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Old 06-05-2013, 05:03 AM   #1
FatsSchindee
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Default What is this on top of my cider?

This gallon of cider was started 4/6, racked to secondary on 5/8, and just within the last week has developed this whitish filmy stuff on the top. Hoping one of you has seen something similar and can give me some info. This is my first batch that I've left age this long (had more recent ones that I've just bottled after primary)... Hoping its just yeast, but thinking it might be some sort of infection. It's otherwise pretty clear, and really no yeast sediment on the bottom. For additional info: used While Foods organic apple juice, Nottingham yeast, fermented room temp (warmer than ideal;and could taste some fusels during gravity tests), 1/4cup AJC added prior to fermentation (and 30 raisins, 1/2tsp pectic enzyme, 1/4tsp wine tannin), OG was 1.055, SG was 1.004 on 4/18, FG was 1.001 when transferred to secondary.

Thanks for any help!

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Old 06-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Aerobic bacteria infection.

Looks like you have too much headspace for secondary. The French have a saying, "Air is the enemy of cider". Ideally it should be filled all the way to the neck as close to the bung as possible. If you can purge the carboy with CO2 that's even better.

Since it's still early, you can rack out from underneath the pellicle, leaving it behind. If you want to continue to secondary it, I suggest adding ~ 50ppm sulfites, and going into a smaller container to minimize air surface contact. Or, you can prime and bottle now and cold-crash to hopefully halt any further growth or pasteurize the bottles, which will definitely kill the infection.

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Old 06-05-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info... I figured it wasn't good! That's what I don't like about doing these 1 gal batches: take two samples for gravity readings and the loss to trub from racking once and you have much less relative volume left over! I've heard of people using sanitized marbles or ss balls to fill up the space... Would that be a good idea in the future? Or do they make 4/5 gal containers or something similar? Also, the sulfites you mention... Would Campden tablets work (K metabisulfite)? I also have K sorbate for stabilizing too... would that help? I know with both I wouldn't be able to bottle condition, as they'd kill the yeast remaining too, right? Or, like you said, maybe I should just rack out from underneath it into a bottling bucket with priming sugar, carb up, then stovetop pasteurize... That might be my best bet, as i do prefer some sparkle to still ciders...

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Old 06-05-2013, 10:40 PM   #4
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Campden = k-META = SO2. I'd add some even if planning to bottle condition and pasteurize, won't hurt the yeast a bit.

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Old 06-10-2013, 09:17 PM   #5
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Thanks... I hit it with one Campden tab per gallon, mixed it up, and left it alone during my last trip. Came back last night and they were both all cleared up! And you're right about the yeast... I was confusing it with K sorbate - that's the one that you use to stop yeast activity when wanting to backsweeten but not bottle condition, right?

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