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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > perfect sanitation yields THREE batches of infected cider
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:59 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by CidahMastah

You have to keep in mind cider is not beer. Cider is a fruit wine and will take on all wine like characteristics (vinous flavor, longer aging period, etc.). This is even more so the case when you add more fermentables (table sugar, etc.)

Sour like not fun to drink, sour enough where you would through it out unless you were wise enough to know it is just young. Sour = Normal; vinegar = infection.

Sulfur is very common in cider fermentations, especially if you are too hot or too cold. 99% of the time it will vent out through the airlock with no palatable trace of it when properly aged. Vinegar, should not be present. If it is you have an acetobacter infection and it will only get worse. Drink it quick or dump it.

Not to diss your LHBS either. But it has been my experience that 99% of folks there know nothing about cider making. Sad part is they all talk like they do so they give out a ton of bad information.

Likely your first batch hadn't fermented dry and you had residual sugar - this is why it tasted good. I actually make cider like this all the time. I will pull out a frozen fresh cider from my pressing in the fall and let it sit in the refridge until I see the bottle expand. Then I know it has started fermenting. I let it go and try it here and there until it tastes carbonated. The alc is low, but it tastes really good, if it ferments dry before I drink it it gets that young sour taste. This is the ONLY way to get drinkable young cider (cold crashing or drinking before fully fermented).

All kinds of variables could play into each time. Fermentation temp, sugar, yeast viability, etc. Ultimately I think your solution on this one is let it sit for 3-6 months.
I wouldn't say it is the only way to make good young cider. I make cider that is very drinkable in a month by letting it go dry and kegging on top of sulfite and sorbate and then back sweetening with concentrated juice.

As everyone else said, the sulfur smell is normal, it can smell like rhino fart and still come out great. That smell fades.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:41 PM   #22
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I wouldn't say it is the only way to make good young cider.
Agreed, let me clarify my statement.

:Correction: IMO the only way to make a good "dry" cider. That was teh type of cider the poster was making/talking about.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:16 AM   #23
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Agreed, let me clarify my statement.

:Correction: IMO the only way to make a good "dry" cider. That was teh type of cider the poster was making/talking about.
I obviously understand the difference between a sweet and dry cider, but can you characterize what would make a sweet one definitively different from a dry one based on process? Or is the term loosely used to refer to one that one way or another had sweetness added after being stabilized?
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:31 AM   #24
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I obviously understand the difference between a sweet and dry cider, but can you characterize what would make a sweet one definitively different from a dry one based on process? Or is the term loosely used to refer to one that one way or another had sweetness added after being stabilized?
Yeah I am kind of confused here as well...how would you make a dry cider by cold crashing or drinking while fermenting? By definition that would make it sweet as it would have residual sugar.

Anyway, we are a bit off topic here. Cider can make the nastiest fermentations and still come out amazing. My first batch of cider smelled and tasted terrible and I came very close to dumping it. So glad I didn't as I had juiced 125 lbs of apples on a tiny juicer for it and after letting it go to dry and back sweetening with maple syrup and juice it was amazing.


Have some patience with cider, expect gross smells and taste and just give it time.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:15 AM   #25
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Yeah I am kind of confused here as well...how would you make a dry cider by cold crashing or drinking while fermenting? By definition that would make it sweet as it would have residual sugar.

Anyway, we are a bit off topic here. Cider can make the nastiest fermentations and still come out amazing. My first batch of cider smelled and tasted terrible and I came very close to dumping it. So glad I didn't as I had juiced 125 lbs of apples on a tiny juicer for it and after letting it go to dry and back sweetening with maple syrup and juice it was amazing.


Have some patience with cider, expect gross smells and taste and just give it time.
unless I misread, he was fermenting for about a month, then drinking. i.e. he never backsweetened, i.e. it was a dry cider since all the fermentables would be gone after a month.

I was suggesting that a cold crashed cider might provide a decent cider in less time vs. a dry cider.

so as you stated, if you backsweeten you can reduce aging time somewhat. it is like adding coke to whisky. Something sweet to mask something harsh. But in ciders case, on its own very few peopl seek out and enjoy 1 mo old dry cider.


