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Infection in Secondary - Tried to Repitch

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pnwcider1234

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I think I had an infection in secondary and I wanted to explain what I've done to try an fix it and see if anyone has any advice on what I should have done and what I should do from this point on.

So first the backstory:

I juiced about 5 gallons worth of cider must into my fermenter for primary.
Added 5 crushed campden tablets
Waited two days with a towel over the lid stopper hole.
Added pectic enzyme (2.5 tsps) and stired, waited 1 hour
Added yeast nutrient (5 tsps) (diammonium phosphate)
Pitched a packet of Lallemand Nottingham Ale Yeast and stirred
Original gravity was 1.042

Waited about two weeks until fermentation was done (indicated by no more bubbles coming from airlock).
Measured final gravity and it was 1.000

Used a 6 gallon carboy to rack into for secondary fermentation.
I did have quite a bit of headspace, but figured I'd be okay because last year I also had a lot of head space.

After about a week I noticed the top layer started getting kind of dark; upon closer observation I noticed some white look specs.
So I figured I must have had an infection partially due to the amount of headspace in my carboy.

What I've started to do to fix the issue:

1. Resolve the issue of headspace by adding additional must:

Racked the cider from the carboy to a fermenter, there was about 4 gallons.
I juiced about 2.5 gallons worth of additional cider and add it on top of the existing cider (so about 6.5 gallons total in the fermenter).
The 'new' original gravity was 1.012.

2. Kill the infection:

Added 6 crushed campden tablets and waited two days. Without thinking I didn't just leave a towel on the top, I did put an airlock.

3. Start fermentation again:

Added pectic enzyme, stirred and waited an hour
Added yeast nutrient.
Pitched a packet of Lallemand Nottingham Ale Yeast and stirred

4. Wait for fermentation to begin
So far I haven't seen any air escape from the airlock.
To encourage fermentation, I moved the fermenter from my garage to my living room where it is a bit warmer.
However, I have another primary fermentation started in the garage (for a completely separate cider batch) and that one is going along just fine.

My question is what should I do at this point?

If I didn't see any air escaping the airlock within a couple of days, I was planning on trying to repitch yeast and just let it sit on top rather than mixing it in and seeing if that works; otherwise throwing it out.
 

Farside

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Chances are you nuked everything with SO2.
I'd place it in a cold spot until it's gassed off enough so your yeast can get going again
 
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pnwcider1234

pnwcider1234

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So just put it in a cold spot with the airlock installed or no airlock?
And how cold and how long?

Do I need to repitch another yeast?
 
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pnwcider1234

pnwcider1234

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Also today I noticed still no bubbles escaping from the airlock, so it's been 2 days since pitching the yeast.
 
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pnwcider1234

pnwcider1234

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What what it's worth my plan is to let some more oxygen in now. I've taken off the airlock and stirred it up.
I put a towel over the hole in the lid rather than the airlock.
I'll plan on stirring it once in the morning and night for the next two days and see if a krausen develops, if so, then I'll install an airlock.
Otherwise if no Krausen, I'll try repitching another yeast.
 

jseyfert3

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This is mostly advise for next time, I'm too much of a noobie myself to offer suggestions on how to save this batch. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along with some suggestions on possible ways to save this batch.

I'm currently reading How to Brew to learn more on the beer side of things. Wort for beer is aerated after the boil and cool, when pitching yeast to ensure the yeast have enough oxygen. According to Palmer, if enough yeast is pitched the yeast will use up all the dissolved oxygen added during aeration in approximately 30 minutes. So there's not oxygen for long, and certainly not while fermenting. A select few go even further and avoid oxygen during the boil to avoid oxidation issues there, only oxygenating when yeast is pitched so the yeast immediately use all the oxygen. Most consider this overkill, and I'm not sure the effects of oxidation on cider vs beer, but without a doubt oxygen is to be avoided after pitching yeast. I'm not sure how oxidized your batch is with a lot of headspace and then stirring to purposely add oxygen, but it's probably not great. My cider with store bought juice starts tasting bad if it sits in my vinyl kreezer lines for more than a day or two, presumably from the (well known) oxygen permeation through vinyl lines.

Was the white spots a pellicle or mold? Mold is fuzzy (hairy) and possibly colored spots, a pellicle is white and not fuzzy. The formation of a pellicle doesn't mean the cider is bad persay, in fact it's totally expected when a wild fermentation is done. If mold, the batch should be dumped. If pellicle, the batch is fine to drink if the flavor is good.

Summary for future batches: Avoid oxygen as much as possible after pitching yeast. When racking to secondary, rack to a smaller container or set of containers with very little headspace to avoid oxidation (start 5.5 gallons and rack to a 5 gallon carboy, or split a 5 gallon batch into several 1-2 gallon containers). And don't immediately freak out if you get a pellicle. It does mean something besides the pitched yeast is growing, but if not mold is not harmful, and doesn't necessarily indicate the batch will taste bad.

Good luck!
 

Farside

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The cold temperature is an attempt to slow down any residual bacteria from multiplying as it could take a week before SO2 levels drop to a point where the yeast will re start.

Depending on how much air space you have in the fermenter you might want to not put an airlock on so that the gasses can dissipate.

It's a tricky situation because there is fresh food in there so you can't let it sit for too long. Maybe a high SO2 tolerant yeast will get an edge on the infection but without knowing what the likely culprit is, it's hard to say.
 
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pnwcider1234

pnwcider1234

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Repitched yesterday and still no action today. Moving the bucket to from the garage where it's slightly warmer.
Will give it a week or so to see if something happens.
Appreciate any recommendations.
 

doublejef

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New yeast should need oxygen to grow and start working. As you want (and I think you are right to) to avoid oxygen, you maybe need to over pitch. Somethnig like 3 time the needed yeast amount and some yeast nutriment.
All I wrote here is mostly uncertain, just my 2 cents.
 
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pnwcider1234

pnwcider1234

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Came here to say that it never recovered, I had to pour the whole thing out and it smelled kind of like rotten eggs at the end. Don't follow in my footsteps, lesson learned: make your primary fermentation 2 gallons larger than your secondary fermentation container
 
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