Originally Posted by RandallT
I have been perusing this site for about a week and decided that there is an amazing amount of knowledge aboard. I made hard cider once when I was in high school simply by loosening a cap on some raw cider and sticking it into the back of my closet. I pretty much forgot it was there until a couple months later and I got a strong smell when I opened up the door one morning. What I discovered was a gallon of of cider in fermentation. I cleaned out almost all of the gunk around the top and just let it sit another week or so before drinking it, straight out of the bottle. It was delicious and pretty strong-two glasses would get a 16 year old kid buzzed. My question is if I want to go completely natural with no added yeast, just using the wild yeasts in a gallon of unpasturized cider A:How long should it take for the fermentation process. B: Is there any danger of ecoli infecting the brew since it sits unpasteurized and unrefrigerated. Thanks in advance for any replies. I really get a kick out of watching something natural progress and I am reluctant to use sulfides as I have had some bad reactions from wines I have drunk that contain it.
Using the wild yeasts present in the apples is a traditional and perfectly legitimate way of making cider.
It's not something I've done myself but I have drunk some commercial varieties and it is an aim I have to do one day.
Look up breton cider making or normandy cider making. There's a great step by step by a breton cider maker here: http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/cider_1.htm
I use some of the methods described (such as that for clarification) but I do use a specific yeast strain to control fermentation. There is a possibility that the wild yeasts will give you variable resuls until you know your apples and what to expect.
Also look up scrumpy.
Sulphites in my experience are not a necessary part of cider making. they have certain uses (in terms of kegging and making sweeter cider etc) but like you I don't like them or their effects and can taste them in commercial ciders.
With or without wild yeast, you can make good, sulphite free cider.
As for e.coli - that's really only a concern with unpasteurised soft cider. If your juice is fresh and you start ferment straight away then the pH and alcoholic environment will be inhospitable to e.coli and other stomach rupturing organisms.