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Old 01-13-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
maddprofessor
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Default Sour Cider

I've made several batches of cider, mostly with Nottingham and store apple juice and some spices. Learned to cut back on the spices, keep it cool, etc. I recently made a batch using pretty much the same recipe as before but using S-04 yeast instead of Nottingham. This batch has a very prominent green apple type flavor. It tastes clean, and not really "off" but my previous batches weren't sour and I kind of prefer not sour apple flavor cider. Is this batch sour because of the S-04? Is green apple flavor a characteristic of S-04 in cider?

Recipe:
2 gallons Kirkland apple juice
1 gallon gala cider (grocery store, not fresh pressed)
1.5 lbs brown sugar
3 c homemade caramel syrup (similar to dark candi syrup)
2 T mulling spices steeped in warm cider for 1 hour
3 t yeast nutrient
3 campden tablets
1 pack S-04

OG 1.070

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Old 01-13-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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So let me get this straight, you're getting cidery off flavors in your cider? Classic.

Did you use the same exact juice as your previous batches? Maybe it's not the yeast.

Fermentation temp?

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Old 01-13-2011, 06:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVH View Post
So let me get this straight, you're getting cidery off flavors in your cider? Classic.

Did you use the same exact juice as your previous batches? Maybe it's not the yeast.

Fermentation temp?
I never said it was an off flavor. I actually said it wasn't. Previous batches had slight apple flavor and no sourness. More red/neutral apple flavor, no green apple flavor.

The 2 gallons of plain store juice are the same. The 1 gallon of "cider" was marked "gala" when before I used the same brand but it just said "apple cider" with no apple name so I assume it was a blend. None of the juices tasted sour/tart before fermentation.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddprofessor View Post
I never said it was an off flavor. I actually said it wasn't. Previous batches had slight apple flavor and no sourness. More red/neutral apple flavor, no green apple flavor.

The 2 gallons of plain store juice are the same. The 1 gallon of "cider" was marked "gala" when before I used the same brand but it just said "apple cider" with no apple name so I assume it was a blend. None of the juices tasted sour/tart before fermentation.
Sorry, wasn't trying to jump on you. It was just funny to see a thread about a green apple flavor - which is an off flavor in beer or just a common characteristic of young beer - as an unwanted flavor in cider.

I am no cider master, but I know that dry ciders are usually at least somewhat tart. Weird that S-04 would dry the cider out more than Nottingham, though. Maybe the more cider-proficient people here can speculate on the cause. Sounds like something other than the yeast to me.

</not very helpful post>
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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I agree with you PVH - I doubt that it is the yeast. I would say all signs point to the juice.

Gala apples are an aromatic sweet dessert apple.

1. My guess is the gala juice was much more delicate than the "cider" juice you used before. i.e. the gala didn't have the ability to mask the sourness of the kirkland juice as much as the "apple cider" juice you previously used. I guarantee you the kirkland on its own would come out sour.

2. Another guess is ... more ascorbic acid in the Gala to preserve? Galas are a low acid high sugar apple, may need much more ascorbic acid than your previous choice.

3. Safale-04 might have fermented your must dryer than your previous batch (lower FG). That would make it more sour initially.

If I were to bet though, would be choice 1. or 3.


I wouldn't worry about it, rather, give it time to bulk age (month or two+) and mellow. It may turn out to be better than some of your previous attempts.

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:55 AM   #6
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The main cause of green apple flavour is malic acid, so maybe this batch is higher in acid. On the other hand your meaning of green apple may be different.
One possibility is that your other batches may have gone through MLF and this one didn't, wild MLF being a fairly random event which reduces the green apple flavour by converting malic acid to lactic acid.

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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I wouldn't call malolactic fermentation a random occurrence. I routinely experience it with at least half of my ciders. I can usually predict which ones will experience it, based on acidity and sulphite conditions of the cider.

If you had a malolactic fermentation, it is noticeable by taste. Your cider likely would have abandoned nearly all apple estery flavors, or at least those flavors were dwarfed by a buttery chardonay ish flavor. The body and mouthfeel improves, almost silky coating your mouth, tastes on a true white wine characteristic. The wine still may be harsh, but the mouthfeel characteristics are there. Furthermore you will have a renewal of fermentation and it will putz along for months. It will almost appear that the cider is degassing, light density steady bubbles rising

Based on the harshness of the cider after the malolactic fermentation, I decide an aging strategy for that batch.

I actually just tasted my batches last night. I would have to check my notes, but over half had malolactic fermentation occur.

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Old 01-14-2011, 01:05 PM   #8
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Was just thinking about this some more. This has nothing to do with malolactic fermentation. Both juices maddprofessor used were store bought, pasteurized with ascorbic acid I presume. Malolactic cultures don't exist in pasteurized juices. The reason I frequently experience them is that I use unpasterized cider.

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Old 01-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies. Maybe it's the juice. The last 2 times I used 50/50 of the Kirkland juice to cider as I was just making 2 gallons. It wasn't sour at all though which is why I suspect the yeast. If I wanted a green apple cider I would say it tastes great. It tastes pretty clean and has much less of this particular funk that was in my previous cider. My previous batches had little apple flavor which is part of why I switched the yeast and S-04 was recommended in several threads and noted for leaving more apple flavor. My plan was to reuse this yeast to start my next batch but if the yeast, or this yeast + this juice is going to yield green apple flavor cider I might change. Maybe I'll try a wine yeast. My "cider" would be called a wine by some anyway.

BTW, I never took a SG reading on my previous ciders since I didn't have a hydrometer yet but they tasted completely dry. This one is still very slowly bubbling and it's SG was 1.008 last I tasted it so not totally dry yet.

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Old 01-14-2011, 05:58 PM   #10
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Perhaps your FG was higher in your previous attempts? i.e. F.G. 1.008 instead of being fully dry. If your previous ciders didn't ferment 100% dry (leaving residual sugar), and this yeast attenuated more, that would explain sour. Sweet hides sour.

I have only fermented store bought apple juice once. It was way more sour (when fermented dry), than any cider I ever fermented right off. But since I don't use store bought, I can't really confidently report on how it ferments.

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