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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > I thought cider was supposed to be easy...whats going on here
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #1
paddy711
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Default I thought cider was supposed to be easy...whats going on here

This is the first time making cider so im a little unsure about what is going on. I made three batches of cider using their existing wild yeast. i mixed all three up on 11/16/10 i used all the same juice from a local farm and everything thing is exactly the same minus the different additives. they all are still in primary i don't have the equipment to rack it into something else.

1. 6 gallon carboy, i added 6 pounds sugar(white and brown) and raisins

2. 3 gallon carboy, i added 3 pounds of honey

3. 1 gallon jug , i added a little of everything honey, raisins, white and brown sugar(all my left over stuff)

This is whats confusing me my 6 gallon carboy is stuck at 1.020 gravity, i get maybe one bubble every 65 seconds and its cloudy. i took a reading about two weeks ago and compared it to one i took two days ago and it has maybe had a .001 change in gravity. my 3 gallon carboy is giving me a reading of 1.010. its cloudy and the gravity has pretty much halted in this one too. it bubbles about once every 70 seconds. my 1 gallon jug though has halted at 1.00 and has cleared up so i can see through it. i have tasted all three and they all taste like you would expect, varying from sweet to dry. the taste is getting better compared to two weeks ago, they are pretty tasty now.

my concerns

If they were all made from the same juice and wild yeast, is it normal for them to finish so differently. is it the difference in sugar that is giving me such different readings or is the yeast just that unstable. or is my 6 gallon carboy just fermenting that much slower or are they done. its been two months since i mixed them and i would like to get them off the lees and bottle it, but if its going to kick back into gear i don't want to make bombs.

Can anyone shed a little light on what is happening and if you think i can bottle or not, i don't know what to do at this stage of the game

-thanks for the help

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Old 01-12-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Two things come to mind. The yeast could be reaching it's alcohol tolerance or there is a lack of nutrients.

Did you take original gravities? Off the top of my head, I'm guessing #1 started about 10 points higher than #2 since honey is only 80% sugar. Coincidentally, #1 is currently 10 points higher than #2. So, both dropped approx. the same amount and are probably around 10 % ABV. Could be the yeast dies at 10%.

You added a lot of sugar and/or honey. Sugar and honey don't have any nutrients in them, so the yeast might be struggling.

Just two guesses off the top of my head.

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Old 01-12-2011, 05:52 PM   #3
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thanks, i did take an og reading from the 6 gallon carboy but i didn't write it down i just remember thinking it would ferment out over 10%, i wasn't really to worried about the alcohol i just figured i would drink it and find out how strong it is. do you think i could bottle it without a problem. i can taste the alcohol in it and i think they taste good.

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Old 01-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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They do sound stable enough to bottle, but most of your cider is still cloudy. Bottling it now will cause your bottles to have a lot of sediment in them when the cider clears. If you have the patience, I'd wait.

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Old 01-13-2011, 02:14 AM   #5
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You reached the limit of the yeast.

Assume juice was 1.050 + 45 points per lb of sugar = 1.095 + sugars from raisins (you didn't say how much you used). Assuming 5 points per gallon from raisins (wild guess) = 1.100....... This is of course a total guess. If it fermented down to 1.020, that's 80 points or 10.5%.

For the honey, that would be 1.050 for the juice and 36 for the honey, or 1.086. Fermenting down to 1.010 would be about 10%.

My guess is the third had an SG lower than 1.075.

If the yeast has reached it's limit, it will not carb in the bottle. Adding fresh yeast to the bottle will only create bottle bombs, as any new yeast (with a higher abv tolerance) will slowly eat all the unfermented sugars.

I would try adding a wine yeast to the fermenter and see if it can work on the remaining sugars.

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Old 01-13-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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thanks that really helps me alot, appreciate it

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Old 01-13-2011, 05:05 PM   #7
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you might want to use yeast nutrient because even wild yeast does not live on sugar alone.

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Old 01-13-2011, 08:38 PM   #8
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How did you put in your raisins? Chopped up, whole? You might be stuck at that gravity because the raisins are leaching out sugars still. If you removed the raisins already, then I think the other suggestions are certainly plausible.

My first Dandelion wine I used cotes de blanc and added 8 cups of sugar instead of 5 by accident. Anyway, it was strong wine, very good. However, it did taste like a muscat or a riesling du to all the residual sugars left. It was my first go, and I never took any readings, so I don't know the FG

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