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Old 08-10-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
TheE
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Default Growth on top of the cider...any suggestions?

As this is the first time making cider I need a little help.
My friend and I made a 20 liter batch of cider from fresh apples. Around 50-60 kilo in a press, a couple of hours hard work. We added it to a 25 liter demijan, and added potassium metabisulphite. We let it rest for a bit and a growth started on top. So I moved everything out, cleaned and sanitized the demijan added 150 ppm of potassium metabisulphite and after a day some more growth. Now I am thinking of pasteurizing it and trying again. Does anybody have any idea what it could be and any suggestions to help save all that hard work, and tasty cider, would be appreciated.
Thanks

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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is it a foamy sticky felt-like brown cake floating on top? if so, that's normal. or is it a thin crackly film, like a lactobacillus pellicle? that's not normal, but it's hard to tell from the pictures. if it's the brown mat, which i suspect it is, you can either punch it or stir it back down (it tends to re-form), skim it off with a sanitized spoon, rack the juice out from underneath it, or ignore it completely. it's hard to remove it from a narrow mouth vessel like yours obviously. if you leave it alone, it will mostly dissipate with fermentation, but there are 2 problems from my experience, 1- you get a huge foam-up when the yeast start fermenting, and 2. as it gets pushed up some of that stuff sticks to the sides at the top of the carboy and i actually had it get moldy once, so i try to remove it by soaking a paper towel in iodophor and carefully wiping away what i can after the foam of fermentation subsides a bit. in my opinion the best option is to let the juice rest a couple days in a bucket or pot after pressing, and either let the bulk of fermentation take place in there before racking to a smaller airlocked carboy (you would have to get rid of that airspace), or siphon the juice from under the cap before fermenting (you wouldn't have to get rid of the airspace). but i'm curious as to what others think. good luck with it, i think it will be fine

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. Its a thin white wrinkly layer. Also this is before I pitched my yeast. These new pictures should be a bit clearer. I was thinking of siphoning most of the juice (leaving the thin layer) and essentially treating it like wort, heating it up and adding my yeast starter to start fermentation with a known yeast.

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:45 AM   #4
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oh yeah, that's much more pellicley than i thought from the first pics! i'm out of my depth, never had anything like that!

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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You could try racking from under the pellicle and using another 100 ppm of k-meta to try to get rid of the infection. But it doesn't look good at all.

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Old 08-10-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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That's a heck of an infection for only one day! If 150ppm didn't stop it then pasteurizing may be your only option along with more Kmeta. When picking a yeast look for a 'killer' yeast strain like EC-1118 which will out compete other bacteria in the juice and limit the chance of this re-occurring.

Also, cleaning/sanitizing your pressing equipment in the future may prevent this.

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Old 08-10-2012, 03:44 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Update so far: I siphoned beneath the infection, pasteurized the cider (70 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes), cleaned and sanitized the fermentor, and added another 100 ppm of meta.
LeBreton, I'll take your advice and definitely clean and sanitize the pressing equipment.
I'll update soon (hopefully with positive results )

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
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The results:
After pasteurizing, it took a while to start fermenting but when it got going it fermented for around 3 weeks. The gravity got to 1.000, a very successful fermentation. After the fermentation the color was clear and it had a very crisp dry flavor. All in all a great tasting cider and many lessons learned. Thanks to everyone for the help and support.

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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That right there...is a beautiful thing. Congrats on getting it so clear!

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:14 PM   #10
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I used the same crusher for another cider and the same infection grew.. that is another evidence that the infection's source is the crusher (next time I'll clean it). tasted the e's and it was nice at the end...

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