Black cherry cider Ruined..

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BadgerBrigade

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I put a gallon of black cherry juice in my 1 gallon fermenter to see if I could make cherry cider... I added 1 cup of brown sugar (which I probably shouldn't have done) and D 47 yeast...
The OG was 1.092...
It took almost 2 days to start fermenting... For one day the airlock was going crazy then out of the blue just totally stopped...

I started it on the 30th...
I took a reading yesterday and it was 1.042
then I took a reading today and it was 1.041?
I'm guessing it stopped because too much sugar in the beginning?

I think it's right around 60° in my room but it could've dropped below? But it is warmed up now to almost 67 so it would've started if it was a temperature thing, correct?

Should I wait and see or should I add a little champagne yeast? Put it on a heating blanket, Or should I just rack it out and call it ruined?
 

snuesen

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Brown sugar is actually pretty common. OG isn't too high, like noted earlier it could be pH or any number of issues. You need to check these things before you toss a batch, that's the only way to improve your methods and not waste money. For now, just keep temp around 69 (over 70 is bad for this particular yeast). If it goes down one point a day it is still fermenting but could cause off flavors. So crack those books! Or forum threads in this case ;-)
 
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BadgerBrigade

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snuesen said:
Brown sugar is actually pretty common.
Yes, I understand, I meant because I ran the gravity up so high.

snuesen said:
OG isn't too high, like noted earlier it could be pH or any number of issues. You need to check these things before you toss a batch, that's the only way to improve your methods
I'm sure you're right, I am just learning and really only know about OG, SG and FG so far.

Can I check things like pH with my hydrometer?
And can you explain to me a little about pH, what is good, what is bad and how I can address that if it is the issue?
 
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A hydrometer is for gravity. Litmus paper or a ph meter is what you need for acidity/alkalinity. There are different acid and base compounds that you can add to dial in the ph but what to use and their amount are a little beyond my scope someone else might be able to offer some insight there

Also that gravity a bit much for yeast fresh out of the package IMO. Did you aerate after pitching go help with yeast growth?. Also i find juices lacking in enough nutrients did you add and yeast nutrients or yeast energizers?
 
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JoshuaWhite5522 said:
A hydrometer is for gravity. Litmus paper or a ph meter is what you need for acidity/alkalinity. There are different acid and base compounds that you can add to dial in the ph but what to use and their amount are a little beyond my scope someone else might be able to offer some insight there
Thank you, I will look into a pH meter and how to use it.

JoshuaWhite5522 said:
Also that gravity a bit much for yeast fresh out of the package IMO. Did you aerate after pitching go help with yeast growth?. Also i find juices lacking in enough nutrients did you add and yeast nutrients or yeast energizers?
No, I just added the yeast packet straight to the cider.... I have always done that and it always seems to take off...
If this is not the right way to do it or stresses the yeast please let me know Joshua (or anyone) :)
 
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Adding the yeast to your cider/must/wot fresh out of the package will work but it is not the best way. Building a yeast starter gets them ready for the task at hand. Www.mrmalty.com is a good resource for yeast info in regards to pitching and doing all you can for yeast health. Oxygen prior to fermentation helps build yeast cell walls and make it easier for them to function. In my experience it helps the yeast last longer and not stall out on high gravity frements. Again some sort of nutrition will help too. I find it is best to give your yeast everything they need before they start to ferment
 

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If this were a beer with an OG of 1.092 then yeast aeration might be responsible, but this is cherry juice and brown sugar wine which is well within the alcohol tolerance of the strain. More likely IMO it's the result of a lack of nutrients in the juice combined with temp issues. D47 is a hungry beast so it may need some added yeast nutrient to help it along, which you can buy at most LHBS. It's also a pretty moody strain with a relatively small temp window, in a low nutrient environment that window gets even smaller.
 

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I have done a couple batches of strawberry wine using the D47 and it eats thru an og above 1.100 no problem. You need some nutrients for the little guys to perform though. At this point I would add some yeast Energizer. It is a combination of yeast nutrients and yeast hulls to help revive your yeast.
 
