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Old 11-08-2006, 12:32 PM   #1
kolyur
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Default New cider maker having trouble

I just started my first batch of hard cider and I'm hoping to get some advice here as I'm having trouble right out of the gate.

I'm using 5 gallons of unpreserved, unpasteurized cider that I picked up at the local orchard. I also used a package of Wyeast #3766 cider yeast.

First, I sanitized everything with a dilute bleach solution and rinsed with hot water until all traces of the bleach smell were gone. I let the cider come to room temperature and added it to the carboy, making sure to aerate well. I smacked the yeast packet and let it incubate 3 hours per the instructions. I added it to the cider and put the airlock on after shaking the whole thing vigourously.

So here's the problem. I checked on my brew after 24 hours and there is no activity, no bubbling at all. Plus, I noticed a solid layer at the bottom of the carboy. I am assuming I did something wrong. It is my understanding that the yeast is supposed to stay dissolved in solution until it does its job (1-2 weeks?), then it dies and falls to the bottom. So either the primary fermentation finished in under 24 hours (unlikely), or I screwed up somewhere along the line.

Please help!

-John



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Old 11-08-2006, 12:36 PM   #2
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The layer at the bottom is probably settled solids from the cider.

As for the yeast, did the pack fully inflate? Three hours is the minimum. I've had packs fully swell in three hours and I've had some do nothing for 12.

One thing about cider - it lacks the proteins which cause a krausen and the fermentation usually isn't as vigorous as with a beer. Give it another 24 before you consider re-pitching. If your yeast didn't fully propagate, it might take them 2-3 days to build up a successfull colony. Keep the lid on it and look for small, bubbly white patches on the surface.

Did you add any yeast nutrient to your cider?



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Old 11-08-2006, 01:53 PM   #3
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Cheesefood, thanks for your response.

The yeast pack did inflate considerably but you are correct that I only let it incubate for the minimum time (3 hrs). On the Wyeast website they recommend 6-12 hours as a minimum. I'll let it stew for another couple days and see what happens.

I did not add any additional yeast nutrient as I was under the impression that the nutrient pack in the yeast package was sufficient. Should I try that next time?

Also, I have seen some recipes that call for adding additional sugar to the cider, to increase fermentation I suppose. Is that worthwhile to try on my next batch?

I appreciate everyone's help!

-John

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Old 11-08-2006, 02:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur
I did not add any additional yeast nutrient as I was under the impression that the nutrient pack in the yeast package was sufficient. Should I try that next time?

Also, I have seen some recipes that call for adding additional sugar to the cider, to increase fermentation I suppose. Is that worthwhile to try on my next batch?
See how you like this batch and figure out if more sugar will improve it or not. As for nutrient, I was under the assumption that ciders, meads and other fermented products benefit from nutrient.
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:10 PM   #5
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I don't like adding sugar to cider. It raises the ABV, but makes it harsh & increases the amount of time it takes to age. You could take a sanitized spoon and stir (rouse) the yeast again, but CF's entirely correct about it.

By the way, yeast doesn't dissolve, it's suspended. Then it flocculates (falls to the bottom). Learning the lingo is part of the fun.

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Old 11-08-2006, 11:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur
Cheesefood, thanks for your response.

The yeast pack did inflate considerably but you are correct that I only let it incubate for the minimum time (3 hrs). On the Wyeast website they recommend 6-12 hours as a minimum. I'll let it stew for another couple days and see what happens.

I did not add any additional yeast nutrient as I was under the impression that the nutrient pack in the yeast package was sufficient. Should I try that next time?

Also, I have seen some recipes that call for adding additional sugar to the cider, to increase fermentation I suppose. Is that worthwhile to try on my next batch?

I appreciate everyone's help!

-John

Hey, I wouldn't be to worried about the yeast too much, I think that if it's inflated, then it should be ok. I used a smack pak that I only let incubate for an hour and 45 min and so far my beer has been doing fine. It took a little while for bubbles to start appearing, but I expected that. I don't know how it works with cider, but I'm pretty sure you should be ok in that department.
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur
I just started my first batch of hard cider and I'm hoping to get some advice here as I'm having trouble right out of the gate.

I'm using 5 gallons of unpreserved, unpasteurized cider that I picked up at the local orchard. I also used a package of Wyeast #3766 cider yeast.

First, I sanitized everything with a dilute bleach solution and rinsed with hot water until all traces of the bleach smell were gone. I let the cider come to room temperature and added it to the carboy, making sure to aerate well. I smacked the yeast packet and let it incubate 3 hours per the instructions. I added it to the cider and put the airlock on after shaking the whole thing vigourously.

So here's the problem. I checked on my brew after 24 hours and there is no activity, no bubbling at all. Plus, I noticed a solid layer at the bottom of the carboy. I am assuming I did something wrong. It is my understanding that the yeast is supposed to stay dissolved in solution until it does its job (1-2 weeks?), then it dies and falls to the bottom. So either the primary fermentation finished in under 24 hours (unlikely), or I screwed up somewhere along the line.

Please help!

-John
I'm happy you are getting help here, but in the future please remember there IS a cider board here!
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
...in the future please remember there IS a cider board here!
Today 07:35 PM
Yes I saw that but I am also a beginner, so I wasn't sure which forum to post to. In the future I will post to the cider board.

Thanks for everyone's help--I am starting to see some bubbling in my carboy so I think I just need to wait it out.

-John
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur
Yes I saw that but I am also a beginner, so I wasn't sure which forum to post to. In the future I will post to the cider board.

Thanks for everyone's help--I am starting to see some bubbling in my carboy so I think I just need to wait it out.

-John
You are in the right place.
Don't sweat it.


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