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Old 10-29-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
ShadowZero26
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Default Hard Cider n00b Problems

So I went to the nearest home brew shop and told the dude I wanted to make hard cider and told him "I think all I need is a bucket, cider, some yeast, and an airlock." and he says "yeah, there's the mix behind you." In the package was the acid and the other stuff and the potassium bicarbonate, i think... anyway

He says "Just add everything in that packet and the yeast into the bucket and give it a stir and put the lid and the airlock on." So I did.

I didn't know you were supposed to put water in the airlock. I didn't know you were NOT supposed to add the potassium bicarbonate, and I didn't know it was that necessary to add one of those tablets to kill the foreign yeast.

Anyway, since I didn't see any "bubbles" because I'm apparently stupid and didn't put water in the airlock, I went back after a few days and asked him and we deduced that it wasn't starting yet. So I wait until day 8 and smell it and it smells a little like vinegar. I go back and we discover that I added the bicarbonate and I wasn't supposed to. But he says, since it smells it must have done something. So I opened it up and there was all this CRAP at the top. Yes, it looked like that, brown and disgusting looking.

I tried some, fishing around the crap, and it was ok. Not vinegary or bitter, still sweet. At this point I still didn't realize that the airlock was not primed. I put the lid on, gave it a shook and put it in a slightly warmer area of my basement, in hopes to start the fermentation again, not understanding and still not understanding what the crap at the top really is.

I'm wondering if it's still salvageable and if I'm going to get sick from drinking it. I'll have to strain it, obviously, but is it a waste?

Thanks for the response, I wish there was a "brewing for people who actually don't know anything about brewing" website. Everything else is so crammed with lingo and it's undecipherable to someone like me.

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Old 10-29-2008, 11:13 PM   #2
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I've never heard of bicarbonate in a kit. Well, I've never heard of potassium bicarbonate period, so you've got me there.

Anyway, put the airlock back on, and forget it about it for about two weeks. Afterwards, don't strain! You'll aerate it, and oxygen is the death of cider. Wait until it's completely settled down, then go buy a hydrometer and some "no rinse sanitizer". Use a sanitized turkery baster, and fill the hydrometer jar and take a reading with the hydrometer. If it's at .990-.998 or so, it's done. You can either close it back up, or carefully use some sanitized siphon tubing and siphon (known as racking) into a clean sanitized carboy with a stopper and an airlock, and then you can watch it and wait for it to clear.

After it's clear, you can bottle it. You'll siphon it out of the carboy or bucket, and fill sanitized bottles.

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Old 10-29-2008, 11:14 PM   #3
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Welcome.
NOW!...Lingo : RDWHAHB (Relax. Don't Worry. Have A Home Brew)
Deep Breath. You're here now, and it's gonna be OK!

Did you add yeast?

If not, get some and add it.

Do you have a hydrometer? if so, take a sample! if not get one before you try again.

the junk on top is all of the coagulated protine and stufffff that is in the juice...ya it looks like poop. Don't fear it...but don't eat it either.

You did say you added water to the airlock right? is it bubbling?

It's gonna be ok...We'll help ya through it.

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:27 AM   #4
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Potassium Sorbate. Yes I added yeast right after. Yes it is bubbling now that I've added water.

Thanks alot. I thought I'd have a lot of apple vinegar or something. I'll have to get a hydrometer.

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowZero26 View Post
Potassium Sorbate. Yes I added yeast right after. Yes it is bubbling now that I've added water.

Thanks alot. I thought I'd have a lot of apple vinegar or something. I'll have to get a hydrometer.
Oh, sorbate. You're right- that is supposed to go in after it's finished. Oh, well- apparently it didn't matter and you're on your way.

It's actually pretty hard to screw it up- the yeast know what to do even when we don't!

This may not be the world's best cider, or may be fantastic. Either way, it'll be a drinkable cider, and you'll enjoy it. Congrats!
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:11 AM   #6
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One more thing, I was keeping it in a 59 degree cellar, but I moved it to 68 degree basement. Will changing the temp change the flavor much?

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:38 AM   #7
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59 is a bit cool for wine yeast. I think you did good.

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Old 10-30-2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot.

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:08 PM   #9
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What kind of LHBS sells a Kit with Potassium Sorbate but no hydrometer? Did you ask alot of questions? The clerk should have been able to recognize that you were new to this and made sure you have everything.

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Old 10-31-2008, 02:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
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What kind of LHBS sells a Kit with Potassium Sorbate but no hydrometer?
An ingredient kit, not equipment.
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