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Old 10-09-2008, 01:07 AM   #11
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If you use an ale yeast in a cider is it recommended to ferment at the suggested temp range for the yeast? or can you ferment it higher temps because it is a cider?

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Old 10-09-2008, 02:16 AM   #12
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The highest temp I've brewed at was at 70F with Nottingham yeast, which is the top of its recommended range. Many ale yeasts are rated to go to 75F. At 70F, the Nottingham only takes about 8 or 9 days to ferment completely dry. 7 if you want some residual sweetness. So you really have to keep an eye on it or it will get bone dry. I've had better results in the 55-65 range, mostly because its easier to stop fermentation where I want it when the SG isnt dropping so fast.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:41 PM   #13
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Wow, I wish you would have posted that a few week back

The only "wine yeasts" available at my LHBS are the Lalvin 1116 and 1118. I've used them both in the past, with decent results. Mostly 1 gallon batches. The 1118 ferments out very dry, which isn't how I would prefer it to come out. The 1116 comes out a little sweeter, but I found that I doesn't bottle carb well at all for some reason.

3 weeks ago I started 2x 6 gallon batches using fresh unpasteurrized apple juice from a local farm, using 1116 for one and 1118 for the other.

It never occured to me that I could use Ale yeast! Now I kind of wish I could go back in time and pick up some S-05!

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Old 10-18-2008, 04:45 PM   #14
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Building on last year’s experiments, here is what I’ve learned so far for this year (10 keg batches and 17 experimental gallon batches):



Juice – Mark from ABS Brew clued me in to why the pasteurized juice did not keep as well as unpasteruized. Two reasons. First, potasium metabisulfite does not just kill the wild yeast. It is also a preservative. Second, UV pasteurization reduces ascorbic acid, which also acts as a preservative. This is also why the unpasteurized juice is much more tart when it finished fermenting.

Based on that info, I tried a few batches of unpasteurized juice, with and without adding the K-meta. They have been going about a week and I checked them yesterday. SGs have dropped from 1.060 to 1.014, so they still have a way to go. At this point, the batches without the K-meta taste much better. They have a natural apple taste and would be quite drinkable right now, although I am planning to let them go another day or two and cold crash around 1.004. The ones with the K-meta have a tart candy apple taste that is very familiar – I expect these will be quite good in a few months, but now, not so much.

I’ll be starting some more keg batches in a couple of weeks and will definitely cut back on the K-meta – maybe use half the recommended dose. I’m also planning to start a new round of single gallon experiments to see if there is an optimal amount of K-meta to add to kill the wild yeast without turning the must sour. I was planning to use k-meta to stop fermentation on the keg batches which are currently in primaries, but now that I know the effect on the taste, I’m going to cold crash instead.

Yeast – I tried several new yeasts. Juice was unpasteurized Stayman, Empire and Golden delicious, with a bit of Granny Smith. All were fermented at a temperature range of 60-65 degrees. All of the new yeasts fermented out much faster than the Nottingham and SO4 ale yeasts, which I used as a control. After 7 days, the Nottingham and S04 batches were all at 1.014. Keep in mind that gallon batches tend to ferment out faster than 5 gallon batches, so add a couple days if you are doing a 5 gallon batch. I added K-meta to the juice 24 hours before pitching the yeast, so its going to be a month or two before any of these are really good, but here are first impressions, in order of potential:

Lallemand Munich wheat – Cold crashed 7 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.002. Has a good apple taste, with a bit of clove and k-meta tartness

Brewform Lager – Cold crashed 7 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.004. Good apple taste, with some interesting flavors I cant quite put my finger on – still dominated by tartness of k-meta

Enoferm ICV-D47 – Cold crashed 6 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.010, but the taste was very dry and smooth. The k-meta taste wasn’t as prominent.

Coopers Ale – Cold crashed 7 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.004. Not bad. I tried this yeast before with pasturized juice and was not impressed, but with unpasteurized it is pretty good.

Saflager W34/70 – Cold crashed 7 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.000. It was a little too dry for my taste, but may improve after k-meta wears off.

Lalvin 71B – Cold crashed 6 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 1.000. Overly dry, but has a decent finish

Munton Ale yeast – Cold crashed 7 days after pitching yeast. SG was at 0.998. I should have caught this one sooner. I tasted it at 6 days and it was pretty good, but at 7 days it had lost a lot of flavor.

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Old 10-20-2008, 10:44 PM   #15
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I have a question. Are those 1 gallon milk jugs you are using?

Is that thin of plastic ok?

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Old 10-21-2008, 02:23 PM   #16
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Those are the plastic jugs that the cider press uses, which are about the same thickness as milk jugs. They are plenty strong for fermenting and are very handy for making experimental batches because all you need to do is pour off a little juice, add k-meta, sugar and yeast (or whatever else you want to add), slap on a fermentation lock and you are good to go.

