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White film on cider

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Squivo

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there is a white film that has recently developed on my cider. I put it in here on Sept 6 - it had been in a primary for a week prior. When I moved it it was 0 gravity but I added some store bought apple cider to it to fill it up... any info would be great. Thanks
 

dawn_kiebawls

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That looks to be a pellicle, indicating an infection has taken hold. It's hard to tell from the picture, but if it is fuzzy or hairy looking then that is mold and should be destroyed immediately

What king of juice did you start with? Was it store bought or fresh pressed?

If it was store bought juice from the start, then it was a sanitation issue. If fresh pressed juice then there is wild yeast present and without treating the juice you will get a spontaneous/wild fermented cider.

I would give it a quick taste and if it isn't off-putting package and consume quickly. Cheers!
 
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Squivo

Squivo

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It was fresh pressed. I used campden tablets and waited for a day and a half before adding yeast, which took off quickly... so it’s still okay to drink?
 

dawn_kiebawls

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Assuming it is not mold, which it doesn't appear to be, it will be safe to drink. There's a recipe on here for a funky/wild cider where @RPh_Guy only uses the wild yeast from the apples to ferment the cider and has had good results.

Keep us posted and let us know how it turns out!
 

RPh_Guy

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Indeed it appears to be a pellicle and that is simply an effect of using unpasteurized juice. Campden (sulfites) does not kill all the wild microbes. It is safe to drink.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean the cider is ruined? What should I do?
A pellicle is formed by wild yeast, brett and other microbes when exposed to oxygen. If you started with store bought juice it means sanitation was an issue and something (brett, wild yeast, etc) found its way in.

Only you can decide if it was ruined or not. Taste it and decide from there. If it tastes good and the gravity is stable I would package, refrigerate and drink it up fairly quickly.

If it tastes bad, then it likely wont get any better and I would dump it.

Pellicles are perfectly safe so fear not. But, if it's fuzzy or hairy looking it's mold and needs to be destroyed immediately. Hope this is some sort of help. Cheers!
 

cottonwoodks

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A pellicle is formed by wild yeast, brett and other microbes when exposed to oxygen. If you started with store bought juice it means sanitation was an issue and something (brett, wild yeast, etc) found its way in.

Only you can decide if it was ruined or not. Taste it and decide from there. If it tastes good and the gravity is stable I would package, refrigerate and drink it up fairly quickly.

If it tastes bad, then it likely wont get any better and I would dump it.

Pellicles are perfectly safe so fear not. But, if it's fuzzy or hairy looking it's mold and needs to be destroyed immediately. Hope this is some sort of help. Cheers!
Yes--that's very helpful. Thanks! I pressed the apples myself. It's not fuzzy or hairy looking. It was my most promising batch, when I finally got a yeast that could handle the higher temps we were stuck with--Belle Saison. I'll taste it tomorrow.....
 

cottonwoodks

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And then what does it mean if it disappeared? I think someone at the time said it looked like some manifestation of yeast growth. I was just looking at my notes, and evidently when I had this happen a few weeks ago, it was in a different carboy, and now there's no sign of it there, and it's here in this one.....

I'm still going to taste it, and bottle it, but now I'm wondering if I should do the other carboy too, even though it's been clear for the past two weeks.
 

Albionwood

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That's a film yeast (sometimes called "kahm") and while not toxic, it is generally not good either. It is a sign of oxygen ingress, which is always bad for cider, and in my experience it invariably creates unpleasant off-flavors if left to work too long. I would add a small amount of sulfite, and keg or bottle ASAP.

Film yeast is distinctive because it forms those floating white plates that are brittle and will break up and sink if disturbed. The pellicles from Brett, Pedio and the like are different, more cohesive, often trapping bubbles under them.
 

cottonwoodks

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That's a film yeast (sometimes called "kahm") and while not toxic, it is generally not good either. It is a sign of oxygen ingress, which is always bad for cider, and in my experience it invariably creates unpleasant off-flavors if left to work too long. I would add a small amount of sulfite, and keg or bottle ASAP.

