1 week into first Cyser, Panicked, is it salvageable?

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Icepick23

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Hello!

So exactly a week ago I started my first ever homebrew. I bought two gallon jugs of apple cider from Whole Foods, and left one as is, and the other poured 1.5 lbs of honey into. Then I added 1tsp of Yeast Nutrient (Urea and Diammonium Phosphate) and 1/2 tsp of pectic enzyme to each jug, as well as 1/2 tsp of wine tannins to the one with honey. I poured half of a 5g pack of Safcider yeast into each gallon, and let them sit.

They both took off real quick, and were going steadily. These last few days however I noticed them slowing down, so started swirling them a bit to get things moving more. Well today I looked at them and they were both at a complete standstill with lots of sediment on the bottom. I looked it up and a forum post told me that yeast can crash in cold temperature swells, and not start up again because they are all on the bottom. So, I capped the bottle of my cyser and tried shaking it rigorously. Soon I realized it was creating a bit of co2, so I put the stopper back on but the airlock barely moved.

At this point I was super confused, and already worried I had ruined my batch, so I rushed to take a hydrometer reading, without thinking to sanitize, and saw that my brew was basically complete! What started at 1.102 spg was now at .994. So while I thought my yeast were less active due to coldness, turns out they just had eaten most of the sugars!

So, anyways, now I stand with a mostly fermented, but also probably oxidized and possibly contaminated cyser. From what I understand, it's good to let the fermentation go for a while after this point to let the yeast mellow the flavors. I currently have my jug in the fridge, because I don't know what the best option is.

My question is, is this brew basically done for? Is there any way to salvage it? Should I take it out of the fridge and just let it sit?
Will things grow if I do that? Or should I let the cold crash go to completion, and then bottle and chemically treat it and just hope it mellows in the bottle. If I bottle it, do I need to refrigerate it? Any advice you can give would be much appreciated!
 
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Icepick23

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For what it's worth, the cider is untouched. It also is done bubbling, should I keep swirling it and just let it go for a while?

Also, I plan on starting a new set of 2 brews next week, and hopefully not making these same rash decisions again.
 

Kerrbrewer

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Taste it. If its drinkable I would get it off the yeast and let it sit for another week or two. If no pellicle grows on top recheck gravity and package it. Cold store for a few days and taste it again. IME cysers improve with age, and are more forgiving than beer when it comes to aeration..
 

MaaZeus

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Yoyr cyser has a lot of alcohol so I doubt anything bad is going to infect it, except aceto bacteria that may start to turn alcohol into vinegar. How much headspace did your carboy have when you shook it?
 

RPh_Guy

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One word: Sulfite.

Sulfite combined with headspace reduction offers adequate protection against both contamination and oxidation.
 
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Icepick23

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So I should, upon returning, rack to a new bottle, add some glass beads (or is there an easier way to reduce headspace?), add sulfites (How much campden should I add?), and leave it in the bottle with the airlock for a few weeks?

Should I stir in the sulfites, if so, with what? Also, how can I taste test without increasing risks of oxidation?

Lastly, Should I add sorbates? If so, how much potassium sorbate should I add, and how soon after adding the campden?
 

RPh_Guy

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rack to a new bottle, add some glass beads
Sounds good.

add sulfites (How much campden should I add?)
It's based on pH, so it's hard to say without knowing. 1/2 to 1 tab per gallon should be fine.

leave it in the bottle with the airlock for a few weeks?
Bulk aging mainly helps with clarity.
You may also want to bulk age if adding more tannins, adding oak, using some technique(s) to reduce acid, or if you're using Brett.
So if it's clear and tastes good you could bottle it right away.

Should I stir in the sulfites, if so, with what?
Dissolve the sulfite in a little bit of water and add that to the second vessel before you rack into it.

Also, how can I taste test without increasing risks of oxidation?
Open the carboy, pull a little sample with a sanitized wine thief, turkey baster, or similar tool, and top off the carboy again before re-applying the airlock.
Lastly, Should I add sorbates? If so, how much potassium sorbate should I add, and how soon after adding the campden?
Sorbate is not needed unless you are adding fermentable sugars that you don't want to ferment.
 
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Icepick23

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If I don't have any marbles right now, and want to do the racking soon, would vodka mixed with water to the proper proportions be a good way to reduce headspace?

So my procedure would be:
1. Siphon some of the cyser into a sanitized vessel.
2. Mix that with potassium metabisulfite.
3. Pour gently into secondary fermentation vessel.
4. Siphon remaining cyser into secondary.
5. Mix bottled water with vodka down to 13-14%.
6. Slowly add to vessel until it reaches the neck.
 

RPh_Guy

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Adding water plus vodka is something I've never seen anyone do. You may get some undesirable flavor from the vodka.

You could use apple juice or plain water.

If you use juice, I would wait until it's finished fermenting to add sulfite.
 
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