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-   -   Minimum Cider PH with Ale yeast (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/minimum-cider-ph-ale-yeast-370357/)

Zen_Brew 11-27-2012 08:21 AM

Minimum Cider PH with Ale yeast
I have a question. My wife and I have been doing some playing around with cider for the last several months and have had some decent results using English Cider yeast. After reading much of CvilleKevin's threads on using ale yeasts I decided to do some experimenting.

We made up a batch of mixed fresh pressed unpasteurized cider with a brix of 13 and split it in to (2) 3 gallon carboys and added 3 campden tablets to each carboy. We waited 48 hours and then added our yeasts, and 1/2 tsp Fermaid K and 1/4 tsp wyeast nutrient to each carboy. Measured PH is 3.3 with a Milwaukee PH meter. Temp 65 degrees F

In one of the carboys we put one 5 gm pack of Nottingham rehydrated in 93 degree water with Go Ferm.

In the other carboy we pitched a single Wyeast 1098 smack pack that was 2 weeks after package date about 20 mins after smacking it.

The Nottingham took over 48 hours till the gravity started dropping, and the Wyeast 1098 gravity has not dropped at all and it's been 4 days. I am experienced with yeasts as I homebrew frequently, and I am surprised at the delay on the Notty and lack of fermentation with the Wyeast 1098. These are only 3 gallon batches.

I am curious if the 3.3 PH is causing the issues as this is well below the typical PH's encountered in beer brewing. I have searched, but been unable to find a conclusive answer in if wyeast 1098 will ferment at that low a PH.

I'd appreciate anyone who has any thoughts or experience in this area.

Zen_Brew 11-29-2012 06:27 PM

Well it appears no-one has a firm answer on this one. As it ws getting to be way too many days without ferment I made up a re-hydrated batch of Lalvin D47 a couple days ago and pitched that. I had fermentation within 18 hours. Not sure if it is all the D47, or if some of the Wyeast 1098 kicked in, but at least it is moving along now.

gregbathurst 11-29-2012 09:29 PM

3.3 is actually a good pH for cider, pretty much where you want it to be. The pH rises during fermentation and if you get a MLF secondary fermentation it will rise even more. It could get as high as 3.6-3.7 after secondary, so 3.3 is a pretty good place to start.

Zen_Brew 11-30-2012 06:30 AM

Thanx gregbathurst.

I have done a few ciders with English Cider yeast and I agree a PH of 3.3 worked nicely. I was curious why the Wyeast 1098 did not seem to work at that PH though, and the Nottingham yeast was slow to start and sluggish. Beer typically starts around PH 5.0 and will lower PH as it ferments to around 4 ish. I was wondering if the 3.3 was too low to keep the beer yeast happy.

gregbathurst 11-30-2012 06:29 PM

I don't think the pH would be your problem. Any yeast should be happy at 3.3. Perhaps it was just a bad batch of yeast, or not stored well. If sg still isn't moving pitch a new yeast.

Yooper 11-30-2012 06:39 PM

I wonder if ale yeast is just far less tolerant of sulfites than wine yeast?

Zen_Brew 11-30-2012 06:55 PM

Thanx for the input Yoop. The sulfites are also a good possibility that I hadn't thought of. Obviously CvilleKevin has had pretty good luck with beer yeasts so I know it is doable. There is just not as much good documentation out there on cider as there is on beer yet. Much of the homebrewer community is still on the steeper part of the learning curve on cider I think.

I got the 1098 from a very reputable homebrew store that takes care of their yeast, but I have also considered the possibility it was a bad smack pack. That is the downside of not proofing the yeast. I just trusted that a good smack pack could easily handle 3 gallons of a mid gravity ferment.

FreeTheHops 10-04-2013 02:50 PM

I know this is almost a year later, but I stumbled across this thread trying to find anyone else who used 1098 for cider. I used it and it has worked just fine. It's slowing down a bit after 12 days (OG was 1.070, now sitting at 1.046) and still has a ways to go, but I experienced a good solid fermentation after 3 days. A few questions for you:

How long did you give the smack pack to activate before pitching?
Was it completely swollen like a tight balloon?

Did you use any yeast nutrient?

Did you use any sulfites before pitching?

I plan on letting mine go for at least two to three more weeks in primary before doing anything, though it's very delicious and drinkable now. A bit sweet but at roughly 3.5% abv it's very nice. I would prefer it finish out just below 8% ideally.

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