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Old 10-30-2008, 02:49 AM   #1
frolickingmonkey
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Default Slow or stuck cider?

We crushed and pressed apples from our small orchard and are attempting to make hard cider with 15 gallons of the juice. The fermentation seems ridiculously slow, but I started brewing beer about 3 months ago, and am used to quick fermentation...

  1. 10/19 15 gallons of must in a 20 gallon food grade plastic fermenter (OG 1.044)
  2. 10/19 Added 15 Tsp (one per gal) of Potasium Metabisulfite and let it hang out for 24hrs
  3. 10/20 Rehydrated 3 packets of Lalvin 1118 Champagne yeast, cooled to 72 degrees; added rehydrated, cooled yeast to 64 degree must
  4. 10/29 After 9 days @ 66-68 degrees, the gravity has only dropped to 1.040

I thought this yeast strain was a quick ferment, but quick relative to what? Is this normal, or will it get stuck? I tasted the sample I pulled for the gravity reading, and it tasted OK (sweet, of course, but no sense of infection or anything). The must has cleared significantly since the first day and there appears to be a thick layer of sediment on the bottom of the fermenter.

All experience and advice appreciated... Do I need to RDWHAHB?
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:59 AM   #2
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I think your problem is the 1 Tsp (I assume thats teaspoon) per gallon. If memory serves me its 1 tablet per gallon but only 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per gallon of the powder.

Id say you might need to just wait a lot longer.

Lets see what the experts say.

I looked up some numbers on Jack Kellers site.

Quote:
Potassium metabisulfite, 1 gram = 150 ppm in 1 gallon, 30 ppm in 5 gallons
Potassium metabisulfite, ¼ teaspoon = 225 ppm in 1 gallon, 45 ppm in 5 gallons
Potassium metabisulfite, 1½ tablespoon to 1 gallon water makes ½% solution for washing equipment
Potassium metabisulfite, 2 oz. to 1 quart water makes 5% solution for sterilizing must (1 teaspoon solution per gallon of must)
1 Campden tablet contains 0.55 grams potassium metabisulfite, yielding 75 ppm SO2 to one gallon of must or wine
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Last edited by lapaglia; 10-30-2008 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapaglia View Post
I think your problem is the 1 Tsp (I assume thats teaspoon) per gallon. If memory serves me its 1 tablet per gallon but only 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per gallon of the powder.

Id say you might need to just wait a lot longer.

Lets see what the experts say.

I looked up some numbers on Jack Kellers site.
Yeah, when I saw 15 tsp of k-meta, I thought "whoa!" I'm surprised it's fermenting at all. You should have used about 1 3/4 tsp total.

Is it covered and airlocked? I'd go stir the crap out of it, to help disapate some of the so2 and get some o2 into it, and then recover.
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:30 PM   #4
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Oh, crap!

I just checked and realized that it was SODIUM metabisulfite that I added. Further Googling leads me to understand it's virtually the same thing as Potassium metabisulfite.

Oops... I have now discovered that I misread the directions on the package... I thought the package read "1 tsp equals 1 campden tablet (50 ppm/gal)" but I apparently missed the first part of the instructions, "Stir 1 oz into 8 oz water, 1 tsp of SOLUTION eequals 1 campden tab (50 ppm/gal)."

That's what I get for pressing apples all day and trying to read instructions on adding k-meta right before bed!

I'm going to go sanitize my giant stir spoon and go stir the crap out of my cider must... And yes, YooperBrew, it's covered and airlocked, so I should be safe from the nasties! Do you think I will need to repitch?

Thank you both so much for your responses!

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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The fact that its fermenting at all is a good thing. Its also shows how strong EC-1118 really is. If it keeps dropping slowly you wont need to . Stir the heck out of it and then wait a few days and take a reading.

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Old 11-30-2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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Thought I should post a reply and let you know how things turned out... Which is to say, not so good! I think there was just way too much K-meta in there to save it, unfortunately. I stirred the crap out of it 4 times a day for 3 days, and it STILL smelled like SO2. Waited an extra day, then pitched 3 more packets of EC-1118. No airlock activity, no gravity change after 72 hours. It's still sitting in the fermenter, but nothing has happened. Tasting the samples I pulled for gravity readings left some sulfur stank on my tastebuds. It think it's safe to say that after 4 weeks, it's a bust. Learned my K-meta lesson, though!

Though I'm still disappointed that most of the apples we crushed and pressed this year went to waste, I know what NOT to do next year!

I have started a new batch of hard cider using some Costco apple juice (its some sort of consolation), and it seems to be coming along nicely!

Thanks for all your replies!

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Old 12-01-2008, 01:30 AM   #7
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You might want to blend in some of the bombed stuff into the active fermentation from the store bought stuff, or use it to back sweeten if S02 taste is not too strong.

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