BTW - I have now cold crashed all but 4 of the last round of experimental batches. For the juice I got from the cider press, the batches without the k-meta taste much better than those with. They could be consumed right away (and probably will be this weekend). They taste just like the pasteurized juice, (which I didnt sulfite) so I am certain it is the k-meta that makes the juice sour after fermentation.

On the other hand, I have a few gallons that I got from a cider pressing party. That juice was not as tart and for those gallons the ones with k-meta taste better. Having a little bite helps and it seems to have a little more body as well.

Reading some more on the web about k-meta and pH, I believe the recommended dose of 1/4 tsp for 5 gallons before fermentation is meant for wine, which usually has a higher pH than cider. As pH drops, recommended dose of k-meta also drops.

When I get new juice I plan to get another 18 single gallons and experiment around with different k-meta doses before and after fermentation. I'll post results when I get some preliminary results, which should be in about a month.

If any of you are planning on fermenting unpasteurized juice and it is already nice and tart, I would recommend cutting the k-meta back to at least half the recommended dose if you want to drink it sooner. If the raw juice doesnt have much bite then stick with the recommended dose.

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Old 10-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #17
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OK, a bit new at this. but when you say cut the dose of the K-meta back are you talking about when you first bring the juice home before pitching the yeast. or would this be for guys that k-meta for racking and when primary is finished?

since i don't have much experience with tasting tartness, is there a way to determine the proper does scientifically? I couldn't find a PH Vs. K-Meta table

the cider from the pressing last year had these stats:
Specific gravity of 1.050
Titratable acidity expressed in Tartaric of 7.5 gpl or 0.75 ta
pH was 3.5

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Old 10-23-2008, 04:33 PM   #18
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When I say cut the dose of k-meta back, I'm referring to before you pitch the yeast.

However if the pH of your juice is 3.5, you may be OK with using the normal dose. If you overdose, it will still be OK - you will just have to wait more months for it to mellow before you drink it.

I always thought that the k-meta just killed the wild yeast and then went inert after 24 hours, but that is not the case. It definitely gives the juice a tart taste. Sometimes that is helpful, but usually not.

I've looked around the web and in my wine and cider making books for a pH to k-meta chart for cider, but havent found one, which is why I'm planning to experiment. As I understand it, K-meta creates free S02 which acts as a preservative. 1/4tsp in 5 gallons provides 45ppm of S02. With fresh juice, some of the S02 gets bound up with the juice, so as a rule of thumb you get 25ppm of free S02 from the first pitching of k-meta.

With wines, targets for free S02 vs pH are:
pH = 3.5 S02 = 25ppm
pH = 3.2 S02 = 13ppm
pH = 3.0 S02 = 8ppm

That's why I think you are probably OK with the recommended k-meta dose. The info I found on k-meta vs free S04 vs pH was developed by research at wineries and there are some differences between apple and grape juice. Apple juice has more ascorbic acid. So the tables that have been worked out for wine might not necessarily be the best ones for cider, although they are probably in the ballpark. Lots of apple varieties have pH of 3.0 or lower. So if the juice is tart, I think its probably a good idea to cut back on k-meta. You will definitely be able to drink it earlier.

Another wrinkle in all of this is that of the yeasts that I experimented with in the last round of batches, the two gallons with wine yeasts (ICV-D47 and Lalvin 71B) were not as sour as the others that got the k-meta. They didnt have the full flavor of the ale yeasts, but still taste acceptable at bottling time. It may be that wine yeasts have been selected to metabolize more of the k-meta, whereas ale and lager yeasts wouldnt normally expect to encounter k-meta.

I'd be really curious if anyone else out there has experimented with not adding k-meta before fermenting, and what the results were.

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Old 10-25-2008, 07:30 PM   #19
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If the tart flavors in the juice are partially caused by the asorbic acid in the unpasturized juice. How does Not using the K-meta effect that flavoring?

The K-Meta byproducts also produce a tart taste themselves? And this flavoring diminishes over time?

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfmaze View Post
If the tart flavors in the juice are partially caused by the asorbic acid in the unpasturized juice. How does Not using the K-meta effect that flavoring?

The K-Meta byproducts also produce a tart taste themselves? And this flavoring diminishes over time?
I don't believe that K-meta has anything to do with the flavor or aging. I think that might be some of the experiences the poster is describing, but there is no chemical reason for a taste change, and sulfiltes have a fairly short life before disapating, so there would be no reason for a flavor change. Also, at the rate of 50 ppm, it's below the human taste threshold.

K-meta keeps wines and ciders from oxidizing and spoiling faster. It isn't a flavor additive, and it does not affect fermentation by wine yeast.

If you get a sulfur smell, it's not from the sulfite. It sounds more like H2S, which is quite possible. Also, stressed yeast will smell sulfury. When you add sulfites to an acidic mixture (must), it produces SO2. That distinctive odor quickly disappears, and doesn't cause more odor during fermentation than not using sulfites. I think that many of us have different experiences in making wines and ciders and there is room for all opinions and the sharing of the experiences.
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