Wild Cider Question

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NYCBrewGuy

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Hi all,

I'm fairly new to brewing but since I live next door to a farmers market I decided to try something a little different. I made a yeast starter from pear and apple skins that I put in a sanitized bottle with some juice. After a week or so the yeast seemed to be working away, creating a think krausen and plenty of carbonation (I was using a soda bottle for the starter...). I pitched the starter to 2 gallons of fresh juice (50% pear, 50% apple) in a 5 gallon carboy (a lot of headspace but its all I have). 24 hours later I have a very thin krausen, the airlock is bubbling, and all seems OK. BUT, I am getting a sulphury smell from the airlock and I'm a little concerned I will end up with 2 gallons of vinegar.

Any words of wisdom or assurance? Also, after 10 days in the primary (if the krausen has subsided), I plan on racking to two 1-gallon glass jugs, keep it in the secondary 2 weeks or so, then bottling. Can I prime with apple juice? I like the idea of keeping this 100% wild and natural...

I imagine some of you have tried this and welcome any tips.

Thanks
 

Dos_Locos_Brewery

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Sulphury is a natural odor, and has nothing to do with vinegar. Vinegar comes from fermenting alcohol to acetic acid, and you need a mother-of-vinegar culture to do this. The natural yeasts from the apples/pears should do the trick - you just may need to keep an open mind as to what the flavor profile should be. No reason you can't prime with apple juice - make sure you calculate the amount correctly. And drink it young!
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Do a search on Rhino Farts and I think you see that is kind of normal for ciders. Best of luck.
 
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NYCBrewGuy

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Well, after about a week in primary, I racked to secondary - two glass jugs. (no real reason for the secondary but I need my primary for my holiday ale). I took a gravity reading and was at 1.001... pretty dry right?

Also, there are some funky tastes and smells going on right now. I've read about fusels and that's a good description of what I'm getting. Some burning flavors and a little nail polish smell...

I'm guessing that this will mellow with age. Any suggestions?

Thanks
 

CvilleKevin

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Wild yeasts are all a bit different, but in my experience they dont taste very good if you let them go below 1.010 or so, and they dont age very well. I had one from last year that I let get too dry and I ended up giving it to some friends for making vinegar a couple of months ago. An overly dry ale yeast batch will usually become drinkable with enough aging, but wild yeast not so much.

Hopefully your batch will age better or you can find something that works to backsweeten it. It will still make decent vinegar, just dont do that anywhere near your brew operations, and farm animals will like it, so dont just dump it.
 
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