem imminent? Besides sterilizing new caps is there anything I have to do besides waste as little as possible?

Thanks again

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