Film yeast is distinctive because it forms those floating white plates that are brittle and will break up and sink if disturbed. The pellicles from Brett, Pedio and the like are different, more cohesive, often trapping bubbles under them.
Will do. This afternoon absolutely for sure. How much sulfite? Is 5 campden tablets/5 gallon carboy enough?
 

Albionwood

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Will do. This afternoon absolutely for sure. How much sulfite? Is 5 campden tablets/5 gallon carboy enough?
I don't have experience with the tablets, I mix up a 10% stock solution (100 g in 1 L water) and use that to get the dosage I want. That also allows me to add a small amount, maybe 10 mL, in the neck of a carboy to get a high concentration right where it's needed, without sulfiting the whole batch.

eta: Sulfite use is complicated, it depends a lot on the pH of the must or wine you are adding it to, what stage of the process you're in, and what you're trying to achieve. Here's a pretty exhaustive treatment of the subject: www.modernbrewhouse.com/wiki/Sulfite
 
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Jayjay1976

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Brettanomyces is among the wild yeasts commonly encountered when pressing fresh fruit, and many other wild yeasts also present pellicles so generally speaking, no distinction between them is necessary.
 

Albionwood

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Brettanomyces is among the wild yeasts commonly encountered when pressing fresh fruit, and many other wild yeasts also present pellicles so generally speaking, no distinction between them is necessary.
I would disagree with this, because the effects of each are very different. Brett for example can make a lovely cider all by itself, which this white film yeast absolutely cannot do. And the pellicles are very different. There are beneficial wild yeasts and there are harmful ones, and those that form these brittle waxy-looking films (not at all like a Brett pellicle) are in my experience never beneficial.
 
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Squivo

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So my follow up is this - when I went to remove the bung it wasn’t pushed in properly - so I’m pretty sure I had some oxygen get in. The cider tastes fine - a little sour finish but the apples flavour is decent so I’m racking it tomorrow. Thanks for the clarification everyone!
 
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Squivo

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Actually I have a follow up question - will the cider develop pellicles in the bottles after I rack them? I’m assuming they will, becuase the cider is infected already - but maybe with less oxygen it won’t have a chance to regrow?
 

Ronnb

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Similar to this, which I'm still uncertain about?View attachment 701157
Geez, it's a pelicle. Don't worry.
Many times pellicles look like this or a solid white film or even bubble-looking nodules, depending upon the yeast at work.
This looks a bit like a type of brett. but I would not know without a lab workup on it.
Yeasts are everywhere in nature and considering what you are doing, are natural.
 

Ronnb

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Actually I have a follow up question - will the cider develop pellicles in the bottles after I rack them? I’m assuming they will, because the cider is infected already - but maybe with less oxygen it won’t have a chance to regrow?
If the yeast has really finished working and there is no more sugar or anything for it to eat, there should be no pellicle though there will be live yeast present.
I've noted elsewhere that if this happens in the bottle, one can give it a bit of a shake and it is fine. Funny thing but to beer makers this "infection" is a good thing and a part of the fermentation process. ^_^
 

Ronnb

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If the yeast has really finished working and there is no more sugar or anything for it to eat, there should be no pellicle though there will be live yeast present.
I've noted elsewhere that if this happens in the bottle, one can give it a bit of a shake and it is fine. Funny thing but to beer makers this "infection" is a good thing and a part of the fermentation process. ^_^
P.S. Take notes on everything!!
Many times good things happen (or not so good) and notes help to avoid or recreate some of our efforts.
 
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Squivo

Squivo

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Thanks, there's been some interesting info shared on this thread :)
 
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I'm a couple weeks late on this forum, but FWIW we always let the wild bugs ferment our ciders and they turn out amazing. They need to age for at least 5 months before they are drinkable, but friends, neighbors, co-workers line up for bottles.

We bulk age for 5 months, then bottle. We normally use another fruit juice as the priming sugar (check sugar content so you don't get bottle bombs!) and let them bottle-condition for at least another two weeks before anyone can take them away. They get better with age and after a full year are absolutely amazing.

Reevesie
 
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