So my second batch of "just juice" went through a few gyrations in 10 days, and offered a bubble or two, but when I checked the SG today it was actually a touch higher than when I started!
For reference, here's how my brewing history has gone:
- Batch 1: Picked apples, juiced them, put juice in carboy with airlock. Pitched yeast / pectic enzyme / sugar into first batch, everything has gone according to plan. Currently finished fermenting dry and is bulk aging uneventfully.
- Batch 2: Stumbled across $10 orchard ladder at yard sale. Gleefully brought it home, picked another two gallons worth of apples I couldn't reach before; juiced them, tried just putting juice and pectic enzyme in carboy with airlock. Experiment a success! Sipping results of said success even now, bottle carbed with table sugar and lightly backsweetened with sucrose -- cracked first bottle, not much carbonation just yet but I'm patient and LOVE the flavor.
- Batch 3: Thought I was done for the season, but no! Got my hands on an apple picker dealie that goes on the end of a pole -- picked still more apples now within reach, two more gallons and pectic enzyme in a carboy!
This third batch had little bits of yeasties going up to the top, then falling down, and almost too-small-to-see bubbles I could just make out in the juice. And it bubbled from time to time out of the airlock. But, as I said, SG is almost exactly where I started -- within the margin of error, I'm sure -- and there was no offgassing as I thiefed out a sample to test. It hasn't clouded up like the first wild yeast batch -- that one looked for all the world like the store-bought yeast had during its fermentation.
Is it possible my neighborhood wild yeast took a dive in the month or so between pickings? We did have a freeze out there, but the apples seemed fine -- slightly more sugar than the first ones, actually. Or could it be that the house is a touch colder? It's maybe 65 compared to 70 in here. Or something else I haven't thought of?
And, on which note: go buy yeast? Wait? Pour a bottle of the stuff that worked into the one that hasn't yet? It's a puzzler.