brewing with ph 2.8 Juice

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Wildtypitch

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Hi all,

3rd season making my own cider. DOn't have access to the trees I used to so arranged with a farmer to clear up his windfall apples once he had picked. Mostly Bramley and another variety that's smaller and redder and I assumed less acidic and sweeter but the resultant juice is ph 2.8! SG 1.052 (i'll run some total acid tests shortly)
Ideally I'd like to mix with something around 3.5 to balance but I haven't been able to source anything yet. So my questions are.
1. I added 1 campden per gallon demi-john over a week ago, bunged and air locked. How long is the juice good in this state before I add yeast.
2. If i add yeast at PH 2.8 is it going to kill or have adverse affects on the brew?

I have tried malolactic bacteria before with commercial wine bacteria added but it stripped most of the flavour out as I let it run dry. That was with a 3.2 PH juice. I 'm slightly reluctant to go that way again but maybe retarding it before completion might result in something drinkable
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ceebee4

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Not sure why you're waiting to pitch your yeast. I always do so after 24 hours of adding camped tabs. But if you're waiting until you can get a juice with a higher pH to blend before fermentation, I'd suggest starting fermentation now, then blending with other finished ciders later, once they're all done with their primarys.

Not sure how long sulfites are effective, but I'm also curious about your experience with MLF. I've always sulfited before fermentation too, but only recently learned that doing so will also wipe out malolactic bacteria. Not sure if any of my ciders have EVER undergone MLF. And there's conflicting opinions on whether MLF is a good thing for cider or is actually a flaw.

Anyway, I'd just ferment your varieties separately, blend them later, and if you don't want MLF don't worry, you might have killed the bacteria that would have started it with your initial sulfite addition.

Keep us posted!
 

McMullan

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The yeast are most likely going to be fine. Fermentation is probably going to be a tad slower, that's all. They're pretty tolerant to low pH - selected for by naturally acidic habitats like oak bark, which turned out great for acidic beverages like beer and cider :yes: My main concern is with the end product. Do you plan on drinking it or bunging it on your fish n chips? Ideally, you'd increase the pH before fermentation. Try to get as close as possible to 3.3, by blending and/or adding a little potassium bicarbonate.
 
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This year's batch of cider, which came from a wide mix of apples harvested from maybe a dozen different trees was fermenting very slowly with 2 packets of Munton's Gold ale yeast pitched. My pH meter was broken when I pressed the juice, so I didn't get a reading. 4 days later when it had dropped only 5 points, I did check the pH with the repaired meter. pH at that point was 3.0. I added 1/4 tsp of baking soda (5 gallon batch), 1 tsp of Wyeast nutrient, and pitched 1 packet of Red Star Cotes des Blanc wine yeast. It took right off, and was very happy. pH the following day was 3.4, and it was at FG in another 5 days or so. I have left it alone for another 2 weeks now, but mostly because I have other things to do. So, sorry about the lengthy post, but my point is that pH may be a bit low for a healthy fermentation.
 
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Wildtypitch

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I do have some potassium carbonate at hand but I've heard about artificial taste imparted with its use in large amounts, so reluctant. The juice is to my liking but yes it'll be very acidic and will probably burn the throat off ya. So I might add a little pre fermentation to get it above pH 3.
Regarding MLF.
My last batch I added the bacteria culture after fermentation. It's quite obvious as it creates Champagne like tiny bubbles. And done so for a good couple of weeks. It did taste great at one point, but I didn't take steps to stop it and eventually it lost a lot of flavour but still quite a drinkable Cider with no off flavours.
 
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I do have some potassium carbonate at hand but I've heard about artificial taste imparted with its use in large amounts
You don't use large amounts. 1/4-1/2 tsp should raise your pH the couple of points that you need. Unlike a brewing mash, there are very few buffering agents in cider, so you can change pH easily.
I've never done a MLF, so have no comments on that.
 
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Wildtypitch

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Found an orchard today willing to sell me @0.25p/kilo. They had acres and about 30 varieties including 3 Cider apples. But they were willing to let me pick off from a couple of rows of Cox's and Jonagold Spartans which in told are very sweet. £20 and 80 kilos later I pitched some wyeast 3117 and white labs English Cider yeast split between the ph 2.8 batch.
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I'm gonna leave the newly picked apples a week to soften before I take them to a local press. The fruit wasn't quite ready for picking and the trees had a bit of brown rot and quite a few spoke with what looked like burrowed worms underneath the skin which I'd not seen before. So I know why I got that price. I might tinker with the potassium sorbate if I'm still low. But those newly picked sweet apples will be 40% of the total so fingers crossed. Was going to measure for total acidity but realised I hadn't received acidify indicator solution but acidity reducing solution.
Anyway excited.
Might be packing some tannin from apples. I notice some turbo recipes as chups of tea to their brews. I'm not about to do that. Can tannin powder be added with good results to make up for lack of tannin heavy apples, guess not.
Just ordered a few bottles of one of my favourite ciders by cinq autels. Would one day love to get into keeving properly, achieving a nicely carbonated with a little bit of natural sweetness is defo my goal. Can't think of a way to cheat it though. I remember reading up about the year I selected and that they run dry at slightly higher s.g. points maybe I can dig that info out and calculate the best time to bottle. Swing stopper Wilko bottles might allow me to do that with risk of explosion. Mind you I'll need 200 of them.
 
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properly, achieving a nicely carbonated with a little bit of natural sweetness is defo my goal. Can't think of a way to cheat it though.
This is my goal as well with my straight ciders. Here's what I do: Let it ferment fully, and settle until clear. Maybe rack if you so choose to help the clarity, but don't use metabisulphite or sorbate. At bottling time, prime with 1 can of frozen apple juice concentrate per 5 gallons. Bottle one in a plastic soda bottle. When that bottle is turgid (usually 4-5 days, but as always it depends on temperature), then the rest should be ready. I then pasteurize the batch, using the cooler pasteurization method. Result has been very good. I may get an occasional bottle that overcarbonates and gushes when I open it, but most are bubbly and slightly sweet (FG around 1.010)
 
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Wildtypitch

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Oh yeah interesting, so use juice for the carbonating sugars.
 
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