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Old 09-06-2012, 12:05 AM   #1
PapiMauri
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Default Is my fermentation OK?

Hello all,

Though I've made a pineapple fermented drink before, this is my first time making hard cider.

I'm a bit confused about what's happening with my fermentation at the moment, so any insights would be much appreciated.

I juiced the apples from my tree, added campden tablet for 48h. I added sugar until the hydrometer measured 1050 and then pitched the yeast (Lalvin Champagne EC-1118).
I pitched the yeast exactly 3 days ago. What I see is a thick, frothy top layer that is not bubbling. If I 'break' that top layer with a spatula, and stir it gently, lots of tiny bubbles start happening and continue until slowly the froth reappears on top.

Is everything ok? Has the cider started its second fermentation or should I wait longer to transfer it to the demi-john with an air-stop?

Thank you very much,
-M

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Old 09-06-2012, 12:27 AM   #2
LeBreton
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Everything sounds fine, except you should have put an airlock on when you pitched the yeast, fermentation is definitely happening, so just do it asap.

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:51 AM   #3
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Thank you very much. So just to clear up my confusion: should the primary fermentation always be done with an airlock? I was under the impression that it could be done in any primary vessel (i.e. large bucket) as long as there was some way for the CO2 to escape and a hydrometer to check when it stopped.
Cheers
-M

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:02 AM   #4
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Airlocks serve two purposes. To allow CO2 to escape, and to prevent any outside air from getting in. They're not the only solution by any means. Just wanted to be sure you weren't fermenting in a sealed container.

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Old 09-06-2012, 07:14 AM   #5
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i sometimes let fermentation start in a big stainless pot covered with a towel + rubber band, but always get it under the airlock after a few days, long before it reaches terminal gravity- for me that's too long to have it open to the elements, and way past the point where oxygen is good for the cider. because my initial fermentation is always really foamy and scummy (like yours) it's much easier to clean that out of the pot than a carboy, so i rack it to a carboy and top up with a bit more fresh juice, rather then have it sit for months with foamy residue and empty space. but a few hundred years ago everyone fermented in open vats, so who's to say it wouldn't come out fine

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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Thank you LeBreton and dinnerstick, very helpful. I'll be racking it to a carboy w/ airlock tonight. Cheers,
-M

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Old 09-07-2012, 03:32 AM   #7
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So tonight I racked it into a carboy with an airlock, but I am now very confused as there are no more bubbles, 4 days after I pitched the yeast. As of yesterday (day 3) lots of tiny bubbles, but none tonight.


Here's some info that may help you help me:
-Hydrometer read 1050 when I pitched the yeast (Lalvin Champagne EC-1118)
-Now (day 4) it reads 1012.

Why is this all happening so quickly, and what should I do? Leave it for a couple of weeks to clear?

Thanks!
-M

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapiMauri View Post
Why is this all happening so quickly, and what should I do? Leave it for a couple of weeks to clear?
1. that's just how it is, 2. have a beer, 3. yep! it could take longer to clear depending on the juice, the yeast, and everything else. i like to rack off the sediment after most of it has settled but you don't by any means have to. i then like to age it in the jug for a few months
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #9
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Now that you know...

Unless you are going to test the ABV and stop fermentation just let it go until it falls back in... it should.

The reason you got bubbles when you stired is because it is carbonated... you just released the bubbles.

The same thing can happen days and weeks after Primary fermentation has completed if the liquid warms up... it looks like fermentation has started again...

ALSO: Leaving it alone will allow a protective CO2 blanket over it and as long as it is "pushing out" you really don't need to cover it... but once it stops air can go both ways and contamiate it...

Cheers.

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