bitter cider - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > bitter cider

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-21-2013, 07:10 PM   #1
columbian
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Washougal, Washington
Posts: 18
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts



I used to make cider casually decades ago. It was cloudy and yeasty, but fun to drink.
Being all grown up now, I picked, ground and squeezed a variety of apples last Fall (2012), then loaded up a 5-gal carboy and fermented it with a store-bought yeast. After fermentation had stopped, I racked it a couple of times, yielding the clearest cider I ever made. After that I racked it into gallon jugs (plastic juice bottles) and put it on a garage shelf.

But about then, I started having health problems, and was unable to care for the cider.

When I finally tasted it, about a month ago, it was not pleasant-- kind of brackish and bitter. I tried simply dissolving some brown sugar in it, and even bottled a few bottles like that, kind of hoping for either a sweeter cider or possibly some carbonation.

The resulting stuff tastes sweet, but the underlying bitterness comes through a lot. The taste is not sour, like vinegar; more like kerosene.

Is there likely any way to save these 2-4 gallons of hard work and apples? This yearís crop is kind of small, and I am not strong enough to pick or do the cleaning, grinding and squeezing yet, anyhow.

Sorry if these questions have been asked and answered already. I looked, but didnít find anything.

Thanks for any help.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
Maverick22
Recipes 
 
Apr 2013
Posts: 49
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


How long did you say it has been going? A month?

As I have read and observed time solves 90% of bitterness problems.

Another thing is, did your cider ferment fast? Usually when it does it creates these different alcohols that can be described as having a kerosene like taste or smell. So there's that.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
PVNelson
Recipes 
 
Oct 2012
Posts: 2

I have a feeling that the kerosene aroma/flavor is a result of the plastic bottles that you stored your cider in. Have you ever left a half drank bottle of water in your car for a week or two then cracked the lid and smelled and/or drank it? I've never tried one, but you could try filtering it with an activated carbon filtering kit. Good luck.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
columbian
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Washougal, Washington
Posts: 18
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick22 View Post
How long did you say it has been going? A month?

As I have read and observed time solves 90% of bitterness problems.

Another thing is, did your cider ferment fast? Usually when it does it creates these different alcohols that can be described as having a kerosene like taste or smell. So there's that.
Started fermentation last November (2012) so time's probably not the solution.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
columbian
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Washougal, Washington
Posts: 18
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by PVNelson View Post
I have a feeling that the kerosene aroma/flavor is a result of the plastic bottles that you stored your cider in.
That's certainly possible. But 2 things give me hope it's not:
1 these jugs are sturdy, and apparently well-made ones from fruit or vegetable juice;
2 It tasted sort of like this right after fermentation in a glass carboy had stopped, and during the first few weeks after racking.

As they've sat through Winter, Spring and Summer, the temperature was not controlled other than by being in the garage, it was less hot in the summer and less cold in the Winter.

By the way, I froze a lot of sweet unfermented juice from the same batch, and it tastes great.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
Maverick22
Recipes 
 
Apr 2013
Posts: 49
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


You don't happen to have ph strips lying around, do you?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
Albionwood
Recipes 
 
Apr 2013
Posts: 120
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts


Couple of possibilities. Most likely, from your description, is wild yeast and/or bacterial effects; these cause the kind of solventy, chemical-y, odd flavors that I used to describe as somewhere between bitterness and sourness. Sometimes this actually improves a cider, by adding complexity (especially if it's Brettanomyces at work), but it can be too much and then it's bad. Storing in plastic unfortunately seems to promote this kind of thing, by slow oxygen diffusion into the cider.

Another possibility is simply oxidation from being storred so long in plastic. Usually this gives cardboardy taste, but in ciders it can also produce these odd chemical flavors.

Neither is reversible, I'm afraid. If it isn't too overpowering, sometimes you can add honey and let it referment, and the honey notes help offset the wild character - if that's what it is.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
columbian
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Washougal, Washington
Posts: 18
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick22 View Post
You don't happen to have ph strips lying around, do you?
No ph strips here, but I can get them.

Why do you ask?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:38 PM   #9
Maverick22
Recipes 
 
Apr 2013
Posts: 49
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


You can test if your cider has turned acidic due to oxidation.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
columbian
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Washougal, Washington
Posts: 18
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Albionwood View Post
Couple of possibilities. Most likely, from your description, is wild yeast and/or bacterial effects; these cause the kind of solventy, chemical-y, odd flavors that I used to describe as somewhere between bitterness and sourness. Sometimes this actually improves a cider, by adding complexity (especially if it's Brettanomyces at work), but it can be too much and then it's bad. Storing in plastic unfortunately seems to promote this kind of thing, by slow oxygen diffusion into the cider.

Another possibility is simply oxidation from being storred so long in plastic. Usually this gives cardboardy taste, but in ciders it can also produce these odd chemical flavors.

Neither is reversible, I'm afraid. If it isn't too overpowering, sometimes you can add honey and let it referment, and the honey notes help offset the wild character - if that's what it is.
Not good news, but not unexpected either. Sounds like I cut my losses and do the next one in glass.

For the secondary fermentation, would it be ok to put only about 3 gallons in a 5 or 6.5 gal carboy? Or would the extra space create a problem? and do I put an airlock on during secondary?

I don't even remember why I put it in the plastic instead of another carboy.

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
bitter cider mlewisblue Cider Forum 0 10-17-2012 03:28 AM
Bitter Cider amazinglarry Cider Forum 3 12-27-2011 02:59 PM
Cider not bitter enough - What should I add to it? lwn432 Cider Forum 5 01-06-2011 09:30 PM
Cider Still Quite Bitter welshgaz Cider Forum 3 09-14-2009 11:11 AM
Cider too bitter btencate Cider Forum 6 05-30-2008 03:20 PM


Forum Jump