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jkoegel said:
I have done a couple batches of strawberry wine using the D47 and it eats thru an og above 1.100 no problem. You need some nutrients for the little guys to perform though. At this point I would add some yeast Energizer. It is a combination of yeast nutrients and yeast hulls to help revive your yeast.
It has already been a day and a half or maybe two days and no activity, Am I okay to add yeast energizer now? Will that be the only thing I need to do to get it started or should I do something else as well? And if yes is the answer, I just go down to my local brew shop and buy some Energizer and pour it straight in?
 

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I had a stall on a strawberry apple cider I was making with ec1118. Ended up adding a little nutrient and energizer and repitching a small amount of yeast and it started right back up.
 
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Bluespark said:
I had a stall on a strawberry apple cider I was making with ec1118. Ended up adding a little nutrient and energizer and repitching a small amount of yeast and it started right back up.
:)
 

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If this is fresh pressed black cherry juice it may be a pH/TA issue. Your temp range is fine for D47, but we all know it is common for about 2/3 of the SG to ferment within 5-8 days. You may not see significant drop in hydrometer on a daily basis. Do you see fine bubbles popping on the surface, or hear the sizzle if you listen at the surface of your ferment?
Before you add the energizer or nutrient make sure you are not past the 2/3 sugar break, I would not add it if beyond that point.

In the future I would not start a ferment under airlock because the yeast do better if they have access to O2 during that early stage. Many people will transfer to carboy/airlock when SG has dropped by 2/3 or the 8-10day mark, whichever is earliest.
 
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saramc said:
If this is fresh pressed black cherry juice it may be a pH/TA issue. Your temp range is fine for D47, but we all know it is common for about 2/3 of the SG to ferment within 5-8 days. You may not see significant drop in hydrometer on a daily basis. Do you see fine bubbles popping on the surface, or hear the sizzle if you listen at the surface of your ferment?
Not fresh pressed, R.W. KNUDSEN "Just Black Cherry" Hundred percent premium juice from ripe, whole black cherries.
I saw a lot of little bubbles popping off of the surface like little fleas... Lol
But I only saw this at the beginning of the fermentation, Then once there was no activity there was no more foam or any of the little popping flea bubbles...
I brought the temperature up last night to 75 for about an hour or two, Then dropped it down to about 70 to 72° and I started to get some activity... It's now about afternoon time and I squeeze a bit of lemon juice into their due to a lot of people telling me too.
My airlock has started again at the rate of about a bubble every four second....
And I'm just now starting to see a really small amount of the little flea bubbles popping off the surface.



saramc said:
Before you add the energizer or nutrient make sure you are not past the 2/3 sugar break, I would not add it if beyond that point.

In the future I would not start a ferment under airlock because the yeast do better if they have access to O2 during that early stage. Many people will transfer to carboy/airlock when SG has dropped by 2/3 or the 8-10day mark, whichever is earliest.
When you say past the two thirds sugar break... can you explain that a little further?
My original gravity was 1.092...
It went for a day or two before it stopped fermenting and when I checked it at that point it was 1.042. The next day it was about the same, 1.041-ish.... This was right around the time when everything just seemed to stop...
Should I squeeze a little more lemon in?

I think I calculated that it has created about 6.6% alcohol so far?
I think if fermented all the way down to 1.000 It would be about 12.2%

I have not added any yeast nutrient but I'm wondering if I should go to the homebrew supply and get some to add in or if I should squeeze a little more lemon juice into this (my 1 gallon of black cherry) or if I should just sit on my hands and stopped watching it. Lol
 
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This is an update as of about 2:30pm...

I talked about a bubble every four seconds well now I don't really have anything again As far as activity in the airlock.... I still see some of those little funny popping bubbles on the surface but much fewer then at 12pm...

My airlock was doing a bubble every four seconds and now it's stopped again? This is very strange to me....
If it started up again why wouldn't it have just kept going?

I saw a lot of those bubbles about the time that I put the Squeeze of lemon in? Did I mess it up with the lemon?
Could the pH have needed to go the other way?

