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Old 10-09-2012, 09:36 PM   #1
timcadieux
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Default Potassium Sorbate

Ok, 33 views and no answers, maybe my first post was less of a question than an exclamation. I created a cider by adding yeast, sugar and apple juice. after a day and a half, I noticed no activity at all. I then took a closer look at the apple juice container which indicated as ingredients, apple juice and Potassium Sorbate. I have noticed in other posts that Potassium Sorbate is used to stop fermentation?

Ok, so about 24hrs has passed and surprisingly, there's a very small amount of activity.

So, I guess my question is, is there a possibility that my cider will surmount the amount of Potassium Sorbate included so that it will continue to properly ferment? I have no experience with these 'preservatives'.

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Last edited by timcadieux; 10-10-2012 at 04:33 PM. Reason: my idiocy
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:29 AM   #2
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In short...yes...it is possible to brew with a cider that's had potasseum sorbate added...but trickey...the key is having enough active yeast to make the ammount of sorbate in there neglegable. If you're worried about it getting going, find a pint of cider or preservative free juice and get a starter going with another pack of yeast. Add some yeast nutrient to the starter too, let it go over night and add that to your batch, then you should have enough yeast awake and eating that its spun too far out of control for the sorbate to stop it, and the yeast cells that are dying will drag the sorbate to the bottom with them.

Sorbate will stop fermentation over a couple of days, but only if fermentation has slowed and the yeast count in the brew has dropped dramatically from an active primary state. So a good active starter can overcome the sorbate in there.

Good luck, don't throw it out yet!

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Old 10-11-2012, 02:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for your response, interestingly enough, its bubbling now. It took a good 36-48hours to start, whereas a second, clean batch was going inside 24h. I used champagne yeast, maybe that's hardier? I did another batch the night after using a different juice and the first is bubbling almost as hard. The two ciders are bubbling at about 1 bubble every 2seconds for the non-potassium brew and every 3 seconds for the potassium brew. I have some yeast left over so I'm going to try a starter, that's a first for me. Thanx for the suggestion.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
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So what probably happened is that the yeast you put in had enough active (dry yeast) strong yeast to overcome the sorbate, it just spent the first few days trying to overcome the sorbate level that was in there, and now it can really start concentrating on the sugars.

Like I said, it's not preferable, but no impossible to brew with treated juice/cider. Sorbate is usually used to stop fermentation only once fermentation has gotten very slow. This is because it doesn't kill the yeast, it simply makes it so the yeast cells can't devide and multiply, so if the yeast cells have absorbed the sorbate and don't split, do their job and drop to the bottom, and there are still yeast cells active the fermentation can continue. I use it in my sweeter still ciders, and add it only right before I bottle, and I leave it in there for two or three days before I bottle; this is when I've racked and backsweetened to taste, but because I've racked I've droped the yeast count down to where it might take two weeks or more before it starts bubbling again, that way the sorbate finishes the job, and I can cork a regular wine bottle and the corks wont blow out.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sewer_Urchen View Post
So what probably happened is that the yeast you put in had enough active (dry yeast) strong yeast to overcome the sorbate, it just spent the first few days trying to overcome the sorbate level that was in there, and now it can really start concentrating on the sugars.

Like I said, it's not preferable, but no impossible to brew with treated juice/cider. Sorbate is usually used to stop fermentation only once fermentation has gotten very slow. This is because it doesn't kill the yeast, it simply makes it so the yeast cells can't devide and multiply, so if the yeast cells have absorbed the sorbate and don't split, do their job and drop to the bottom, and there are still yeast cells active the fermentation can continue. I use it in my sweeter still ciders, and add it only right before I bottle, and I leave it in there for two or three days before I bottle; this is when I've racked and backsweetened to taste, but because I've racked I've droped the yeast count down to where it might take two weeks or more before it starts bubbling again, that way the sorbate finishes the job, and I can cork a regular wine bottle and the corks wont blow out.
That's kind of what I hope was happening. Now its time to just wait and see. My first experimentation outside using Canned Extracts, not going so well so far.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:58 PM   #6
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I recently ran into some trouble with potassium sorbate. I purposely put it in a beer so I could back-sweeten it with fruit.
Long story short; I messed up by not removing enough of the active yeast prior to adding it in, so the yeasties fermented the fruit down but produced some awful H2S due to being stressed by the potassium sorbate.
I wouldn't be surprised if you get some of the same rotten fruit funk from your apple cider.

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Old 10-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mredge73 View Post
I recently ran into some trouble with potassium sorbate. I purposely put it in a beer so I could back-sweeten it with fruit.
Long story short; I messed up by not removing enough of the active yeast prior to adding it in, so the yeasties fermented the fruit down but produced some awful H2S due to being stressed by the potassium sorbate.
I wouldn't be surprised if you get some of the same rotten fruit funk from your apple cider.
A little copper in the fermenter can help scrub away the H2S.... Cheers!!!
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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A little copper in the fermenter can help scrub away the H2S.... Cheers!!!
I am a believer!
I threw in a handful of pennies in the carboy before giving up on it.
Most of the H2S is gone after sitting about a month.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mredge73 View Post
I am a believer!
I threw in a handful of pennies in the carboy before giving up on it.
US pennies contain zinc.

You might want to check the toxicity of zinc, a major component of post-1982 US cents.

Short lengths of copper pipe or small copper fittings would be a safe addition.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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What about Canadian pennies?

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