I just started my first batch of cider. I used fresh pasteurized cider from a local orchard and forewent these of Campden tablets.
I kind of made a starter with yeast, warm water and some sugar--I didn't have the cider at the time I made the starter. When I did get the cider the next day, I added about 26oz, let it sit for a few hours, then added it to the juice.
48 hours later there's no tumultuous bubbling and the only noticeable change is that there's a foam at the top. I can't tell if it's from CO2 bubbles collecting or if it's yeast floating to the top. I expected a more noticeable change by this point in time. Is this normal?
I don't know if this could result from slightly low temperatures. The English Cider Yeast is supposed to be optimal between 68 and 73 F. The temperature in the basement for the past two days has been between 60 and 66 F. I doubt this would significantly slow the initial fermentation process.
Unfortunately, the temperatures here in Minnesota are dropping quickly. I don't think the basement is temp controlled--rental. I figure the basement will be in the forties and fifties throughout the winter. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any way to control the temperature of six gallons of cider, at around 70 degrees, without incurring huge expenses either buying something or adding to the electricity bill by using an inefficient space heater. Right now I have some old army duffle bags covering the bucket at night. Any better thoughts?