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First batch, not sure if fermentation is stuck?

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frenchie2

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Good morning,
I started my first batch of cider ~2 weeks ago (Jan 19th).

I used 5 gallons of cold pasteurized juice from local orchard, 1 pack EC-1118 champagne yeast, pectin enzymes and yeast nutrients (Diammonium Phosphate) as described on the package.

Juice was from the fridge. Everything was sanitized before using.
Since the juice was pasteurized, i did not use sulfites.

I left the bucket with airlock at around 15-18 degrees celsius (59F - 64F).
Took 4 days to get big bubbles out of the airlock. (liquid in airlock is vodka)
A few days later I moved the bucket to the basement where temperatures range from 14.5-16.5 celsius (58F - 62F). I read cider gets better fermenting at lower temperatures.

It was bubbling away happily until yesterday, (Jan 29th) when we noticed a lot of small bubbles in the airlock (see attached photo), but nothing really coming out.

Is fermentation stuck or is it normal?

Thanks for your help.
 

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doogie

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I'm not a cider brewer, but those bubbles are condensation from the humidity in the gas being given off and condensing when it comes in contact with the cooler plastic. I think you are fine.
 

KaiB

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Sounds perfectly normal. Sure, fermentation is a bit slower given the temps, but trust your cider.

Give it three more weeks, take a SG for notes, transfer to secondary for a month and then prime and bottle. (bottles to around 70* for three weeks...then storage)

Wait two months longer and enjoy!!!
 

CKuhns

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You could be about done - As suggested check SG wait a few days check again if the same then done. EC1118 is a Champaign yeast and will chew through Apple Juice pretty quickly with nutrients added even at 58 to 62. I have had many ciders complete in 7 - 10 days at 62 - 64 with a much less aggressive yeast. No direct experience with 1118 for Ciders but has gotten me out of a stuck ferment with Mead a time or two. The picture looks to me like a little bit of condensate due to no activity and a slightly cooler temp. Oh, and bucket lids are known to leak a little so even if no activity in the airlock, still could be chugging along.
 
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frenchie2

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Good morning,
Thanks a lot for your insights. I'll take a gravity reading this weekend and see where it's at. As you say CKuhns, maybe it's already over?

KaiB: you suggest leaving it like that for 3 more weeks, then into a carboy for second fermentation?

If there is no more fermentation, any harm leaving it a bit longer in that bucket before transfering?

Thanks!
 

KaiB

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No.

I leave my ciders in primary for three to four weeks, note SG (just because) and transfer to secondary (no headspace, but air lock) for btw. one and two months.

At that point, I note SG again (always dry and mine bottom out at 0.998), transfer to bottling bucket with 28g/gal sugar from AJC and bottle.

I am finally at the point that I can consume 6 month old ciders...and hope by spring to have enough around that I can wait even longer.
 
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frenchie2

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You guys were right. SG was 0.994 (from 1.0445), super clear too, i was surprised.
Tastes a bit watery right now. Will leave it there for another week (3 total) and then transfer to glass carboy.
 

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CKuhns

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Looks done - No need to wait to transfer, reduce the head space to reduce the chance of oxidation. Unless you need to clarify a bit more. Unfortunately, the bit watery could be from the apple juice itself, a relatively quick ferment like you had drives off some of those apple flavors we so enjoy. You could stabilize and add some FAJC or fruit to taste or add some tannens (Oak and or tea and a small bit of acid to help.)
 
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frenchie2

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What do you mean by "stabilize"?
I was going to transfer to glass carboy and leave it be for a while, and at the end of 1-2 months of 2nd fermentation, adjust tannins and acidity with wine tannins/acid blend.

Any thoughts on my next steps?
 

CKuhns

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Sorry Frenchie didnt see the question till now. Stabilize, adding sulfite and campden to stop the yeast from reproducing or if you prefer inhibitbthem from being able to eat more sugars. I personnaly never stabilize my ciders.

I think your on the right track with the timing, tannins and acid. The tannins will help round out the flavor and acid can give you that little "bite" or tartness we look for in cider.
 
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frenchie2

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Good afternoon,

Just transferred to the carboy. However, looks like I don’t have enough cider to fill it to the top. See attached photo. What should I do? Start a small batch to fill up in a couple of weeks? Add fresh juice? Do nothing?
 

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CKuhns

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Little more headspace than i personally would like, but not too bad i would let it be. It looks like it is still fermenting a little. If pushing through the air lock even a little then it is making its own CO2 and no worries.
 
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frenchie2

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Excellent. Thank you very much for your feedback.

I think my mistake was mixing up US and imperial gallons. Some of my containers are of the other kind.
 
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