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Help! First batch ever

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RedStone

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At the risk of sounding stupid - I dumped a packet of Safale s-04 into my fermenter. Several gallon bucket. Its a day later and I dont see anything. Was I supposed to mix this first? I peaked and didnt see anything going on. I have some yeast nutrient on hand but thought I 'd wait to see what deal is. Should I add that?
 

FiddlersGreen87

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Did you aerate the bucket by shaking it?

Either way if you did or didn't, give it some more time and the yeast will probably pick up. It can take as long as 48 hours to get going. Dry yeast tends to start slower if pitched directly into the wort without a starter.

A couple ways you can improve your lag time to get fermentation going

1) Aerate sufficiently.

2) Store your fermenter in the optimal temp for that yeast (several costly or cost-effective ways to accomplish this - research fermentation)

3) Make a starter for your yeast next time, this will shorten the lag time dramatically because your yeast will already be hoppin' and poppin' when you throw them into the fermenter (google search yeast starter).
 
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RedStone

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Yes - I did shake the bucket but not super vigorously.
Ok. Forgot to mention. I put 1/4 tsp of campden per gallon in the day before. I heard I should wait a day. I have since read - 2 days. That could be a problem as well I was thinking. The other thing I realized. I have a hydrometer. Never used one before but think I can do that. Is it too late to measure that? I am afraid to open the bucket for a long period. So

1. Measure SG ?
2. pitch another packet of yeast with some warm (distilled?) water?
3. add yeast nutrient?

Thanks for quick response. Very cool.
 

FiddlersGreen87

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I wouldn't do any of those. Put it in a dark corner and just wait. Patience is the hardest part of the hobby. You run the much worse risk of infecting your wort/cider by opening the fermenter and doing anything you mentioned.

On the aeration note, you don't need to shake "super vigorously", you're just trying to cause some splashing around on the inside for a few minutes that allows oxygen to absorb. It's not a paint can after all.


It is a common misconception that campden tablet can be used to halt the ferment process in wine before all the available sugars are converted by the yeast, hence controlling the amount of residual sweetness in the final product. This however is not true. In order to halt fermentation, enough campden tablets would have to be added to render the wine undrinkable. Alternatively, when used in conjunction with potassium sorbate, the yeast population will be greatly reduced and prevented from reproducing. Without the addition of potassium sorbate the yeast population will only be stunned and eventually repopulate if provided with enough fermentable sugars.
 
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RedStone

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Ærating - thats pretty much what I did. The bucket is heavy, so I couldnt do too much. My gut feeling is the yeast should have been activated as you say. And I should have measured the SG. The bucket was quite full and I dumped some out and its in the freezer. I could probably measure that to get some idea. But since this is my first batch, I am trying to keep it simple. But it would be a shame to wait a week and watch it go bad because there is simply no active yeast in it.

Thanks again.
 

FiddlersGreen87

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Not saying you should be waiting a week. Just give it a full 1-2 days to get rolling. The gravity reading isn't going to make your yeast start either way. I think you'll be fine. If you don't see anything happening after 3 days you could try pitching another pack of dry yeast.

If you're only 24 hours in there an entire day to go for the yeast to kick off. I made a porter this weekend, 10gal batch, split into two carboys, split the starter in measuring cups, and the 2nd carboy was still about 4 hours behind the first in getting going. Everything should of been equal and even, but we're talking about microscopic processes in my garage, so it's never going to be identical.

I only asked about the aeration because it helps the yeast to reproduce. You can still get fermentation without aeration, the yeast will be more stressed and you might not get as efficient of a fermentation. Either way you'll still have fermented cider in the end.
 
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RedStone

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Ok. Got a ring with a big dot in the middle of the bucket. Have not opened the lid or anything. I saw some pictures of fermenting cider and this looks something like it. I think I was expecting a frothy mess by now, but I guess its still a wait n see situation.
 

bernardsmith

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As long as you sanitize all your tools (your hydrometer , for example) by washing it or soaking it in K-meta then you need have no fear about contamination. Fruit ain't grain and cider ain't beer: you SHOULD be opening your fermenter and stirring the liquor several times a day during primary fermentation to incorporate air into the liquid. Measuring the SG is the only effective way of knowing when you should be transferring the liquid into a smaller vessel - one that you can then seal with a bung and airlock (when the gravity drops to about 1.005). It is at that point when you want to begin protecting the cider (or wine or mead) from contact with the air.
I am not certain but I suspect the amount of "froth" largely depends on the chemical structure of the liquid you are fermenting. The longer the molecules and the more protein then the more likely the liquid will hold onto the CO2 as bubbles. The more fragile the surface tension is the less likely the liquid will maintain those bubbles for any length of time... You are fermenting apple juice , not barley liquor.
 
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