Did I RUIN my cider?

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bigdawg723

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Ok, so I brewed some cider.... it bubbled for about 2 weeks and then stopped (I used unpasteurized fresh pressed raw cider from a local orchard and added yeast & yeast nutrient & about 4lbs of brown sugar).

When it stopped bubbling... I cracked open the lid and tasted a glass (sterilized the glass before dipping it in for a cup) - then closed it all back up.

I then let it sit... and it did bubble a few times (that I noticed).... but I let it sit for about 6 weeks now. I have a secondary container now - so I'm going to siphon it into it shortly...

My question is... do you think I ruined it? How can I tell?

Should I crush up 5 campden tablets (5 gallons) and add it in now? I'm going to make a syrup to sweeten it up as it definitely needed it when I tested it over a month ago - maybe add a tiny bit of natural apple flavoring too.

Any thoughts?
 

Pickled_Pepper

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What type of yeast did you use? I think that will determine a lot. Regardless, with 4 lbs of sugar (wow) that's probably going to require some extended aging regardless of your hydrometer readings.

Not sure why you would think it's ruined? Does it taste bad? Does it taste "hot"? I'm thinking you are going to need to let that one sit in secondary for a while.
 

Jacob_Marley

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Why do you think you ruined it?? Because you let it sit on the lees for 6 weeks?
It should be fine. Rack it as soon as possible and observe careful sanitation ... minimize headspace in the carboy.

As far as adding sulfites ... most do not add any to cider ... that said, to my way of thinking it depends on how long you will be storing it for (or put another way, how quick you intend to drink it) ... how good of sanitation etc you've observed so far ... how good you've done at minimizing oxygen exposure ... and the temperature it will likely be at during storage.
 
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bigdawg723

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My hydrometer is in the mail :(

Off-hand... I don't recall the yeast... it was an 'all-purpose wine yeast' that the brew shop owner said was popular for cider.

Yes... I was worried I ruined it because of how long I've let it sit on all that sediment. So I will rack it (put it in the secondary?) and minimize oxygen exposure (and head space). I suspect it has started to clear somewhat.

I plan on sweetening it up after secondary fermentation. It will be stored in the fridge for a couple months before it is all consumed. Do you think I should crush up a few tabs to help kill bacteria? I won't need it to kill yeast... as it will definitely be cold enough after bottling. I'm going to have a dry cider too... not messing with carbonation this time around (without a hydrometer I risk bottle bombs).

I'll get my gear and better info next brew... and I'll be better prepared.

Thank you for the info though - I feel encouraged that it's not bad.

It just tasted really... tart (is that a proper description?) - I assume due to the utter lack of sugar content in it (it was bubbling every second for 9 days strong - and then petered-out at the end of course).

Wish me luck! Any other advice - warmly welcomed (even criticism... I know I've done stuff wrong... but I did adhere to strict sanitizing... hopefully the raw cider didn't spawn some crazy bacteria that will end up making me extremely sick).
 

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You can use campden tablets (sulfite) if you want. I do. It doesn't kill yeast, but instead is a good antioxidant so it protects the cider when you rack and bottle to avoid oxidation. I use one crushed campden tablet per gallon (dissolved in a little hot water) at every other racking.

If you aren't sweetening the cider, and instead bottling it dry, there is no need to worry about refrigeration. Once fermentation is topped, you can bottle and store just fine at room temperature if you want.

Dry cider is tart, but tasty! It gets more "apple flavored" with time.
 
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bigdawg723

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Well... I cracked open my primary, siphoned it into my secondary... filled 5 wine bottles & corked them (labeled "virgin" as there was ZERO campden added and no sweetener).

I then mixed 3 cups of white sugar, 1 cup of brown, and 2 cups of water in a pot... dissolved it all together, and mixed it in its entirety into the remaining 4 gallons of hard cider (that, again, has been sitting for the past 2 months).

