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Old 02-07-2013, 01:23 PM   #11
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I get a thin film sometimes also. It is also sometimes accompanied by a sort of 'milky way' swirl in it. I've never had an infection on any of my batches before so I can only assume that maybe it comes with long term aging. (although it's not there all of the time)

Someone else might be able to weigh in, but I think you should be fine. I typically leave it alone on the top and then rack from underneath it.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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One question, though. In the last week or two, the cider has developed a thin film on the top of it, with a few tiny white bubbles in it. Is this normal? I gave the cider a good swirl and it seemed to dissipate. I didn't notice any odors or off flavors, but I just want to make sure I don't have a bacteria infection or anything going on there that I don't want.

Thanks again for everyone's help!
No, that's bad news! Is it completely topped up? It sounds like it's not and you're developing an infection. A "milky film" would probably be lactobacillus.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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Are you going for sparkling cider or still? Also what abv were you looking for? I like to make a sparkling cider when I only have one type of apple usually get a sg of 1.06-1.065....let if go till I hit 1.015-1.020....then cold crash this as around 5.5 to 6.5 abv cold crash 5 days rack. Still let it sit 5 more days bottle. Pasteurize then store or drink it gives a light fruity flavor with a kick.

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Old 02-07-2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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I get a thin film sometimes also. It is also sometimes accompanied by a sort of 'milky way' swirl in it. I've never had an infection on any of my batches before so I can only assume that maybe it comes with long term aging. (although it's not there all of the time)

Someone else might be able to weigh in, but I think you should be fine. I typically leave it alone on the top and then rack from underneath it.
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No, that's bad news! Is it completely topped up? It sounds like it's not and you're developing an infection. A "milky film" would probably be lactobacillus.
Uh oh! Well, it's been sealed in a glass carboy with a rubber stopper and an airlock, though I've removed the airlock maybe two or three times for a quick smell. I just flushed out the airlock when I tasted it and filled it with some fresh water. I've heard that vodka does a good job of keeping out bacteria, but I don't have any at the moment.

What should I do then? Should I rack it out from under the film and use a new sanitized airlock? Cold crash it?

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Are you going for sparkling cider or still? Also what abv were you looking for? I like to make a sparkling cider when I only have one type of apple usually get a sg of 1.06-1.065....let if go till I hit 1.015-1.020....then cold crash this as around 5.5 to 6.5 abv cold crash 5 days rack. Still let it sit 5 more days bottle. Pasteurize then store or drink it gives a light fruity flavor with a kick.
Thanks for the tips! I'm probably going to leave this one still. I don't really know what to expect ABV-wise, since I neglected to take any specific gravity readings, but I'll be sure to measure next time. I think if I can get 5 or 6 percent without using sugar, I'll be happy.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:32 PM   #15
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What should I do then? Should I rack it out from under the film and use a new sanitized airlock?
Yes, rack carefully into a smaller carboy if you have one. Having too much headspace is a common culprit of 'skin' on cider. Dosing it with sulfites can also help prevent/minimize any negative results.

If you don't have a smaller carboy, you may want to bottle now and have it age in the bottle as opposed to the carboy. This way you can pasteurize the bottles and kill the infection for sure if you desire.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #16
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Unfortunately I don't have a smaller carboy... I'm using a 3 gal carboy right now, and it looks like I actually only have about 1 1/2 gal of cider in there (some loss from racking and tasting), so plenty of headroom.

I do, however, have a couple of growlers and a large spiced rum bottle I can use. I'm a bit hesitant to bottle... I wasn't planning on bottling this batch, and I haven't done bottle pasteurization before. I'll try the growlers and see how it goes.

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Old 02-07-2013, 07:47 PM   #17
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A couple more pictures, showing the film and bubbles forming on top. Since I had swirled it around, the film is kind of broken up now, and doesn't cover the whole top any more. Plus, now some of the bubbles are on the side of the carboy.

I haven't really done any looking yet, but thought I'd ask: I don't have an airlock stopper that fits the rum bottle; is there a good make-shift solution that works well? I think I've read about people using balloons or other materials rubberbanded to the bottle...

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Old 02-07-2013, 08:42 PM   #18
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hmmm...yah mine never looks like that. I guess mine is more of a 'sheen' on the top and not really a layer. I think LeBreton might have had the best suggestion. Bottle it and then pasteurize it to kill any nasties if you want to age it for any longer. If not, just cold crash it and drink it up as quick as you can since it's only a 1 gallon batch.

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Old 02-07-2013, 11:19 PM   #19
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Pickled_Pepper, thanks. Good to know what I'm dealing with here.

I went ahead and racked into the growlers. As an experiment, I swirled the last bit, including the remaining sediment (not much left) and the layer of film on the top, and poured it into the rum jug just to see what happens with it.

Regarding cold crashing, is it possible to put the growlers in the fridge for a few days, then pull them out and continue to let them age, or possibly let them age in the fridge, in order to prevent further bacteria growth?

Thanks again everyone for your help!

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Old 02-08-2013, 10:51 PM   #20
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When you pull them out of the fridge if there's an infection, it will kick back up and so will the yeast. You are going to have to bottle it and pasteurize if you want to make sure everything is completely dead.

Who knows, it might not have been an infection at all. But if it were mine, I'd crash it, drink it, sanitize everything and then start another batch as soon as possible.

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