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Old 10-05-2011, 07:49 PM   #1
Rooster286
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Default Blueberry Hard Cider (using SORBATED cider!!!)

Just wanted to pass along my success story with my first cider I made. I have a number of brew sessions under my belt for both beer and mead. The long and short of the sorbated cider was I had it on a grocery list and didn't specify and the wife picked me up 4 gallons of local (but sorbated) cider from BJ's wholesale.

Assuming gloom and doom, I decided to take a crack at getting this thing diluted a bit with non sorbated cider or alternately blueberry juice (I used Wyman's which is not 100% blueberry but is mostly, and the remainder is made up of apple and grape juices). After reading a long list of issues (and some successes) with sorbated juice, i decided to make a strong starter:

32oz pasteurized and preserved (ascorbic acid as the only preservative) apple juice. I literally just poured out half the juice in a 64oz container, pitched in a packet of Safale S-05, 1/4 tsp nutrients, and 1/8th tsp yeast energizer and loosely screwed the top back on.

18 hours later I had a VERY vigorous fermentation in the starter with a nice cake on the bottom already.

Proceeded to fill a 7 gal fermenter with the following:

4 gal cider (sorbated)
1 gal blueberry juice (wymans)
1.5 lb brown sugar (dissolved into the leftover 32oz of apple juice)
1 TBSP yeast nutrient
1 tsp yeast energizer
pectic enzyme as directed (1.25 tsp maybe?)

gave it a good agitating to oxygenate and pitched in my S-05 at 68 degrees, sealed it up and put it in the basement.

4 days have passed, and it's really going to town. SG was 1.064 and has dropped to 1.03, I'll be stopping it at 1.016 to keep it sweet but the yeast is having no trouble at all so far with the sorbate and there are no off smells or tastes in the sampling I took to measure SG so I don't believe it's struggling at all.

Just wanted to get advice into the search index that you can absolutely ferment even if sorbated commercially, and you can do so without a struggle as some folks have reported, so don't give up if you make a mistake when shopping.

I have no idea if it's related to the dilution of 1 gal blueberry juice and .5 gal of apple juice used for the starter, or the giant healthy colony I threw in, or a combination of all the aforementioned factors but it worked like a charm.

I'll update everyone after I bottle and pasteurize and get a taste of it at it's FG. I'll try to throw up a pic or two as well. I imagine it'll stay pretty cloudy even with the pectic since I'm not conditioning or bulk aging but i'm ok with that provided it tastes great

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.


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Old 10-05-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
Brewkowski
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That is good news, and interesting. I've seen recipes for things like Skeeter Pee that used juices with preservatives, but it's good to know that you can do it with fresh stuff. I wonder if an SO2 test would work to see what level of sorbate is in the cider? Maybe it's a light enough dose that by adding additional juice, a supercharged starter, and agitation that it overwhelms the preservative.
Makes me think about it, there aren't very many places to pick up fresh cider near me, but the grocery does offer a brand that has Sorbate in it. I'm just scared to spend $25 on cider that I'll have to dump out.


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Old 10-06-2011, 04:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hophead75 View Post
That is good news, and interesting. I've seen recipes for things like Skeeter Pee that used juices with preservatives, but it's good to know that you can do it with fresh stuff. I wonder if an SO2 test would work to see what level of sorbate is in the cider? Maybe it's a light enough dose that by adding additional juice, a supercharged starter, and agitation that it overwhelms the preservative.
Makes me think about it, there aren't very many places to pick up fresh cider near me, but the grocery does offer a brand that has Sorbate in it. I'm just scared to spend $25 on cider that I'll have to dump out.
could also scale the ratio down to a gallon or two total volume and test for a bit cheaper

Once this is all gone in a couple of months, fresh press cider won't be available and I'll probably take another crack at the same, or 4 gal cider 1 gal something other than blueberry. Assuming you have the same gravity or close in whatever non sorbated juice you use, I can't imagine it matters much
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:45 AM   #4
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Here's a pic...looks like it'll be down to 1.016 tomorrow

cloudy and crashed out a buttload of sediment in this glass in the fridge...but fermenting great
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