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MTate37 09-10-2012 09:51 PM

Proper cider fermenting temp?
 
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So my wife and I are attempting our first cider. I was told that cider ferments the best between 50 and 60 degrees. We were only able to get our first batch of beer down to 66 in the house so I thought I would try a swamp cooler for the cider. At initial setup the cooler water temp was 65. A few hours later it was 60. This morning it was still 60 so I changed the ice bottles thinking we were holding steady. I just got home from work and the temp is now about 53 degrees. Should I be concerned with the big temp swing today? Should I try to bring it up or just let it ride?

The cooler is in a closed up bathroom and it is still in the 80s here so the AC runs on and off through the day.



Attachment 75210

Jacob_Marley 09-10-2012 10:44 PM

The temp you choose to ferment at is significantly determined by the yeast you use.
53* is getting near the very low end of temp for nearly all yeasts ... Nearly all have a threshold of approx 50* and very many 59* and above. You very much need to look up the acceptable temp range for the yeast you are using online.

That having been said, it is particularly desirable to use certain yeasts in the lower end of their temperature range as it enhances the esters produced adding additional character to the cider. Another benefit of lower fermentation temps is that it somewhat reduces the production of hydrogen sulfide which can be a problem at higher ferment temps with low nutrient musts like cider.

Note that while the temp is in the lower operating range for the yeast it may stretch out the fermentation period quite a bit. This is fine. Just monitor the SG (sugar) content to keep an eye on when it's getting near dry/done ... and insure that it is in fact still actively bubbling.

One thing you might do with your low temp fermentation is give the cider a good stir or shake every day for the first 3 or 4 days. Cider, having low solids, has a tendency at low temp to flocculate or coalesce and fall to the bottom of the jug ... where it does not ferment anywhere near as well as when it is up in suspension. This can result in stressed or even stalled ferments.

MTate37 09-10-2012 11:14 PM

Both jugs are still bubbling so hopefully everything is still okay. According to the Danstar site, Nottingham handles low temp fermentation (54) well. I just checked the temp and it actually dropped a little more so I took out the ice and closed the AC vent. As soon as it gets to 55 or so I'll add one ice bottle and see if I can get the temp to even out. I'll also give them a little swirl.

MTate37 09-11-2012 12:42 AM

Concerning the swirl, we're using the Whole Foods juice for one of the gallons. It has a good bit of sediment in the jug. If I swirl it is there a danger of covering yeast up?

Jacob_Marley 09-11-2012 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MTate37 (Post 4402821)
Concerning the swirl, we're using the Whole Foods juice for one of the gallons. It has a good bit of sediment in the jug. If I swirl it is there a danger of covering yeast up?

Nope. It will not cover the yeast up ... any yeast that may have settled is in that sediment.
Particularly if the ferment is not especially vigorous, while you are at that low temp you want to put all that yeast sediment back into suspension for the first few days ... and then again periodically IF the ferment seems to slow significantly prior to the SG showing the sugar has been mostly used up (barring other issues).
It will all fall out again fine once the ferment finishes.

MTate37 09-11-2012 04:46 PM

Thanks for the advice. I managed to slowly get the temp back to about 58 and gave each jug a good swirl before bed last night and the bubbling has picked up. Temp was holding steady this morning so I changed out the ice bottle before leaving for work. Hopefully the temp is holding.


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