Cider slow to ferment - why and what now??

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Mar 21, 2013
Reaction score
On the afternoon of 1/19 I made a cider with the following ingredients:

4g Tree top apple juice
.75g cherry juice concentrate (reconstituted)
.25g frozen apple juice concentrate (reconstituted)
1pck SafCider dry yeast (reconstituted per directions)

The measured .OG was 1.063. Stirred vigorously prior to pitching yeast. The fermenter went in to a temp controlled chest freezer at 60 degrees. Ideal temp per Fermentis is 50-86 degrees. I left town early the next day and did not see any airlock activity but that didn't surprise me with it being so early in the process.

1/24 pm - airlock has activity but is slow. I was thinking it would be towards the end of fermenting. Today I check my gravity at 1.053. I am surprised it hasn't made more progress at this point. I did raise fermenter temp up to 65 to hopefully wake things up.

Questions - should I let it ride as is, raise temp more, pitch more yeast, or something else? I am not in a hurry to free up the fermenter.
Last edited:
I’d add oxygen and nutrients such as fermaid O.
A tell tale sign that your must needs nutrients would be if it has a strong sulfur smell. A little sulfur aroma is normal.

I use a wine whip attached to a drill to oxygenate the must.
I don't see any nutrients in your recipe. Apple juice does not have enough nutrients for the yeast, so you need to add some. That, and stir twice daily to help introduce some oxygen.
I did not have any yeast nutrient on hand. Is there something available not from a LHBS that I could use today (store is closed)?

As for the stirring, will that not cause a problem now that fermentation has started? There is no sulphur smell.

I tested gravity with both a hydrometer and refractmoter. Both with tracking findings.
To any one who comes back to this post, I ended up doing nothing to my cider. I let it continue to ferment on it's own and almost 30 days later it is at my target FG. I will be sure I have yeast nutrient on hand for next time however.
Be sure to give it a good sniff and taste before bottling to make sure it’s not sulfury. If there is a hint of it, time in the secondary will usually get rid of it.

If you bottle w the sulfur smell, it’s there for good.
Thanks for the warning! I didn’t realize sulfur would remain if not dealt with.

There is no smell other than alcohol. I’m cold crashing in the fermenter right now. I read in a wine making forum that gelatin finings followed by sparkelloid can help drop the sulfur out?