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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Lazy (too lazy?) cider experiment - what now?
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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Default Lazy (too lazy?) cider experiment - what now?

Last year I bought 2 gallons of organic unfiltered apple cider with the intention of brewing hard cider that ended up fermenting and exploding in my fridge in the original sealed containers before I got around to dealing with them (but the resulting mess was delicious and had quite a kick!)

This year I vowed that wouldn't happen, but also didn't get my act together in time. When I saw that this year's gallon of cider that had been sealed in my fridge for ~5 weeks in anticipation of doing things right was bubbling, I simply took it out and put a washed pricked balloon over the mouth after removing the cap. Since it was from the same orchard as last year's batch, I figure the wild yeast in it might not be so bad.

For about 10 days, there were nice smells and sounds of bubbling, but now the sound has ceased although the balloon is still under pressure.

My questions are as follows:

-Although this is not a technically-informed approach, is there any likelihood of drinkable success at this point?
-Is this stuff in the bottom of the jug the lees, or something less desirable (see pic)? If so, when/how should I rack it?
-Does the lack of audible bubbling mean the fermentation has run its course? Does adding sugar and/or cultured yeast at this point make sense?
-Is the alcohol going to leach the plastic out of the gallon jug and taste awful/kill me?
-What would you do at this point?

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Old 11-19-2008, 07:09 PM   #2
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I don't know, but that is an awesome experiment! Someone with more experience should be answering this one... but I would save it for another year and drink it then!

Beer, happy Produce of our Isle/Can sinewy Strength impart,
And wearied with Fatigue and Toil/Can cheer each manly Heart.
Labour and Art upheld by Thee/Successfully advance,
We quaff Thy balmy Juice with Glee/And Water leave to France.
Genius of Health, thy grateful Taste/Rivals the Cup of Jove,
And warms each English generous Breast/With Liberty and Love!
(Rev James Townley, 1751)
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:15 PM   #3
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When I was in college it was always drinkable if I made it that way. But we weren't that picky back then.

THe stuff on the bottom are the solids(you said it was unfiltered) that are settling out and dead yeasties.

I'll bet fermentation has slowed enough where you can go ahead and try it. If it sucks you've only lost 4$ and a balloon!
"Your HYDROMETER is the only BEST indicator of fermentation activity. Nothing else is accurate or consistent"...Revvy
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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this is actually the "ideal" way to make a hard cider...using the natural yeasts that are already with the apple. You aren't adding sugar, yeast, or any other it should ferment out just fine, and actually be a fairly sweet "hard cider" since you didn't add any sugar that would ferment out to alcohol. I'd say wait until the balloon goes limp and give it a try...rack it to another jug and let it clear a bit.

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Racking: I found this site while looking at a previous thread about racking vs. not racking cider, so I thought I'd add my two cents here. Racking will produce a more consistant cider. If you were producing a commercial product or perfecting a recipe, its important. For a homebrew, especially an experiment like this-- its really unimportant and plus: yeast has lots of B vitamins!! Yummy!
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:40 PM   #6
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Actually racking is definitely not just for more consistent product. It helps the clarifying process, as well as prevent any off flavors that can develop from leaving it on the lees to long. Dead yeast can produce some bad things in brew, however I think making your brew in this type of "equipment" is a greater risk than not racking. In this case though, I would rack into a clear container and use an airlock. You can either buy one and rig it to your jug, or you can just seal a short length of tubing to the jug and place the other end in a container of water, creating what is known as a blow off, but is also an airlock.

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Ciders:3 Ciders with differing additives TBD, Strawberry/Apple Cider
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