Pear cider has weird, chalky bubbles?

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Charly

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Hi everyone!

Sorry if this is too much of a beginner's question; this is basically my 3rd time making hard pear cider, and it's the first time I get these.

It's the 5th day; everything smells just fine, sugar content is dropping as expected, but the surface of the batch is is full of this ugly, chalky residue-looking thing, it's also all over the bubbles As in, on the surface and the space below them.
I can only assume it's yeast since everything should be very well sterilized and other than when burping the container, that batch hasn't seen the exterior world at all.

So I guess the questions are, is this... normal? What even is that? And more importantly, why hasn't it happened to its 'twin' batch which I have right to its side?

Haven't tried it yet just in case, I'd personally rather not contract some weird illness if I can avoid it.

Thanks in advance!
 

Yooper

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Can you grab a photo? It could be anything from pectin to contamination and it’s hard to guess at what it could be. Whatever it is won’t make you sick, it would just affect the taste but still it’d be good to get to the bottom of it!
 
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Charly

Charly

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Can you grab a photo? It could be anything from pectin to contamination and it’s hard to guess at what it could be. Whatever it is won’t make you sick, it would just affect the taste but still it’d be good to get to the bottom of it!
Scary bubbles subside after burping, but bits and pieces of the unidentified gunk remain.

I did take some pics just in case:

This is a closeup of the particulate

1613137448307.png

There's this big island-ish thing on the bottom left
1613137507704.png


This is after shaking it, mostly for funsies and wanted to see if I could whip up some more of the particulate
1613137573673.png


Thanks!
 

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It doesn’t look that bad, but I would recommend a couple of things. One, instead of burping your vessels, arrange for an airlock or a blow-off tube so that you aren’t allowing oxygen pickup at all and minimizing contamination risks. This is really really important.

I don’t see any solid edges to the gunk, so it may be nothing except some yeast and pectin mixed together but it does’t look exactly right to me.
 
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Charly

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I'll give that a try soon and report back with results! Thanks ^^
 

Qhrumphf

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I don't make much cider at all (and never made perry at all, so I can't speak to that at all) but the white chunks look like pellicle to me. Which would indicate contamination. Many wild yeasts and bacteria generate pellicles when exposed to oxygen (like burping your fermenter, as said above that's not the best way to do that).
 

toadie

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Yeah kinda looks like a pellicle. I used a small amount of campden when i racked.
 
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Charly

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Oh I forgot to clarify, this *is* wild yeast, I use yeast water from organic grapes on my back yard. The container is a glass lidded gallon jar, that's why I kinda have to plan ahead how I'm going to insert an airlock.

Got some pictures of the thing!
1613239625296.png

1613239660036.png


However... how is it that the other mason jar that's right beside this one and is full of the same thing doesn't have this issue?
 

Qhrumphf

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Ahh. Well that explains it. I've done *wild* cider that definitely formed a pellicle. And that definitely is a pellicle you've got.

Pellicles are an odd beast. Sometimes they form and sometimes they don't.
 

Rick Stephens

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A pellicle.

A little oxygen and a bit of a bacteria and you get a dry floater. Hard to get rid of once you got it. I recently had a 5 gallon cider batch in a big mouth bubbler, freshly in secondary, that formed one. I skimmed it off and re-racked the batch only to have it form again overnight. So I skimmed and bottled and drank the batch in short order.

The best fix is to limit surface area and airspace in your fermenter. Hard to do with buckets or large mouth fermenters. Downside with standard carboys is getting them clean through the little hole, but they are the ticket to limiting pellicle formation, along with topping them off of course.

Do pellicles damage your flavor? Arguable. I would say long term secondary with a pellicle is contraindicated and the potential for negative tastes or continued infection in the bottle is possible. I try everything in my power to keep from getting them even if many consider them harmless. Your results may vary. Can't wait to hear how your batch turns out.

Rick
 
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