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Old 11-07-2007, 12:51 AM   #1
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Default Sour Cider

I am currently making a 5 gallon batch of cider (first try), I've added campden tablets, it has stopped fermenting and is currently clearing in the carboy. But it is very tart, sour even, does anyone have any suggestions to improve the taste. Also does the fact that I added campden tablets to halt the fermentation mean I can't carbonate it in the bottle?

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Old 11-07-2007, 01:01 AM   #2
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what did you use in your recipe exactly?

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Old 11-07-2007, 03:07 AM   #3
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If you think about it all the sugars that make soft apple juice sweet have just been consumed by yeast and turned into alcohol. Cider doesn't really taste like apple juice in the same way that wine doesn't taste like grape juice and beer doesn't taste like wort (I know I'm paraphrasing someone on this, but it bears repeating).

Using the Campden tablets does make carbonating it in the bottle a bit harder, since you've just killed the yeast. I'd leave it in secondary for a while and either bottle it still or pitch more yeast with the priming sugar.

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Old 11-07-2007, 02:52 PM   #4
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Well I used a batch of cider I pressed on Thanksgiving (Canadian), and a wine yeast (not sure which one). I let it ferment for about two weeks in a primary then moved it to a carboy when it slowed down. Then , apparently acting on some poor advice, I added 1 campden tab per gallon when it had reached the desired ABV (1.060-1.006)*131=7.07 ABV. So now it's clearing in the secondary.
I wasn't expecting apple juice, but the tartness at this point is pretty harsh, to the point where it's (almost) undrinkable. Part of the problem may be the apples we used. Due to a lack of rain in our area, or apple selection was limited to a high portion of eating apples, lots of sugar but pretty mild in flavor.
My question about the flavor is can I reduce the tartness without making it overly sweet? And Moonpile can you tell me more about what would be involved with pitching more yeast to carbonate in bottle?

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Old 11-07-2007, 05:30 PM   #5
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I think that it will be fine, it's just too dry for your taste. Dry cider does taste sour-ish. If you check the sg again, it might be as low as .990 or so.

You can sweeten it without making it too sweet by using apple juice concentrate or sugar. The problem is that in order to sweeten it, you have to stabilize the cider first. That would cause the yeast to go dormant so it won't re-ferment. Then you wouldn't be able to bottle carbonate.

If you want to sweeten slightly and still bottle carbonate, you can use splenda which will not ferment. I'd try it- take an sg sample and then use that sample to see if a little splenda will make it less sour.

In my experience, campden does not kill wine yeast. I use it in all my wines and ciders. Sorbate is what is used to inhibit wine yeast by not allowing it to reproduce. So, I doubt that you "killed" your yeast when you added campden at 1.005. I added 5 campden tablets to my crabapple must (5 gallons) last evening, and I'm pitching the yeast today. Campden in around 50 ppm will protect wines and ciders by killing bacteria and wild yeasts, but not wine yeasts. As I said above, I think it kept fermenting and that's why it's so dry. If you check the sg, I bet it's down quite a bit. You shouldn't have to pitch fresh yeast, unless your sg really still is at 1.005 and it really did inhibit the wine.

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Old 11-07-2007, 11:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, I'll try sweetening a sample then. This cider batch was my first attempt at brewing anything with some inherited equipment.

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Old 11-09-2007, 02:35 AM   #7
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Well I tried sweetening a bit the other night, improved the flavor a bit. The interesting thing is that the fermentation had started up again the next morning in the form of tiny bubbles along the upper edge of the carboy...I could have sworn it was completely stopped. Guess I'll just wait it out and see what happens. Is it normal to have wispy floaties that don't want to settle out, or could this be an infection?

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Old 11-09-2007, 12:03 PM   #8
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If you have been sampling it at room temperature, try it cold and see how you like it.

You mention concerns of an infection. Most souring bacteria have very distinct flavor profiles, that are hard to describe, but nonetheless unique. If the sourness reminds you of cider vinegar or saurkraut it is a possibility. However, I am fairly sure you needn't worry if you have used sufficient Campden, that the Cider will run away on you (but get a second opinion on that ).

Tiny bubbles can just be the release of CO2 from suspension. This is normal if you bump it around or warm it up.

As for bottle carbonation, that is how just about everyone does it. You prime with sugar and then add the resulting cider to bottles, cap and wait. This does, however, require that you have enough live active yeast to carry out the fermentation of the added sugar. So if you used Campden you may want to repitch a *small* amount of say Lager yeast, or whatever you have laying around.

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Old 11-10-2007, 01:00 AM   #9
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Ah, that explains a lot, the carboy was moved just previous to the appearance of the bubbles. The taste isn't really what made me worry about contamination, but the filmy/whispy floating bits around the top that don't want to settle (it's been about a month in secondary), has any one seen this before? I would attach a picture if my camera had batteries.

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