I'm pretty confused at this point :(

The guy at the brew store told me he thought the pH could be low.... What is the squeeze of lemon the right way to go?
I don't really know about low or high pH yet and how to adjusted and what it means.....
 
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Did I got the wrong way?

Anyone?

The homebrew store owner thought my pH was too low.... People on the forum told me to add lemon juice. Was that the wrong way?
Lets recap:
One gallon black cherry juice
One cup brown sugar
1.092 OG .... 1 1/2 days until fermentation started
Went for one day, then stopped at 1.042
Temp was a consistent 60.
D47 yeast (dry, no nutrient or starter)
Last night brought temp up to 75 degrees and fermentation started again.....brought temp down to 70

Added a squeeze of lemon and it seemed to slow up again?

Was I ok by adding lemon? And do I need yeast energizer?
Or should I have added baking soda?
 

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You should add some energizer (maybe not nutrient at this point). I would add calcium carbonate instead of baking soda, I'd rather risk a chalky off flavor over a salty one. You need to get test strips and check pH first tho before adding all sorts of stuff.

Lemon was a poor choice, that lowers pH which is opposite of what you probably need to do.

First thing is to determine your pH. Only when you realize the problem can you realize the solution.
 
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snuesen said:
You should add some energizer (maybe not nutrient at this point). I would add calcium carbonate instead of baking soda, I'd rather risk a chalky off flavor over a salty one. You need to get test strips and check pH first tho before adding all sorts of stuff.

Lemon was a poor choice, that lowers pH which is opposite of what you probably need to do.

First thing is to determine your pH. Only when you realize the problem can you realize the solution.
I think I may be doing a lot of fruit ciders in the future, apple, cherry, peach, pear etc.
Do you thing I should get a real tester? Or just strips?

If I added acid and I'm already really acidic can I still save this and make it good?

A messed up the restart didn't I...

P.s. it looks kinda brown?
 

snuesen

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Well the test strips are super cheap, but they are indeed a "best guess" scenario.

The fruits you listed I don't think will present a pH problem normally, but if you have the means to buy a real pH meter go for it. Just remember to treat it as the delicate scientific instrument that it is :)
You might end up repitching more yeast, but you're close to being done with this ferment, and hopefully it will just take something as small as a dose of CaCO3 to get it done.
 

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I agree with snuesen. Don't do anything else until you've taken a pH reading. Blindly adding lemon juice is a great way to ruin the flavor of the cherries and make your pH issue (if there even is one) worse.

Head over to your LBHS and pick up the simple pH strips, measure the batch, and report back. Then we can confirm if this is a acidity issue, and if so, what to do to correctly adjust it.
 
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snuesen said:
hopefully it will just take something as small as a dose of CaCO3 to get it done.
Because I am very wet behind the ears I would like to post some of my notes (and keywords) . Maybe the people of HB TALK can school me a little on what it all means.... I only kinda know basic hydrometer info and no nothing about the keywords and phrases I have recently gathered in this prob:

•Bentonite treatment?
•Desired pH is from 3.8 to 3.4 (3.4)
•Desired TA is from .50 to .65
(Would this the right for cherry wine or apples?)
•D47 is what I'm using
•Fermaid K? For moving pH up or down and what is it?
•Don't use carbonate to adjust more then 0.2% another says you can go up to 0.4%?
•Cherry is High in malic acid (dominate acid in cherry)
•Calcium carbonate?
•To reduce acid use potassium carbonate?
•No MLF?
•Nutrient?
•Pectic enzyme. (More with heavy pulp fruit) first day to start fruit break down.
•Sulfite?

Any help here :mug:
 
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LeBreton said:
I agree with snuesen. Don't do anything else until you've taken a pH reading. Blindly adding lemon juice is a great way to ruin the flavor of the cherries and make your pH issue (if there even is one) worse.

