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-   -   'sea sponge' in secondary (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/sea-sponge-secondary-385350/)

bugmeister 01-28-2013 06:16 PM

'sea sponge' in secondary
Hi folks,

new member here and thank you for your advice. i have found this forum to be very useful. i am relatively new to cider making, and have a few batches in secondaries now. one of them is a 3 gal batch of local unpasteurizeded good quality cider that had an initial sg of 1.05. using salfale 50 with a nutrient for yeast. bumped it with a lb of average store bought honey and a lb of brown sugar to an sg of 1.065. also added 2 sticks of cinnamon soaked in vodka (kill the bugs), in the primary. I have removed the Cinnamon when racked to secondary and now, 3 weeks later the cider is crystal clear amber brown with 2 'sea sponge' looking masses in the carboy. it is bubbling like i have never seen anything before. the other 3 batches now- 5 gallons with some ginger, 1 gallon all natural and 3 gallons sparkling are all doing great, but the only one with Cinnamon added has these sea sponges and is already clear and cooking away.

can anyone tell me why the solids organize themselves into these gassy seas sponges? looks great and I cant wait to taste. thanks in advance.

Bluespark 01-28-2013 07:18 PM

Pictures please?

WilliamSlayer 01-28-2013 08:26 PM

Ok, cool sounding I have to say. Having used ground cinnamon in my last batch, I think its the cinnamon. I got some unusual clumps, but nothing quite like that! :-)

bugmeister 01-29-2013 02:04 PM

sea sponge pictures
1 Attachment(s)
folks-thanks for your relies to the post. here is an image of the 'sponge'. anybody know whats the root cause of this? cider looks great and i suspect the top sponge will drop when done bubbling but so much bubbles are coming off the bottom one as well.

WilliamSlayer 01-29-2013 03:06 PM

Lol, holy sediment Batman! Yup, if fermentation seems to still be occuring, then you have some yeast and apple particles @ the top and some @ the bottom. The top ones are suspended by the CO2 gassing off.

I use plastic buckets for my primary ferment, so the sediment I see is only in secondary, and usually not quite that much! Did you use pectic enzyme?

That's almost like an art exhibit right there! :-)

LeBreton 01-29-2013 05:29 PM

Looks like the pectins in the juice forming a gel, lifted by CO2 bubbles. This is called a keeve and forms an unmistakeable brain in a jar look.

WilliamSlayer 01-30-2013 02:44 AM


Originally Posted by LeBreton (Post 4840223)
Looks like the pectins in the juice forming a gel, lifted by CO2 bubbles. This is called a keeve and forms an unmistakeable brain in a jar look.

You know, I've heard that term mentioned before, but never seen it in action. How did he achive this? Obviously not his intention! (as cool as it looks!) I was under the impression that you needed to leave the skins in and let them sit like a Red wine maceration?

I looked back at the OP and saw "unpasturized cider". Did this perhaps begin before the cider even came into his posession?

LandoAllen 01-30-2013 04:25 AM

I agree that it looks like a pectin gel. It looks similar to the picture on this site under the section titled "Keeving - what's that?"

LeBreton 01-30-2013 12:06 PM

LandoAllen beat me to posting the link, but you are correct that keeving is assisted by letting the ground pommace sit a bit before pressing. I've seen occasional reports of spontaneous keeving from fresh juice on the forum and based upon my experience with the technique have developed a theory as to why.

Chances are slim that a apple processor would let the pommace sit long before pressing, it's unnecessary and adds risk to the product through exposure. Fresh juice is most often pumped into tanks and not bottled straight from the press. If the juice is left sitting, the pectins will settle at the bottom of the tank and may not be mixed up before bottling (especially if no preservatives are added) resulting in some jugs of cider to have significantly higher concentrations of pectins/solids, sometimes even enough to cause a keeve.

bugmeister 01-31-2013 01:47 PM

sponge brain cider heads
folks, thanks for your input and feedback. keeving is a new term for me. a little more history on the sponge.

this was a pretty fresh cider from local orchard that was 'cold pasteurized' using uv lights but no chemicals and stored chilled. this was their last run of the year, the week before Christmas, when i got it, when they close for the year so that cider could have been sitting in their storage for maybe 6 weeks from last harvest. or it could have been pressed more recentley with apples stored in the round-dont know for sure but will ask. i have used their cider for early season batch's and haven't seen the keeving. i have 15 gallons of this batch cider brewing now- all in secondaries- 2 of the 4 carboys are done fermenting and now settling, the sponge and another 5 gallons are bubbling- the other looks normal like a turbid slow fermenter. so what i am saying is the sponge is very different from all the rest and all of these were mixed in primaries so odds are the seperate 1 galloon jugs were well homogenized in the primary buckets. the only difference between the sponge and the other reamining fermenting cider is the sponge had 2 cinnamon sticks, soaked in vodka to kill any yeast/bugs, and 1 lb of average quality honey added. also added 2 lb of brown sugar. all this was added at primary fermentation and no pectin in any cider was used. the only thing really different about the sponges was the cinnamon sticks and 1 lb of honey. lets see how it tastes and i will experiment soon enough with the recipe again to see if i can grow other sponges as long as it taste good. maybe the honey and brown sugar jacked it to a level that was crazy but i read only a sg of 1.065 after additives. cant wait to try it . thanks again

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