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but can you characterize what would make a sweet one definitively different from a dry one based on process?
Yes. A dry cider is one with no sugars in it, fermented dry. If you backsweeten that is a backsweetened sweet cider. Cold crashing is yet another approach. In this case your process is what defines what you have turned out. If you cahnge your process to adding apople juice concentrate after that month, now you have a backsweetened cider.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #26
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You definitely get weird smells and sour tastes. So far I've done Edwort's (and bottle conditioning the crap out of it), store bought Whitehouse "cider" with Cote de Blancs that I cold crashed and just moved to secondary the other day, and a small batch of 365 brand apple juice with over pitched Nottingham attempting to lager it simply because they can. They all smell "off", it's the nature of the beast. As far as sulfur odor goes, I've found that adding yeast nutrient pretty much eliminates that.

Personally, I don't find store bought juice to turn into ANYTHING remotely good at all. Apple juice does not have a wide range of flavor to begin with, so it was stupid of me to not even think about what the finished product might taste like. I'm someone that can get caught up in 100 people saying, "Man, that tastes good" instead of asking, "Hey, what exactly does this taste like" and then waiting for descriptors. I have friends that homebrew that find lots of things "Good". Hell, Budweiser is "good" to them. That's OK and great, we're just on different ends of the spectrum.

We all have different palettes, which is great, but I think my fair share of complex craft beer has twisted me into expecting more from simple apple juice, yeast and sugar. I do not find any of those combinations better than what you can get from the store, not worse than EVERY hard cider you can buy, but for what we can get in Alabama and what I've made, nothing is as good as something like JK's Scrumpy. In all fairness to those that do, I'm not a big cider drinker. I started this endeavor to try and discover something that makes my dad say, "Ahh, now that reminds me of Normandy" <-- Not easy, especially when he wants sweet and carbonated.

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Old 02-29-2012, 07:01 PM   #27
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Personally, I don't find store bought juice to turn into ANYTHING remotely good at all. Apple juice does not have a wide range of flavor to begin with, so it was stupid of me to not even think about what the finished product might taste like.
Yes. I read a great article in Early American Life about the history of cider making. It is apparently more American than apple pie, and the article was my reason for getting started.

Among the wealth of information, it mentioned that when cider was popular (and being drunk by adults and children alike) only the best apples were used for cider, and a variety was preferred, especially including tart, nearly inedible apples. Of course, they also had the sweet ones. The article mentioned, which you would also assume to be the case, that since you don't see them before they're pressed nowadays, cider makers usually use the sub-par apples for their juice, and that cider is undoubtedly not what it used to be.

It may also be worth mentioning that if it weren't for the prohibitionist nut-jobs, cider would still accurately refer to the fermented drink as it does in the rest of the world, NOT glorified apple juice.

BTW, to all previous posters, I've taken the general advice to just let it sit through the smell. Mind you, it wasn't a matter of patience. I seriously thought it was infected. With your assurance, I'm letting it run its course this time and so far so good.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:46 PM   #28
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I too fell prey to graff cider tasting "good". Tried it with store bought juice because that is what they used - let's just say I never remade that stuff. It will get you drunk at least but the taste was ugh for me. Like seltzer low apple flavor.

I also have fermented regular AJ from the store and no matter what you do to it it just doesn't stand up to fresh pressed juice, which is all I will use now. The other stuff isn't fermenter worthy in my house.

In this case though, you can polish a turd. I have mde decent draft cider out of store bought by back sweetening with AJ concentrate. But again, that doesn't stand up to my draft ciders I make with fresh pressed. The best product I turn out is from taking frozen fresh pressed gallon jugs of cider and letting them half thaw. I use that concentrated "double sweet" cider to backsweetned and then I toss in sorbate and campden and keg it. It is good stuff. Usual ratio is about 2/3 dry aged cider to 1/3 double sweet. I make the cider so it has a finished abv of around 6% after diluting with the double sweet.

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Old 03-01-2012, 02:24 AM   #29
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By concentrate, do you mean the stuff in the freezer section meant to be mixed with H2O or juice that's made from concentrate?

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Old 03-01-2012, 02:36 AM   #30
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By concentrate, do you mean the stuff in the freezer section meant to be mixed with H2O or juice that's made from concentrate?
for the cheap stuff yes. not bad in a pinch.

you need to sorbate and sulphite though, or you will have fermentation restart. If you need more details let me know and I can let you know how I have had success doing this. You can make it still like this, or carb it if you have a keg system or pastuerize
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