Head over to your LBHS and pick up the simple pH strips, measure the batch, and report back. Then we can confirm if this is a acidity issue, and if so, what to do to correctly adjust it.
It is7am here, I plan to go to the LHBS at 11am... I will test then report back right away....
"Obie One LeBreton, your my only hope".... Lol
 

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BB....the 2/3 sugar break is the point at which your starting SG has dropped by 2/3. If you started at 1.090 your 2/3 sugar break is 1.030. Many people add nutrients/energizer at the start and/or 1/3 sugar break and usually no later than the 2/3 mark--in case you were delayed or had a fast ferment.

Definitely invest in a pH meter because if you buy the reagents of the acid test kit you can quickly, accurately and easily determine your PA. But for now wine pH strips will work.

Do not give up, see this through and learn from it. You will learn from each batch.
 
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saramc said:
BB....the 2/3 sugar break is the point at which your starting SG has dropped by 2/3. If you started at 1.090 your 2/3 sugar break is 1.030. Many people add nutrients/energizer at the start and/or 1/3 sugar break and usually no later than the 2/3 mark--in case you were delayed or had a fast ferment.

Definitely invest in a pH meter because if you buy the reagents of the acid test kit you can quickly, accurately and easily determine your PA. But for now wine pH strips will work.

Do not give up, see this through and learn from it. You will learn from each batch.

The guy at the local brew supply shop did not have a good electronic pH meter so I was forced to buy strips.... My black cherry cider is very very dark so it was very hard to read the strips but I guess I am around 4.0 to 4.4?

But I just took a reading and it is at 1.034, So it is definitely moving and I still see just a little bit of bubbles coming up the side of the glass vessel There really is no foam cap....

I was expecting the pH to be low but either it is not, and squeezing the lemon juice was a good idea or I just can't read the damn strips...

I guess I'm right at that sugar break you spoke of so I cannot add anything at this point?

I bought calcium carbonate (didnt add any) thinking the pH was going to be low but again either I cannot read the strips or the pH is okay and I'm just experiencing a very slow fermentation? This is also the first time I've used any other strain besides EC 1118 and apparently it's fermentation is very volatile so maybe I'm just not used to seeing this small amount of activity?

On the wine forum I hear guys always talk about the worry of oxidation and the cherry getting brown.
I thought Cherry juice was very acidic but maybe I'm wrong and I'm wondering if I should squeezing more lemon juice if I am at 4.2 to 4.4?
 
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LeBreton said:
I agree with snuesen. Don't do anything else until you've taken a pH reading. Blindly adding lemon juice is a great way to ruin the flavor of the cherries and make your pH issue (if there even is one) worse.

Head over to your LBHS and pick up the simple pH strips, measure the batch, and report back. Then we can confirm if this is a acidity issue, and if so, what to do to correctly adjust it.
Hard to tell because my strips go from very light at 2.82 very dark green blue at 4.4 but it looks like I have a rust red color almost equivalent in darkness to the 4.0 and 4.4 but I'm not totally sure?
 

LeBreton

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If it's in the 4.0-4.4 range then it isn't the acid level hurting the fermentation. Which means it's either a temp issue, a nutrient issue, or a combination of both. Though now that it's going again, I'd support just letting if finish at it's own speed. If it would make you sleep better, go ahead and add some nutrient. About half the recommended dose should be fine at this stage, especially since there's already a deficit.



:off:
A good rule of thumb for adjusting the acidity of a fruit wine/cider is to replicate the naturally occurring acid(s) of the fruit you're working with.

Apples and cherries are mostly malic acid.
Grapes are a blend of tartaric, citric, and malic acids.
Lemons and cranberries are mostly citric acid.

Blending fruit bases with non-matching acid can be ok in small amounts, but can lead to curious imbalances in taste once a certain sensory threshold is crossed.
 

saramc

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Must also remember that the shelf stable juices, like Knudsen, are usually formulated so that they are balanced and ready to drink. So many times they already have a pH/acidity balance. Now cranberry and pim are on a whole different level.
 
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BadgerBrigade

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saramc said:
Must also remember that the shelf stable juices, like Knudsen, are usually formulated so that they are balanced and ready to drink. So many times they already have a pH/acidity balance. Now cranberry and pim are on a whole different level.

Thank you
But What's pim?
 
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