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Old 03-26-2008, 11:51 PM   #1
timotb
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Default Hard cider stopped early

This is my second year making hard cider. I make six, 5 gallon batches. Turns out great! I normally take 5 gallons of sweet cider in the fall, add 5 lbs of granulated sugar and the right yeast (so far I like red star champaign yeast)

This year 3/6 fermented to dry at about 12% Alcohol. The other 3 seem to quit early and have a sweet taste with about 7-8 alcohol. All batches have been transfered to cornilus kegs.

The question: Can I simply re-add yeast to these early quiters to restart the fermentation and increase alcohol?

Thanks

Tim

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Old 03-27-2008, 03:10 PM   #2
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Hi Tim, and welcome!

The only way to know for sure is to either calculate out what your potential gravity points were or, better yet, if you took a Hydrometer reading pre-ferment. Then you could see how much was converted. I am guessing the sweet ones got stuck for some reason. You could try rousing the yeast to see if fermentation starts back up on those. Oh wait, in my haste....if they are in Cornelius kegs already, you probably want to transfer them back and go from there. However....the fermentation won't kick back in if you keep the kegs cool. Perhaps sweet isn't all that bad? How sweet is it? Maybe adding some acid blend to balance the sweetness? Otherwise, it's back into the fermenter. You will need to repitch since it has been racked off the cake.

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Old 03-27-2008, 10:08 PM   #3
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Thanks zoebisch, but you used two terms I dont understand: "rousing the yeast" and "repitch" I think you are simply saying to transfer back to a primary fermenter vessel and add yeast in a warm environment.

I will post my results from this years batches (7-12) that shows beginning and ending specific gravities:

BATCH 7

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.090
Ending Specific Gravity: 0.994
Potential Alcohol content projection: 11.8%
Calculated Alcohol: 12.6 %
Racked/Kegged: 10.29, 11.20, 12.6, 12.12


BATCH 8

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.088
Ending Specific Gravity: 0.992
Potential Alcohol content projection: %
Calculated Alcohol: 12.5%
Racked/Kegged: 10.29 11.20 12.6 12.21


BATCH 9

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Lalvin EC1118 Champagne Yeast
ounces Raisins

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.080
Ending Specific Gravity: 1.030
Potential Alcohol content projection: %
Calculated Alcohol: 6.6 %
Racked/Kegged: 10.29 11.20 12.6 12.21


BATCH 10

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Lalvin EC1118 Champagne Yeast
ounces Raisins

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.090
Ending Specific Gravity: 1.024
Potential Alcohol content projection: %
Calculated Alcohol: 7.7%
Racked/Kegged: 10.29 11.20 12.6 12.21


BATCH 11

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast
ounces Raisins

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.090
Ending Specific Gravity: 1.042
Potential Alcohol content projection: %
Calculated Alcohol: 6.4%
Racked/Kegged: 10.29 11.20 12.6 12.22


BATCH 12

Started: October 20, 2007

5 gallons pressed cider
5 pounds granulated sugar
Cote des Blancs Yeast
ounces Raisins

Starting Specific Gravity: 1.092
Ending Specific Gravity: 1.010
Potential Alcohol content projection: %
Calculated Alcohol: 11.7 %
Racked/Kegged: 10.29 11.20 12.6 12.21

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Old 03-27-2008, 11:46 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what you're saying- you're saying that Batches 9, 10, 11 didn't finish, right? If that's the case, I'd put them back into the fermenter, warm it up and pitch some more yeast, just as zoebisch said. They still have aways to go to finish up.

Since they've been racked and kegged, the yeast will have fallen out of suspension. Sometimes, if you have some yeast lying on the bottom, you can warm it up slightly and swirl to "wake up" the yeast. In this case, though, it's probably been racked off the yeast so it's best to just add another package. You can repitch the same yeast, or a different type, whichever you prefer.

Next time, I'd suggest taking the SG before you rack into the keg- any cider not finished can be left to finish up. Sometimes it takes longer than others and each fermentation is a bit different.

Welcome to HBT, by the way!

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:19 PM   #5
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There's nothing that stops you from adding new yeast to the kegs. Relieve the pressure every couple days. As Yooper says, in the future don't rack until the gravity is in the target range.

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
There's nothing that stops you from adding new yeast to the kegs. Relieve the pressure every couple days. As Yooper says, in the future don't rack until the gravity is in the target range.
Doh. Yeah, sorry. I was thinking of beer and Krausen , in which case I think would be nasty....but this is Cider. Good call.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timotb
Thanks zoebisch, but you used two terms I dont understand: "rousing the yeast" and "repitch" I think you are simply saying to transfer back to a primary fermenter vessel and add yeast in a warm environment.
Yes, sorry for the confusion. Rousing the yeast is simply gently swirling the trub to help resuspend the yeast. Repitching, would be to sprinkle fresh yeast onto the Cider. Good notes! That's a good deal of Cider. I did around 15 gallons this year, and 5 I am leaving for vinegar.
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
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Yes....I was saying 9, 10, 11 didnt finish fermenting, hence the low alcohol and high sweetness. What I did is wait for the bubbling to stop by noting the cap settle on the air lock. At such time, I consider the fermentation complete, take an ending SG then rack to the corny kegs and pressurize for carbonation.

My plan will be to "repitch" with redstar champaign yeast, since Ive had good luck with that 2 years in a row....and see what happens...


Thanks for all the advice ...Cheers!

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Old 03-29-2008, 04:18 PM   #9
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Just a quick follow up .....I transfered batch 11 (6.4 alcohol, sweet) back to a primary fermenter yesterday and added Red Star Champaign yeast. It is in my basement at 60 degrees F with a heat lamp about 18 inches, over night.....the yeast appears to be dead on the bottom......no bubbling action after the carbonation ended.

What happened? any suggestions?

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Old 03-29-2008, 04:47 PM   #10
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60 degrees is way too cold, and I'm not sure the heat lamp will really help. Can you bring it upstairs and let it get started? Give it a nice big stir/shake to re-rouse the yeast.

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