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Old 04-16-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
Suziebr
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Default Question about home brewing hard cider ale

I attempted to make a 4 gallon batch of hard cider ale from scratch last Saturday 4/10/2010 in our 6 gallon beer making fermenting barrel. I used 1 packet wine yeast and about 2 lbs. of dextrose corn sugar.

I sterilized the fermenting barrel & added 1/2 gallon of BJ wholesale apple juice (containing no preservatives) & dissolved the sugar in it before adding the rest of the 3.5 gallons of juice. After that, I dumped the yeast packet on the top of the juice, sealed & put the airlock on top. The yeast produced only a little foam on the top by the next day, but the airlock didn't bubble. The foam seemed to start sink to the bottom. I had the barrel in my kitchen which was about 70-72 degrees F. I read a few blogs that said to store between 60-70 degrees, so I moved the barrel to the top step in my basement which brought the temp down into the 60's. After 3 days, the liquid seemed clear and no fermenting had begun, so I dumped out the batch (which had some fizz to it as I dumped it and actually tasted good). I started a batch this past Wed. nt 4/14/2010.

I simmered 1/2 gal of the apple juice with the 2 lbs. of dextrose sugar. I mixed that when it got down to room temp with the 3.5 gals of apple juice in the sterilized fermenting barrel. I used champagne yeast this time and stirred it into a half cup of warm water first to dissolve it and then mixed it into the must/mix.

I sealed with the airlock and put on the top step in my basement which is currently around 60 degrees F.

Again, I have no bubbling going on in the airlock and the mix looks clear.

Does anyone think the reason it's not bubbling is possibly because it's 4 gallons of liquid in a 6 gal. barrel and the 2 gal. of air in between isn't allowing the fermenting to begin?

I'm very discouraged at this point, but plan on leaving it in the barrel for a few more days and see if anything happens.

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've made 2 batches of beer in the past few months using beer kits and they both came out great.

Thanks.

Suziebr

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:26 PM   #2
yodalegomaster
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Default You forgot to Aerate and add yeast nutrient

Normally when you add the yeast you Aerate the cider and then add some yeast nutrient to get the fermentation started. I would do some shaking now, if you don't have nutrient, boil one cup of grape-nuts in water, and add the water to the fermenter it will take off. (don't add the grape-nuts just the water)

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
Suziebr
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Thanks for your reply yodalegomaster. Never once did any of the recipes I was reading say that the nutrient was a required ingredient.
I'll get on that very soon, have to get the grape nuts first.

I added the grape nuts liquid and could see clumps of it floating on top. A few days later I saw tiny bubbles in the liquid below. Although the airlock never bubbled, ever, I just let the fermentation continue.

I truly believe that because my fermenter was only half full of liquid, there was too much air space to the top of the fermenter, and airlock, therefore the liquid fermented on it's own using the air space above to blow off it's gases, but it never reached the very top to make the airlock bubble.

I bottled it last nt with carb tabs after first tasting the mead (is that what it's called)? So far, so good. I'll let it sit in the bottles for about a month before testing.

Thanks again for the nutrient tip!

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