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Old 03-22-2009, 02:12 AM   #1
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Default Hard cider not fermenting?

Hi everyone, this is my first post here and was hoping to get a little advice.

I've brewed a few batches of beer in the past, and this weekend I started a 2 gallon batch of hard cider. I made a yeast starter the night before (Red Star champagne yeast in 100% apple juice) and it was fermenting nicely by morning. I also added one crushed campden tablet to each gallon the night before (store bought cider, only has potassium sorbate in it). Today I added the starter to the cider along with some brown sugar and honey boiled down in some water, along with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrient. It has been about 12 hrs and I have yet to see any bubbles in the airlock. Normally I would wait it out, but with so much activity in the starter and no activity in the primary, I'm a little nervous! Any advice would be great!

I'd like to add that I searched a bit for an answer to this issue, and some might say it is the cinnamon? Should I remove the remnants on the top of the cider and pitch new yeast?

My SG is 1.072 by the way.

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:28 AM   #2
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12 hours is too soon to start getting nervous. My ciders generally don't start for at least 24 hours. Don't worry, you've got time...

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:30 AM   #3
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I figured I was overreacting, but I'm just surprised to see so much activity in the starter, and then nothing at all in the primary once added to the cider. I guess I am used to beer starting within a few hours.

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Old 03-22-2009, 04:06 AM   #4
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It seems like most of the yeast has settled to the bottom too.

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Old 03-22-2009, 04:16 AM   #5
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It's probably starting slow because in your starter, the yeast were happily munching away on beer sugars (maltose)... you dumped the starter into your cider, diluting them into a whole bunch of fructose from the apples. They have to get used to the new environment with the new sugars, which takes time. They have to make a whole new set of protein machinery to handle the new sugar!

And don't worry about them settling to the bottom, they'll figure out where the sugar is and go straight for it. You can probably shake it up a little bit though if you want, but either way it will be fine.

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Old 03-22-2009, 05:31 AM   #6
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Am I the only one that saw he said this about his cider? "(store bought cider, only has potassium sorbate in it)." This may not ferment at all. potassium sorbate is the one thing you don't want as a preservative in your Cider.

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Old 03-22-2009, 05:43 AM   #7
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Ok...here's whats wrong....the key words you used are POTASSIUM SORBATE!!! Potassium sorbate inhibits fermentation. They use it in some store bought ciders to inhibit fermentation. In other words....your batch will not ferment. If there is one big thing to look for before brewing cider is to make sure it DOES NOT contain any sorbates. You can try brewing this till the cows come home.....but it wont ferment. Any apple juice/cider will work, so long as no sorbates, absorbic acid "vitamin C" and many other things are fine. You are new "as am I" but sorbates are a big no no. I guess you can drink it now and enjoy some sweet spiced apple cider!!

Also for the future and maybe save you some dissapointment.....I tried a spiced cider with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. It tasted awesome when I mixed it up. After ferment it tasted pretty crappy. If your going to do spices....especially cloves....go very light....they can produce an off flavor if your not carefull.

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Old 03-22-2009, 06:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeastluvr View Post
Ok...here's whats wrong....the key words you used are POTASSIUM SORBATE!!! Potassium sorbate inhibits fermentation. They use it in some store bought ciders to inhibit fermentation. In other words....your batch will not ferment. If there is one big thing to look for before brewing cider is to make sure it DOES NOT contain any sorbates. You can try brewing this till the cows come home.....but it wont ferment. Any apple juice/cider will work, so long as no sorbates, absorbic acid "vitamin C" and many other things are fine. You are new "as am I" but sorbates are a big no no. I guess you can drink it now and enjoy some sweet spiced apple cider!!

Also for the future and maybe save you some dissapointment.....I tried a spiced cider with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. It tasted awesome when I mixed it up. After ferment it tasted pretty crappy. If your going to do spices....especially cloves....go very light....they can produce an off flavor if your not carefull.
From what I researched I thought that if you add a campden tablet to the cider 24 hours in advance it will offset the potassium sorbate. Am I wrong in thinking this? Should I have put the cider over some heat instead? Live and learn I guess.
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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The campden 24 hours prior is to offset any wild yeasts or bacteria, which won't be in a store bought pasteurized juice anyways. If you get a strong enough starter going, and slowly introduce some of the sorbated juice to the starter, so that the yeast can overcome it step by step, you might be able to save this batch.

But for next time, buy juice with out any preservatives, except for ascorbic acid/vitamin C. Also, there is no need to boil honey, it is safe straight from the bottle. If you want to warm up a bit of water 120 degrees or so to help the honey flow, that's alright, but boiling honey will remove a lot of its color, flavor, and aromas.

*Also to kgutwin, his started was yeast and apple juice, so they were already eating away at fruit sugars, you could argue that they were now dealing with juice, honey, and brown sugar, but that really shouldn't phase the yeast much at all. But I will also say that ciders don't always show as much activity as you are used to in beer, so look for tiny bubbles along the side. Because especially right when you add the starter, it may have been going crazy in your pint starter, but in 5 gallons the same amount of co2 output would look very minimal until the yeast really started multiplying and going crazy.

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Old 03-22-2009, 03:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I found a farm that typically sells cider in season within reasonable driving distance from me. I'm going out there today to see if I can pick up 5 gallons worth and will start over. I guess I can always leave my 2 one gallon jugs as is and take a gravity reading in two weeks to see if anything happened.

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