Best yeast for very cold outside fermentation…??

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Sballe

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Hi everyone. I am fairly new to making cider (2-3 years) and in need of advice … hopefully someone can shed a little light for me on a question.

Like everyone I started with ec1118, tried safale S-04, Notty and safcider AS. I have some 71B on hand but haven’t tried it yet.

Honestly — i think I was fermenting WAY too warm so far… all batches fairly flavorless very tart…

THE QUESTION: living in the city I don’t have a basement with perfect cool temperature; but I do have access to a shed outside. But it can get cold; way lower than the recommended temperature for my yeasts. Right Now (October) it’s probably around 50-55F … in a months time probably closer to 40F.

Anyone with experience with fermentations this cold? Which yeast would be good? Is it ok to go much lower than recommended temperature?

Any help much appreciated

/Sean
 

NTBeer

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Does the shed have electric? If so, you can easily keep it slightly warmer with a thermostat controlled small heater, like an incandescent bulb or reptile bulb. Better yet, a tub of water and an aquarium heater.
 
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Sballe

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No electricity. Warming it up is really not an option. It is basically an old shed with a padlock. That’s it.

But I figure that cider is traditionally made during winter — and I guess heating pads wasn’t used 100 years ago? But then again - so wasn’t cultured yeasts?
 

McMullan

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Autumn rather than winter. About 15°C is a good temperature for fermenting juice. Insulate the FV and with a little luck yeast metabolism is going to help keep the fermenting juice 2-3°C above ambient. Try to monitor it and adjust insulation, if necessary. Fermentation is probably going to stop below 10°C, but restart when things warm up again. A paraffin heater might be useful if it's too cold outside.

Do you have cider apples in Denmark? The commercial 'ciders' I've tried in Scandinavia are very bland, being made from dessert apples. If using dessert apple juice you could spice things up with additional ingredients.

Edit: pitch some commercially available yeast. Avoid romantic ideas about wild fermentation. About 9 out of 10 wild fermentations fail, unless cider vinegar is the aim.
 
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Sballe

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I have access to some old variants of eating apples and have added some more tannic wild apples I found. (And I have some wine tannic on hand also)…next year I am gonna plant a dabinett and a Kingston black … hopefully it will make for even better cider.

Unfortunately the good tannic apples are usually not ripe until November here — by then the temperature is usually already below 10C !

I already have 1 demijohn about 5 liters of wild fermentation going … but this is more of and experiment. Also a 5 gallon of safale s-04 … just have to decide what yeast to use in my next 5 gallon batch this coming week. Safcider, Notty or 71B ?

True - the danish cider is quite flavorless; more like poor-man’s-champagne.

Guess I’ll try to wrap carboys in blankets and see if that helps:)
 

madscientist451

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I have access to some old variants of eating apples and have added some more tannic wild apples I found. (And I have some wine tannic on hand also)…next year I am gonna plant a dabinett and a Kingston black … hopefully it will make for even better cider.
Fermenting in your shed will be fine, just don't use glass carboys, they'll break if you have freezing weather. An old-school cidermaking rule was to put the cider in barrels in the fall and don't do anything until you see the apple blossoms the next spring. So months long fermentation and aging was common. Even if fermentation slows down or stops in the coldest weather, it will finish up in the spring when the weather warms up. Keep an eye on it though it may be done fermenting sooner than you think.
I've tried all kinds of apples and I was also disappointed with flavor and tartness. For me, the yeast selection is a minor issue, it all starts with the apples and if they are fully ripe when pressed. Tree ripened fruit is best, if you have access to trees. Most apples are picked before they are ripe because otherwise they'll get damaged in handling and then not keep well in the stores. Some apples won't keep long, I try to store apples in a cool place for at least a month before pressing.
50% Jonagold/Jonathan makes a good base (or something similar)
No more than 5-10% each other varieties, the more the better. Go easy on tart dessert apples like Honeycrisp.
As far a planting Dabinett and Kingston black trees, be advised that both are susceptible to diseases and Kingston black grows extremely slow and takes a long time to produce any apples and even then the harvest is going to be minimal.
All my Dabinett trees died from fireblight and my Kingston black trees are pathetic little things that while still alive, are just a fraction of the size other varieties I planted at the same time.
I checked on google and there are some cideries in Denmark that grow their own fruit, go on out, buy a case of their cider, show some interest in what they are doing and most growers will tell you all kinds of tricks and what varieties work and what don't. You might even be able to get some excess fruit for your cider. A local cidery near me sells a "cidermakers blend" of pressed juice one weekend a year.
 
