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Old 12-14-2014, 10:14 PM   #1
benwhan
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Default S.O.S - save our sider!

Hey guys. Hoping you can help me out. I'm taking a crack at my first cider, and it's not looking good (sound familiar....).

I juiced a San Francisco backyard tree worth of apples, and have been fermenting for a month in a 5 gallon bucket. The lid does not have the rubber seal, but I think it's pretty airtight, glued an airlock into a small hole in the lid and the airlock bobs as you flex the lid down (which makes me think it's pretty sealed).

There's only 2 gallons of juice in the 5 gallon container, so I was a bit worried about the amount of extra space/air sitting around in there. I used a bag of Wyeast 4766 cider yeast (liquid).

So after 4 weeks of fermenting and no action in the airlock (I understand that's fine), I opened it up to find the following (pictures attached), chunks of stuff floating around, and a pretty vinegery/dry cider remaining. I didn't take the original gravity, but now it's 1.00 (which I understand to be fully fermented).

Is there anything I can do to save this cider? Can I back sweeten it? Should I add sugar and try and ferment more? Just add a bunch of apple concentrate?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thanks!

cider2.jpg   cider.jpg  
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:42 PM   #2
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Throw it out and get some one gal. Glass jugs, stoppers and air locks then try it again. No more that a neck of air space next time. Split one packet of yeast between two or three jugs.

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Old 12-14-2014, 11:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkKF View Post
Throw it out and get some one gal. Glass jugs, stoppers and air locks then try it again. No more that a neck of air space next time. Split one packet of yeast between two or three jugs.
This. anything less than 4.5 gal (maybe not even that low) in a 5gal bucket can suffer problems when you leave such massive headspace, which gives room for bacteria to grow. You should also be taking gravity readings more often, as sometimes it might finish sooner, or get stuck.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:42 PM   #4
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It doesn't look that bad to me.

Now, rack (siphon) it quietly, without splashing into two 1 gallon containers, and top with a bung and airlock. Get some campden (sulfite) in there also- using 1 crushed and dissolved campden tablet per gallon. You'd crush one tablet, mix it with some water to dissolve, pour that into a sanitized one gallon jug and rack the cider into that. Top up, so there is no headspace, cover and airlock, and hope for the best.

Next time, use campden (sulfites) to kill wild yeast and bacteria after crushing your apples, and once fermentation slows (about 5 days), rack to a correctly sized carboy or jugs so that you have no headspace. A bucket is fine during rapid fermentation, but once fermentation slows it's important to have very little headspace so a bucket can't be used then.

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Old 12-14-2014, 11:45 PM   #5
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all I see in that bucket is apple cider with yeast floating on it. dry apple cider has can have a very tart taste and usually doesn't taste a whole lot like apples. try some in a glass with some sugar and see if its better.

I'm sure you know this but homemade apple cider, fermented dry doesn't taste like strong bow.

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Old 12-23-2014, 08:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the intel guys! One more question, if I kill any remaining yeast with the campden tablets, do I still need to use an airlock? Or can I just cap after bottling?

My understanding is that once the yeast is done, there's no risk of further activity and explosions...

Thanks again for all your info!

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Old 12-23-2014, 09:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benwhan View Post
Thanks for all the intel guys! One more question, if I kill any remaining yeast with the campden tablets, do I still need to use an airlock? Or can I just cap after bottling?

My understanding is that once the yeast is done, there's no risk of further activity and explosions...

Thanks again for all your info!

Well, campden doesn't kill yeast (it's an antioxidant) and winemakers use it routinely, so don't worry about killing your yeast.

If the cider is done, as shown by steady hydrometer readings, and no new fermentables (like sugar) are added, the bottles won't explode or have activity.

If you add sugar, in a closed container, it will be an issue of course.
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Old 12-24-2014, 05:43 AM   #8
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Looks like yeast and pectin floating to me. Nothing out of the ordinary. Good job on your first batch!

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