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Old 04-02-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
Feb 2009
Cleveland, OH
Posts: 60

Hello all,
I have been doing some 5 gallon batch brewing since December with pretty good results. But hit a nice wall when I tried to ferment some cider through many errors of my own.

First, the specs.
I was using a local Fruit Farm's Sweet Cider which is Pasturized and has 0.1% Potasium Sorbate in it (Stupid new Ohio Law.)

In early trials this cider worked well with dry yeast in a Pint vessel, I got a real attinuation of 24.2 in one week from bread yeast (I know crap but it was just to see if the yeast would take not to drink)

So I figured OK I'll go up to 5 gallons and have some cider.

My measued O.G. was 1.058 corrected for temperature.
I used 4.5 Gallons in a 5 Gallon Carboy.
I pitched an Activator Pack of Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead 50B Cell Cout.
And I did this all with a cider temperature of 53F
Oh and I didn't aerate.

Yea I see some problems there.
Obviously the fermentation took off like a drifting land mass and now 3/30/09 I have a S.G. of 1.050 for an Aparent Attinuation of 13.1%. And it tastes ok but still sweet. The fermentation happened at around 65F. I now have it crashed in the fridge to either just rack into a Keg to wait out the summer (this is for a wedding in September) or fix or toss.

My Question:
Did I just make 4.5 Gallons of Liquid Apple Flavored Headache from the miserable fermentation? Am I riding the Acetobacter express to vinegar town? Or:
Could I rack off the lame yeast aerate and repitch a starter of 4184 or another yeast and have something drinkable in the middle of September?

Should I just drink it now and try again in June when the Orchard releases their frozen cider storage?

Or should I save myself the horrible headache and chuck it and start over in June?

Or should I just stick to Beer and carbonate a keg of their sweet cider for the wedding and just tell people it's been fermented?

Thanks all.

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Old 04-02-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
Nov 2007
Spring Valley, Ohio
Posts: 1,379
Liked 12 Times on 10 Posts

You're saying all farmers have to add sorbate now in Ohio? First that is shocking, second if its true that is horrible.

But potassium sorbate is designed to prevent fermentation essentially, so that's not good from the start. That could be a big reason why you have a whopping 1.048% abv so far. I would probably try repitching with a stronger yeast. I personally don't like activator pouches, I used them when I first started and have since decided they are too expensive and not worth it. I use strictly dry yeasts, such as 71b (not great for cider) D47, ec1118, etc. If you want it dry, I would pitch a strong wine yeast, hoping it can overcome the sorbate. Seeing as, assuming you didn't mistake the 1.050 reading, the yeast did begin to ferment, repitching may be the cure.

You still have time to get something ready by september. Either trying to repitch on this or buying some more juice and pitching a better yeast from the start. But if you buy more juice, try to get some that doesn't have sorbate in it, as that's a b*tch to overcome.
Meads: Hababero and Sarrano Capiscumel, Show Mead possibly getting split and flavored, and 12 gallons of Bochet Deliciousness
Ciders:3 Ciders with differing additives TBD, Strawberry/Apple Cider
Wine: Black Cherry Vanilla Port

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Old 04-02-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
Feb 2009
Cleveland, OH
Posts: 60

Perhaps they just blamed it on Ohio to justify puting it in to stop the supermarkets from sending back fermented product (which the stuff would do if you looked at it funny)

I'm not looking for super dry, 4-5% ABV would be fine.

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