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Sballe

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Great advice madscientist - thx a bunch 👏
Fermenting in your shed will be fine, just don't use glass carboys, they'll break if you have freezing weather. An old-school cidermaking rule was to put the cider in barrels in the fall and don't do anything until you see the apple blossoms the next spring. So months long fermentation and aging was common. Even if fermentation slows down or stops in the coldest weather, it will finish up in the spring when the weather warms up. Keep an eye on it though it may be done fermenting sooner than you think.
I've tried all kinds of apples and I was also disappointed with flavor and tartness. For me, the yeast selection is a minor issue, it all starts with the apples and if they are fully ripe when pressed. Tree ripened fruit is best, if you have access to trees. Most apples are picked before they are ripe because otherwise they'll get damaged in handling and then not keep well in the stores. Some apples won't keep long, I try to store apples in a cool place for at least a month before pressing.
50% Jonagold/Jonathan makes a good base (or something similar)
No more than 5-10% each other varieties, the more the better. Go easy on tart dessert apples like Honeycrisp.
As far a planting Dabinett and Kingston black trees, be advised that both are susceptible to diseases and Kingston black grows extremely slow and takes a long time to produce any apples and even then the harvest is going to be minimal.
All my Dabinett trees died from fireblight and my Kingston black trees are pathetic little things that while still alive, are just a fraction of the size other varieties I planted at the same time.
I checked on google and there are some cideries in Denmark that grow their own fruit, go on out, buy a case of their cider, show some interest in what they are doing and most growers will tell you all kinds of tricks and what varieties work and what don't. You might even be able to get some excess fruit for your cider. A local cidery near me sells a "cidermakers blend" of pressed juice one weekend a year.
Fermenting in your shed will be fine, just don't use glass carboys, they'll break if you have freezing weather. An old-school cidermaking rule was to put the cider in barrels in the fall and don't do anything until you see the apple blossoms the next spring. So months long fermentation and aging was common. Even if fermentation slows down or stops in the coldest weather, it will finish up in the spring when the weather warms up. Keep an eye on it though it may be done fermenting sooner than you think.
I've tried all kinds of apples and I was also disappointed with flavor and tartness. For me, the yeast selection is a minor issue, it all starts with the apples and if they are fully ripe when pressed. Tree ripened fruit is best, if you have access to trees. Most apples are picked before they are ripe because otherwise they'll get damaged in handling and then not keep well in the stores. Some apples won't keep long, I try to store apples in a cool place for at least a month before pressing.
50% Jonagold/Jonathan makes a good base (or something similar)
No more than 5-10% each other varieties, the more the better. Go easy on tart dessert apples like Honeycrisp.
As far a planting Dabinett and Kingston black trees, be advised that both are susceptible to diseases and Kingston black grows extremely slow and takes a long time to produce any apples and even then the harvest is going to be minimal.
All my Dabinett trees died from fireblight and my Kingston black trees are pathetic little things that while still alive, are just a fraction of the size other varieties I planted at the same time.
I checked on google and there are some cideries in Denmark that grow their own fruit, go on out, buy a case of their cider, show some interest in what they are doing and most growers will tell you all kinds of tricks and what varieties work and what don't. You might even be able to get some excess fruit for your cider. A local cidery near me sells a "cidermakers blend" of pressed juice one weekend a year.
Great advice madscientist - thx a bunch 👏 … any other cider-apple-varieties you can recommend then?
 

madscientist451

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If you can only plant a few trees, its best to check with local growers and see what grows best and produces a reliable good crop. There are way too many apple varieties to pick one from here. Not all apple varieties will pollinate others, so you have to be mindful of that.
For home growers, a dual-use variety would probably be best, one that you can eat and use for juice. I can get Ashmead's Kernal from a local grower, it makes a nice single variety cider and can be eaten fresh or cooked. Its a little difficult to grow however and I haven't planted any because of fireblight issues.

 

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I’ve made apple ciders using Red Star Montrachet yeast, WLP775 English cider yeast, WLP002, WLP007 and Nottingham ale yeasts.

Your shed should be fine. My grandparents used to make cider during the autumn in 1-gallon glass jugs stored on shelves on a lean-to added to the back of their house. Crude, but great cider. Just make sure they don’t freeze.

My favorite is the WLP002 English Ale yeast with 6 oz Brewer’s Best apple flavoring (1.5 bottles) and 1 cup Splenda for back-sweetening added at bottling time per 5 gallon batch. Age the cider 90 days, flavor improves quite a bit.
 
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Cider Wraith

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Does the shed have electric? If so, you can easily keep it slightly warmer with a thermostat controlled small heater, like an incandescent bulb or reptile bulb. Better yet, a tub of water and an aquarium heater.

Can you make provisions for it to not be disturbed and run an extension cord? There are lots of clever very low wattage heaters that would help
 
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NTBeer

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I don't think I've ever seen anyone who said they have done this, but perhaps try a lager yeast? Maybe a 1 gallon batch and see what happens.
 

madscientist451

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I don't think I've ever seen anyone who said they have done this,
Ok, I've done it, my basement is unheated and stays about 40F after mid-November, which is below the optimal temperature of 71-B and other yeast I use for cider. I often do a late season cider batch the first few weeks of December, put the carboy down in the basement and usually forget about it 'till spring. Sometimes I'll check the progress mid winter and if its done, I'll rack it.
 

