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Old 08-02-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Spontaneously Fermented Cider

How is traditional spontaneously fermented cider produced? Is it just a matter of the culture already living in the barrels, or does it primarily come from the fruit each year?

If one was starting a cider production operation, how would one go about establishing a sufficient population of native yeasts in the fermentation equipment to fully ferment the cider?

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Old 08-02-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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Cider Making (found with google "naturally ferment cider") along with the search function here will yeild many pages of reading...
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis97322 View Post
Cider Making (found with google "naturally ferment cider") along with the search function here will yeild many pages of reading...
I don't think you should treat that link as reliable scientific info, even though it is presented as such. It is based on 2 very old references, even though there is some good info there, there is also some misleading stuff for example about pH and SO2.

Whatever the source, your cider will ferment naturally if left for a few days. I have never done it but I imagine the results would be unpredictable. Most people don't like the waiting and risking the precious juice.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
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My German mate who grew up making "Aeppelwoin" or "viez" on the farm in Frankfurt slags me off for putting anything in my apple juice when making cider or apfelwein. They pressed the apples and then left the lot in plastic fermenters to ferment, that was it, no additions at all.

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Old 08-03-2009, 01:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gregbathurst View Post
I don't think you should treat that link as reliable scientific info, even though it is presented as such. It is based on 2 very old references, even though there is some good info there, there is also some misleading stuff for example about pH and SO2.

Whatever the source, your cider will ferment naturally if left for a few days. I have never done it but I imagine the results would be unpredictable. Most people don't like the waiting and risking the precious juice.
Thanks for pointing out that it may not be reliable - I simply did a quick google search and posted what looked to be reasonably sound advice/ information. Your post would have been more helpful, however, if you'd posted an alternative.

That said - I plan on making up a decent batch of cider this year and fermenting ~1/2 naturally and sulfiting then adding commercial yeast to the other half.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis97322 View Post
Thanks for pointing out that it may not be reliable - I simply did a quick google search and posted what looked to be reasonably sound advice/ information. Your post would have been more helpful, however, if you'd posted an alternative.

That said - I plan on making up a decent batch of cider this year and fermenting ~1/2 naturally and sulfiting then adding commercial yeast to the other half.
Unfortunately there is a bit of a shortage of good reliable cider info on the net. Often when i search I come up against scientific papers requiring a subscription to view. Much that I see is just rehashing of old info, good stuff mixed with bad.

Your plan for 2 batches sounds excellent, just be a bit patient with the natural batch. The great thing about cider/wine making is you never make the same drink twice, every batch is an adventure.
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:51 AM   #7
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I’ve done about a dozen single gallons with wild yeast and two keg batches. A few have come out exceptionally good and quite a few also that were crappy. The difference boils down mostly to two factors:

1) Keep handling of the juice to the absolute minimum. If you press the juice yourself, cut off any rotten spots or bruises on the apples. If you go to a press, make sure that they steam clean it between pressings. On pressing day, show up as early in the day at the press as possible, so the juice hasn’t been sitting in the holding tank for any length of time. From the holding tank, pour it straight to a sanitized carboy with a sanitized bung and when you get it home, put a sanitized airlock on it. Any time you check gravity, be super careful with sanitation.

2) Don’t let the FG get below 1.010. Actually, the lowest I’ve been able to get a batch to go and still taste decent is 1.014, but you might be able to do a little better. My experience with going below 1.014 is that the juice would either pick up weird flavors or lose flavor.

The juice will have enough yeast to spontaneously ferment. It may take several days. For one of my better batches it took a week for fermentation to start, so don’t give up before at least a week.

If you are successful in a wild yeast batch, then you will have achieve good enough sanitation so that you don’t need to add k-meta before you add yeast. The cultured yeast will always dominate the wild yeast, so you have the cultured yeast taste, but also a little flavor from the wild yeast. Plus you don’t have to wait for months for the k-meta sourness to wear off.

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Old 10-29-2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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If you are successful in a wild yeast batch, then you will have achieve good enough sanitation so that you don’t need to add k-meta before you add yeast. The cultured yeast will always dominate the wild yeast, so you have the cultured yeast taste, but also a little flavor from the wild yeast. Plus you don’t have to wait for months for the k-meta sourness to wear off.
Can you clarify what you mean here? I'm a little confused.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:23 PM   #9
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If your wild batches ferment out clean, then you know that both your juice source and sanitation practices are good enough that you can skip the k-meta when you make batches using cultured yeast. That will give you more apple taste and you can drink it earlier. See the sticky for more details

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Old 11-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #10
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I wasn't aware of spontaneous/wild fermentations w/ cider till...now. I recently made a 1 gallon batch of cider using "tree top" cider. I used a dry English ale yeast for it.

I bought a second gallon of "tree top" to top off the first batch when I secondary it in the next few days. When I bought it (4 days ago?), I realized I never took a OG on my batch, so when I got home I took a quick sample for the hydrometer (and covered the juice while sampling/sterilized the lid of the jug) of the new store bought cider, then quickly recapped it.

However, I forgot to refrigerate the new juice. 4 days later (or so), I walk out to the garage and smelled a bit of sulfur. I assumed it was a Riesling kit I have in the chest freezer/fermentation chamber- but that kit should be done fermenting. I looked around and noticed the jug of apple cider, and it had a lot of foam on it... and the bottle was distorted by the CO2 pressure! REALLY distorted! I was lucky to catch it when i did, i would of had a nasty mess.

I then assumed it wasn't worth keeping around - especially given the time of night right now. I dumped most of the "surprise" cider but took a good sized taste. The fermentation was very young - the cider was still very sweet, and the sulfur scent was still slightly present in a small sampler glass.

Was this a wild yeast? I used my sterilized thief to get the sample... is it possible there was a microorganism still on it or yeast? (I do clean my gear after each use).

Cool! but weird........

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