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Brett cider project questions

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albertoni

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Hi One and all!

After a couple years of child-rearing hiatus I'm hopping back into the cider-making game. 🍻

I'm starting with an all-brett (WLP648) primary fermentation, and it's not going quite how I anticipated. It's based on some notes I had from when I made ciders in 2017, but my notes are a lot of recipe and not much on observations. I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone in the community who's got experience with something related.

On 1/20, I prepped 5 gallons of commodity apple juice. Added about a pound of domino "dark brown" sugar, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrient.
On 1/21, I pitched a vial of WLP648 (no starter, foolish). Measured 1.052 with a refractometer.

There wasn't (and to this point still hasn't been any airlock activity...) is this normal? I can't recall if that's normal for brett from last time.

On 1/24, I measured about 1.048 with the refractometer... seems like good news.

Today, 1/27, I measured... about 1.048, again, with a refractometer. And took the picture below.

Should I be worried? Does this look reasonable?

I'm mostly asking because I only have this one bucket for fermenting, and only really have spousal license for the one bucket at the moment (this isn't my only hobby :)), so if I've botched something I want to start again before giving up too much time.

If the brett is okay and is just going to ferment slowly and take forever, I might funnel it into a carboy and use the bucket for an ale-yeast cider recipe I've been working on.

Thanks!!!

1611782354341.png
 

ncguire

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No experience making cider with WLP648, but would be interesting to hear how it turns out. What temperature are you fermenting at? Google says WLP648 should be 70-85 degrees F. Maybe move it somewhere warmer?
 

milkflakes

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Anything happen with this? Temperature would be my only guess. It also occurs to me that you will need to correct your refractometer reading if you haven't already done that, though for the readings you took that is probably not yet relevant. I use Northern Brewer's calculator. Homebrew Refractometer Calculator.
 
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albertoni

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Hi All, just a quick update on this:

I moved it over to near a heating vent, which I expect raised the temperature by something like 8-10 degrees.

A refractometer reading on 2/3 (13 days after pitch) showed 1.030 (unadjusted), which works out to about 1.016 after adjusting.

Subjectively, it's heavy on the banana for my taste, but I'm reserving judgment and going to just see where it goes. I'll keep updates coming just to put some more knowledge into the forum.

Thanks for your help @ncguire !
 
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albertoni

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Hi All,

I checked this again yesterday (2/10), and got an unadjusted reading of 1.018, which corrects to roughly 1.006. We're really in business!

The flavors were a little funky, a bit sour and acidic, a bit citrusy and floral, and clearly with some alcohol though not very strongly. (I'm no good at describing tastes... it was good, but clearly not done yet.) Unsurprisingly, it is pretty cloudy.

I'm going to let it go another week, and then rack it into a carboy to keep up the good work for another few months.

Depending on how it tastes at that point, I've got a mind to dry hop it before bottling. If anyone has suggestions on hops to use I'm all ears. Right now simcoe seems like they would fit, but I'll have to see how it tastes a few months on.
 
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albertoni

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Hi All,

This morning I took a sample for testing w/refractometer and palate. This is now 27 days since pitch.

The reading from the refractometer hadn't changed - still showing ~1.018 (corrected to ~1.006). The flavor and aroma were much different though. Less cloudy & less orange, more yellow.

I chilled a wine thief-ful of it, and it tastes pretty good, if a bit plain. I'm going to rack it into a carboy and let it sit for a while before deciding on hops, etc. (I want to free up that bucket for an ale yeast-based cider.)

Hope everyone is doing well, and friends in Texas are staying warm!
 

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