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Old 09-28-2005, 01:51 PM   #1
FilJos
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Default I need help. (I'm new to all this)

I wanted to get into homebrewing, and I really like cider and heard that it was easier than beer, so I thought I would give it a shot.

I bought a starter kit from Midwest Supplies: Fermenting Bucket, Racking/bottling bucket, 5 gal. carboy, and all the little accessories.

I found a couple of recipes on-line and got to work with some grocery store bought apple cider. All juice, no preservatives. After cleaning and sterilizing everything I threw together the five gallons of apple juice, the yeast (Red Star Champagne yeast, came in a little yellow packet) and some yest nutrient that the guy at Midwest suggested I use. I tested the SG, and it was right about 1.045. I threw the old air-lock on (filled with vodka, I heard this was a good way to do it) and let it go.

After a day, fermentation got going and after another day it was really cooking. The airlock popped a little more than once every second. After another day, the thing overflowed and the airlock turned cloudy with bad smelling cider. Another day or two later the airlock cleared and there was sediment left in the bottom of it, and fermentation calmed down to a steady popping about once every two seconds.

After about 12 days of primary fermentation, I opened the thing up and used a wine thief to taste it. When the sanitized thief went in, the cider fizzed all around it. The sample tasted very acidic and upset my stomach, pretty much smelled like vinegar. I tested the SG and it was almost down to 1.000. I thought that I would try to bottle it anyway, thinking that maybe I just have a bad palate, and primed it with honey dissolved into more apple juice. When I put the siphon in the carboy, it fizzed up so bad that I couldn't get a good flow going, but eventually I got it into the bottling bucket and bottled it all.

Now about a week later, I have tried a bottle and it doesn't give me a stomach ache, but it still smells like vinegar, and my wife tried it and thinks I did a fine job of making carbonated vinegar.

I need help. I just want to make a nice, semi-sweet cider with a little bit of carbonation. Maybe even a cyser. Thats all. Where did I go wrong? Does anyone have an easy recipe? I can't seem to find a local orchard that sells unpreserved juice, so that seems to be out of the question, unless someone from the Minneapolis area knows of one of the local orchards that could be accomodating.



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Old 09-28-2005, 02:34 PM   #2
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I've never made cider before (I'm a beer brewer) but it sounds like you got some bacteria in there that took over and made cider vinegar. Since it sounds like you sanitized everything, I would guess that the bacteria was in the cider you bought at the store.

Was the cider you bought pasteurized?

We boil the hell out of everything when we make beer to avoid this kind of thing. From what I gather, you don't boil things when making cider, so it seems (to me) to be at higher risk for bacterial infection. That's why (I believe) it is crucial that you buy pasteurized cider.

Anyway... like I said, I have never made cider before, just trying to recall what I've read about it. There aren't many cider makers here, so I thought I would offer what thoughts I could.

-walker



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Old 09-28-2005, 05:24 PM   #3
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It's possible that it's bacterial as Walker has stated. I'd let it age for a little and try it again to see if it has improved or simply gone bad.

If you are using unpasturized cider, I've read about folks using campden tablets in their cider a day before pitching their yeast to make sure there arn't any nasties living in there. Havn't tried it myself (my first batch of cider is still fermenting, I used pasturized cider), but that sounds like the way to go, as it sounds like boiling cider = evil

edit: You around, Denny? (sorry, I can't remember your username here)

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Old 09-29-2005, 05:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilJos
After a day, fermentation got going and after another day it was really cooking. The airlock popped a little more than once every second. After another day, the thing overflowed and the airlock turned cloudy with bad smelling cider. Another day or two later the airlock cleared and there was sediment left in the bottom of it, and fermentation calmed down to a steady popping about once every two seconds.
Did you clean out and sanitize the airlock when this happened?
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corvus
Did you clean out and sanitize the airlock when this happened?
No, I didn't. It seems as though I should have though, huh? On another note, I went to Midwest Supplies yesterday to buy some more yeast and a few small items and see if I could get a little advice. The folks there are great. I got some adive about where to aquire fresh cider and a few tips about brewing(?) cider that I was not able to find elsewhere. So now, armed with some white labs english cider yeast (Cool!) and a few other sanitizing products, I think that I am ready to try again.
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:17 PM   #6
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what happens if you open the lid carefully of a barrel after cider has finished fermenting to add eg. Camden tablets. Would the oxygen that enters the barrel cause cider to turn vinegar or will the CO2 that sits on top of the cider prevent it from happening?

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Old 10-02-2005, 06:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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what happens if you open the lid carefully of a barrel after cider has finished fermenting to add eg. Camden tablets. Would the oxygen that enters the barrel cause cider to turn vinegar or will the CO2 that sits on top of the cider prevent it from happening?
Since no one else is replying...I don't think it would harm it much. I think what turns it to vinegar is bacteria, and I think the primary culprit for that would be unsanitized equipment, ie FilJos' flooded airlock or an unclean wine theif. Camden tablets kill most of the yeasts and bacteria anyway, so if you are lifting the lid to add those I seriously doubt it would be a problem. Give it a try and let us know!


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