I dissolved 4 crushed campden tablets in a pot with some of the cider, mixed it back in, thoroughly mixed everything... and bottled 18 more bottles (3 of which I added 50ml of 95% grain alcohol to each, pre-fill).

So I have 5 "virgin" bottles, 15 stabilized/sweetened, and 3 stabilized/sweetened/with a kick.

They are ALL corked. ALL are in the fridge except for 2 (1 virgin, 1 standard) - I'm going to assume/experiment/hope that there's no live yeast left in there - otherwise... that 'standard' bottle might be a bomb.

Thoughts? Criticism? Advice?

I quickly chilled the remainder (about 1/2 wine bottle) and am drinking it over some ice right now - not too sweet... not too tart - I love it!

Will the stuff in the fridge mature at all with time? I wasn't sure about that... which is why I left those 2 bottles out - as I almost know that will mature... does the cold of the fridge prevent this 'maturing'?

Thanks all - I'm happy with my 'tossed-together' raw hard cider... came out great (so far).
 

Devo9

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bigdawg723 said:
Well... I cracked open my primary, siphoned it into my secondary... filled 5 wine bottles & corked them (labeled "virgin" as there was ZERO campden added and no sweetener).

I then mixed 3 cups of white sugar, 1 cup of brown, and 2 cups of water in a pot... dissolved it all together, and mixed it in its entirety into the remaining 4 gallons of hard cider (that, again, has been sitting for the past 2 months).

I dissolved 4 crushed campden tablets in a pot with some of the cider, mixed it back in, thoroughly mixed everything... and bottled 18 more bottles (3 of which I added 50ml of 95% grain alcohol to each, pre-fill).

So I have 5 "virgin" bottles, 15 stabilized/sweetened, and 3 stabilized/sweetened/with a kick.

They are ALL corked. ALL are in the fridge except for 2 (1 virgin, 1 standard) - I'm going to assume/experiment/hope that there's no live yeast left in there - otherwise... that 'standard' bottle might be a bomb.

Thoughts? Criticism? Advice?

I quickly chilled the remainder (about 1/2 wine bottle) and am drinking it over some ice right now - not too sweet... not too tart - I love it!

Will the stuff in the fridge mature at all with time? I wasn't sure about that... which is why I left those 2 bottles out - as I almost know that will mature... does the cold of the fridge prevent this 'maturing'?

Thanks all - I'm happy with my 'tossed-together' raw hard cider... came out great (so far).
Ummm, I'm not sure how to tell you this, but you have definitely created a bottle bomb here. Well not the dangerous kind, you'll probably just have the cork pop out and lose 1/2 your cider when it fizzes out.

Campden tablets DO NOT stabilize your cider. This WILL carbonate. You need to add sorbate to stabilize and even then you might still get some action! Or you could pasteurize, see the sticky on how to do this. The bottles in the fridge are probably ok, but as soon as you take them out, you'll have crazy fermentation as well, so watch out!

I made the same mistake on my first batch, except I added 1 liter of apple juice instead of 4 cups of sugar. I just wanted to top up my carboy. After bottling, my cider started popping corks. However, I kept all my bottlea out, none went in the fridge...
 
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bigdawg723

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Hah... I was worried about that - I KNEW I needed something besides campden tabs. Darn.

So what about the fridge ones... I mean... doesn't the temperature KILL the yeast... so won't it NOT ferment once out of the fridge? I'm confused there...
 

Devo9

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Hah... I was worried about that - I KNEW I needed something besides campden tabs. Darn.

So what about the fridge ones... I mean... doesn't the temperature KILL the yeast... so won't it NOT ferment once out of the fridge? I'm confused there...
No, it just puts them to sleep until things warm up again. You'll have to pasturize if you want to kill them. Or you can keep them in the fridge indefinely.

They may die off eventually, but I believe it takes YEARS to do so and you might still get some fermentation happening if you keep your cider refridgerated for years. However I'm not sure, because I haven't tried this before...
 
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