wild yeast

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Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Jan 26, 2017
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I've made cider from unpasteurized juice both with and without sulfite as well as from pasteurized juice.

First, any method can make excellent cider, so whatever way you choose will be fine if you use a solid process.

On the wild side, if you just put your fresh pressed juice under airlock and let it ferment 45-60°F for a few months, you'll very likely end up with a great cider.
You can use products like Scott Labs Booster Blanc to help maintain the apple aroma/flavor through MLF.

Adding sulfite before fermentation knocks down the wild microbe expression, so you can produce a more predicable and reproducible cider. You'll need to add sulfite after fermentation as well, because sulfite doesn't entirely kill all the wild stuff so you'll need to continue inhibiting it if you don't want it.

Pasteurizing the juice eliminates the wild microbes, so I guess it's a bit more idiot-proof (i.e. you can completely oxidize it and it won't produce any acetic acid). I've never pasteurized the juice myself, so I don't know how it compared to commercially pasteurized juice, but it seems to make really good cider, depending on the quality of the apples/blend.

I like the wild microbe expression, so personally I lean towards not pasteurizing.