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Old 07-14-2013, 09:28 PM   #1
Estix
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Default Slimy Ew

So I am very new to all of this.

My second attempt at any homemade alcohol was to take some of my home made cider (from last year) into hard cider. Everything went fantastically, and then I think I made a mistake. I didn't pasteurize my newly fermented cider (I did wait to make sure the yeast was dead), and I tried to sweeten my cider and add in some cinnamon.
I checked my cider today, and there was a slimy film across the top with cinnamon. The cider smells okay, but I haven't tasted it.

Have I ruined my cider? Is there a way to save it at this point?

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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When in doubt, taste it! It unlikely anything harmful will grow in any fermented beverage, and if it smells OK, its usually palatable.

If you sweetened with sugar, it probably fermented, and the cinnamon simply rose to the surface.

Bryan

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estix View Post
I didn't pasteurize my newly fermented cider (I did wait to make sure the yeast was dead),
Im curious as to how you knew the yeast were dead before back sweetening.

There is a term "ropiness", which refers to cider that has turned oily or slimy, caused by a lactic bacteria. You can add 100ppm of SO2 to it in an open vessel to remedy the situation, or use gelatin and bentonite to clear it.

Assuming it is a small batch, I would do as the other poster suggested , just roll with it and enjoy it if palatable.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:01 PM   #4
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Im curious as to how you knew the yeast were dead before back sweetening.
.
It was my understanding that when the yeast ate all the sugar, and there was nothing left to eat for another few days they would die. Is this incorrect?
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
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It was my understanding that when the yeast ate all the sugar, and there was nothing left to eat for another few days they would die. Is this incorrect?
They will get bored and take a nap, but they can and usually live for months and months.
For example, I have added priming sugar at bottling time to cider that has been in the carboy for 6 months, and still had enough yeast activity to eat the sugar and carb the cider. (although I've learned it's best to add a bit of fresh yeast just in case the yeast did kick the bucket)
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estix

It was my understanding that when the yeast ate all the sugar, and there was nothing left to eat for another few days they would die. Is this incorrect?
Yes, that is incorrect. It was just dormant, waiting for more sugar to chew on.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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I'm a newbie to brewing, but I know that cinnamon contains a fair amount of mucilage - try chewing on a good-quality stick and you'll soon see this, or squeeze a used herbal teabag that had cinnamon in it. I wonder if this is the "sliminess" people say they find when using this spice.

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Old 07-18-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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Lactic acid bacteria infection.

Honestly, if it is just a gallon batch or something I’d probably dump it rather than go thru the trouble of fighting to save it.

The infection developed due to poor sanitation.

If you really want to try and save it, whip the crap out of the cider with an eggbeater while you add a strong dose of sulfites (k-meta, campden etc). Ideally then you need to use a wine filter on it ... but if you don't have a filter, you could otherwise just keep it under refrigeration permanently and drink promptly. Some use bentonite after this process to remove some of the bacteria but it does not completely do the trick like filtering. If you go the bentonite route read up on how to do that properly ... bentonite has a long settling period to clear.
Also, as it is often Lactobacillus in cider that causes ropiness (not just Pediococcus or Leuconostoc as in other wines) this is specifically a high pH infection ... so do something to lower the pH ... if you have any of the acids used in winemaking such as malic, tartaric or citric you can go ahead and *carefully* add just enough to add a touch of acidity to the cider (or if you are using pH test tape, shoot for pH 3.5 or less).

The whipping not only incorporates the sulfites and re-incorporates some of the ropiness, but lactic acid bacteria like CO2 and degassing that way helps get rid of excess CO2.

If this is the standard Lactic Acid Bacteria infection causing ropiness ... then for what it's worth, the slimyness is from a change in the carbohydrate/sugar molecules and it is still drinkable (to the degree the infection has not made it nasty tasting). But if left untreated it will get worse and you’ll end up likely dumping it.

Like I say, if it’s a small batch I’d dump it and start again ... but *first* reading up heavily on proper “sanitation” (keeping things clean and sanitized) in winemaking and cider-making.

EDIT: ok ... I re-read your original post. If IF the slimyness is only across the top surface as you said ... then it may or may not in fact be a LAB infection ... in any regard; siphon off the wine with a tube into another container making sure that you stop well before you suck into the siphon tube any of the gunk at the surface. Then, as above add the sulfites (campden, k-meta etc), adjust pH and refrigerate. No need to whip. If it keeps going south you'll know soon enough and the infection will continue and the wine will get worse.

On the other hand, if the slimyness is actually throughout the rest of the cider then my original post (above) stands.

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