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Old 11-06-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
rockytop714
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Jul 2012
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so I just pitched the yeast on my second try at hard cider, last night. I'd expected to come downstairs this morning to find it bubbling away in the airlock but... no such luck.

for my first batch, I used champagne yeast, but I did a starter with a water, sugar, and honey solution. With that, I got a very strong fermentation. The cider turned out ok, but a little lacking on flavor, which I've already posted about and am attempting to resolve, with this batch. Thank you all very much, again, for the suggestions, there.

At any rate, I felt that that fermentation might have been a little "fast". The cider lost a lot of apple flavor and, in the first few days of fermentation, I was picking up some mild sulpher smells in the airlock.

I wanted to go a little slower with this one. So I did the 24 hr campden soak, added yeast energizer and pectic enzyme, but then I pitched the champagne yeast, dry. it was until I'd already pitched it that I read the package (something I do more than I care to admit - if all else fails, read the instructions, right?) where it said to rehydrate the dry yeast before pitching.

So I don't know if I messed up, or if this is common to champagne yeast. I'm still a beginner brewer but, in the few batches I've made, I'm used to the fermentation starting in the first 5-8 hrs or so. There are no bubbles in the airlock, but there is a layer of foam on the top of the cider and what looks like a layer of lees, already, at the bottom of the carboy... is this evidence of anything?

I have a package of dry ale yeast on deck, if I need to go with "Plan B", but I wanted to get on here, first, and see if this is normal and I should just wait, or if I already screwed something up and might as well dump.

please let me know what you all think, when you get a chance. Thanks!

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
Rigger103
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Dec 2011
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id like to piggyback on your question: how long does the really active fermentation last once it starts. I started my first batch of cider (or anything alcohol ) this past Friday. The Specific Gravity at start was 1.016. by end of day Friday it was bubbling to beat the band and it lasted for 4 solid days this morning it bubbles once about every 15 to 20 seconds. Is a dramatic drop like that normal? My room temp has a small range in it from 70 degrees to 66 degrees. I did use yeast nutrient and cours de blank yeast.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #3
WoodlandBrew
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Both fermentations sound normal. The foam on the top and yeast floculating to the bottom is an indication that fermentation is active. you may not see activity in the air lock if you don't have a good seal, or if there is a large head space. Nothing to worry about. Also a sudden drop in activity from one day to the next is also normal.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
rockytop714
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thanks a lot for the reassurance. it's just not what I'm used to seeing and it threw me off, a bit. There is slightly more head space in the carboy than my first batch (due to the liquid from the yeast starter in the first batch, I assume). So that may have something to do with it. Regardless, I will be sure to check the seal on the lid/airlock, when I get home from work, today, to make sure all is well.

Thanks again!

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:48 PM   #5
Lgaddy44
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I made a batch of Ed Wort's Apfelwein, using Montrachet, on Saturday night. I didn't see any activity in the airlock until Monday morning.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
rockytop714
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great. that makes me feel a lot better. If it's not bubbling by tomorrow night, then I guess I can be worried. haha...

thanks a lot.

oh, off topic, but I just have to comment that it's nice to see responses from folks in my neck of the woods. Rigger in Newville and Lgaddy44 in Frederick, either of which is about 40 minutes from me.

Cheers

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:18 PM   #7
UlyssesGrant
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My batch that I made with champagne yeast started fermenting vigorously within 24hrs. Then again, I didn't use campden, yeast activator or pectic enzyme. If one of your carboys seems to be going really slow, sometimes just grabbing the neck and giving it a little shake can be enough to get dormant yeast off the top and down, into the cider.

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
Nannerfox
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Aug 2012
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I used Pasteur Champagne yeast on a batch that was slow as hell fermenting. The entire time it looked like it was a dead batch and maybe only had a light froth in the center of the top of the cider- after 2 weeks the hydrometer told the truth- there was a significant difference between my starting and final readings. And you could definitely smell/taste it. The champagne is resilient to higher alcohol percentages, so be patient.

The next batch I did was using highly recommended Nottingham yeast, and good lord did that take off FAST. My 2 gallon test batch was done fermenting within 3 days, and had a head on it inches thick.

Used the same ratio of yeast nutrient on both, and the champagne batch was actual farm-fresh cider, as opposed to the Nottingham batch being from store bought filtered.

It'll happen. give it time

 
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:25 AM   #9
rockytop714
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I'm happy to report that I just checked in on my cider and she's a-bubblin'

thank you all for the responses and reassurance, today. You gave me the confidence to be patient

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:17 AM   #10
FlyinDan1017
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Anymore I don't pitch anything without a healthy starter colony going. Started my cider 10/14 using EC-1118 and pitched starter that night. Starter was nothing fancy, just 1/2 cup water to hydrate 45mins, 1/4 cup must wait 2-3 hrs, repeat twice, pitch. Took the cider from 1.083 to 1.008 in 4 days!!

For nothing else, I use a starter for the piece of mind knowing that 1) the packet is viable, 2) the little fellars have multiplied a few times and are hungry for where they'll live, and 3) to get to a safe ABV environment to minimize the chances of any contamination.
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