NTBeer

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Ok, I've done it, my basement is unheated and stays about 40F after mid-November, which is below the optimal temperature of 71-B and other yeast I use for cider. I often do a late season cider batch the first few weeks of December, put the carboy down in the basement and usually forget about it 'till spring. Sometimes I'll check the progress mid winter and if its done, I'll rack it.
And how does it taste compared to other yeasts?
 

madscientist451

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In my tests, low temperature slow fermentations preserves flavor and aroma, your results will likely vary.......
 

kimajy

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Guess I’ll try to wrap carboys in blankets and see if that helps:)

My wine is fermented in an unheated garage and I don;t use any electric aids - there have been a few cold nights but buckets and demijohns wrapped in old fleecy car seat covers have managed to keep going slow and steady. My experience with packeted yeasts is that the tricky bit is getting the fermentation underway after standing when it's cold (big difference between starter temperature and juice along with generally being cold). Picking a yeast with a lower-end fermentation temperature tolerance (e.g. Lalvin QA23 or 71B) does help as does pitching mid-day when it's warmest, managing the starter well and if you're adding any sugar consider using dextrose up-front to help things along with an instant fermentable.

I pitched a half-packet of 71B (15-30C tolerance) opened a fortnight before in Rosehip wine a week ago or so, just before a cold night (8C), and it really didn't get going. Re-pitched a fresh packet a couple of days later when it was about 14C and it was fermenting strongly without foam within 24 hours, being kept in the garage around 12-17C with the warm covers on. It's a slow but steady fermenter at low temps but this helps retain the flavours and character. 71B can seem slow to get going at the best of times - have you looked at the QA23 ?
 
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Sballe

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My wine is fermented in an unheated garage and I don;t use any electric aids - there have been a few cold nights but buckets and demijohns wrapped in old fleecy car seat covers have managed to keep going slow and steady. My experience with packeted yeasts is that the tricky bit is getting the fermentation underway after standing when it's cold (big difference between starter temperature and juice along with generally being cold). Picking a yeast with a lower-end fermentation temperature tolerance (e.g. Lalvin QA23 or 71B) does help as does pitching mid-day when it's warmest, managing the starter well and if you're adding any sugar consider using dextrose up-front to help things along with an instant fermentable.

I pitched a half-packet of 71B (15-30C tolerance) opened a fortnight before in Rosehip wine a week ago or so, just before a cold night (8C), and it really didn't get going. Re-pitched a fresh packet a couple of days later when it was about 14C and it was fermenting strongly without foam within 24 hours, being kept in the garage around 12-17C with the warm covers on. It's a slow but steady fermenter at low temps but this helps retain the flavours and character. 71B can seem slow to get going at the best of times - have you looked at the QA23 ?
No - havent looked at the qa23. Also; a little skeptical about the 71b because it is suppose to ferment off a lot of the Malic acid - thus creating a bland cider. Then again- many seem happy with it so don’t know 🤷‍♂️

I was checking up on the safcider I have and several places mention that it ferments down to 10c … so this will probably be my best bet …
 

kimajy

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No - havent looked at the qa23. Also; a little skeptical about the 71b because it is suppose to ferment off a lot of the Malic acid - thus creating a bland cider. Then again- many seem happy with it so don’t know 🤷‍♂️

I was checking up on the safcider I have and several places mention that it ferments down to 10c … so this will probably be my best bet …

I guess you can easily adjust acid at bottling time if it's not tasting right or have an exceptionally acidic pressing but malic acid fermentation benefit is possibly more useful for wines than cider ? I like 71B a lot for certain wines because it's gentle enough to preserve much of the aroma and character that gets driven off by feistier yeasts and doesn't sulk too much in the cold, but never tried it on apple juice.

Safcider looks a good shout if you want done quicker and if it's still happy at 10C ! I noticed AB-1 variant does have a high malic acid consumption too though and AS-2 has medium so you might end up looking at an acid adjustment at the end with those too.
 
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Sballe

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I guess you can easily adjust acid at bottling time if it's not tasting right or have an exceptionally acidic pressing but malic acid fermentation benefit is possibly more useful for wines than cider ? I like 71B a lot for certain wines because it's gentle enough to preserve much of the aroma and character that gets driven off by feistier yeasts and doesn't sulk too much in the cold, but never tried it on apple juice.

Safcider looks a good shout if you want done quicker and if it's still happy at 10C ! I noticed AB-1 variant does have a high malic acid consumption too though and AS-2 has medium so you might end up looking at an acid adjustment at the end with those too.
I have 2 Safcider yeasts at the moment - the AS-2 and AC-4 … haven’t really figured out the difference… although I guess it stands for Apple Sweet and Apple Crisp …
 
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