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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: iso-alphaBrew on January 11, 2019, 05:12:00 PM

Title: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: iso-alphaBrew on January 11, 2019, 05:12:00 PM
Hey all,

First time-time (but will be long-time) poster. I've been brewing all-grain beer for just over a year now and I've loved every minute of it. A few months ago in the fall I decided to try my first attempt at making a hard cider. I looked up that you DON'T want cider that has preservatives. So, what did I do? I went to a local (one hour away) apple farm and picked up some freshly made cider with no preservatives. I then proceeded to pick up a pack of Safcider, pitched it in my 1-gallon carboy with the cider and *viola* a week and a half later fermentation was complete (no issues).

I wanted to make some more cider, but this time I was going to add some spice (cinnamon sticks) to the fermentation. Since apples are out of season here where I live, I couldn't go to the apple farm. However, my local Whole Foods sells preservative free cider (at least that's what it says on the label and ingredients) so I picked up a gallon of that. I used the same Safcider, pitched the yeast and absolutely no fermentation occurred. I thought maybe I didn't sanitize the carboy properly, the yeast was poor, or for whatever reason, it was just bad luck. So I went and bought another gallon of the same cider, used Brewer's Best cider yeast this time (and I even rehydrated the dry yeast this go around), and still no fermentation.

Can anyone explain what my issue might be? THe only thing i can think of is this cider i'm buying is different than what the label reads as "preservative free."

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: mainebrewer on January 11, 2019, 05:17:11 PM
What does the label list as ingredients?
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: iso-alphaBrew on January 11, 2019, 05:31:58 PM
What does the label list as ingredients?

All it says is "100% apple cider"
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: dmtaylor on January 11, 2019, 07:29:52 PM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: iso-alphaBrew on January 12, 2019, 11:18:16 PM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.

No activity in the airlock and no kräusen
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: dmtaylor on January 13, 2019, 01:16:47 AM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.

No activity in the airlock and no kräusen

So you don't know, because you haven't checked specific gravity.
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: iso-alphaBrew on January 14, 2019, 07:54:55 PM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.

No activity in the airlock and no kräusen

So you don't know, because you haven't checked specific gravity.

I haven’t checked, no. OG was 1.047. I’ll take a gravity reading  when i get off work tonight
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: iso-alphaBrew on January 22, 2019, 06:51:04 AM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.

No activity in the airlock and no kräusen

So you don't know, because you haven't checked specific gravity.

I haven’t checked, no. OG was 1.047. I’ll take a gravity reading  when i get off work tonight

So update: I forgot to reply here last week, but I took a gravity reading and it was surprisingly lower than what I expected. It was showing a 1.015.

I was just surprised to see literally no activity. Everything I’ve fermented (beer and the one cider I fermented 3 months ago) always showed activity. Guess I’ll make sure to check the gravity reading before calling it quits.
Title: Re: Problems getting cider to ferment
Post by: dmtaylor on January 22, 2019, 12:59:08 PM
How sure are you that it's not fermenting?  Have you checked specific gravity?  Fermentation can happen without any visible activity.  There is typically a little foam on a cider, but not always very obvious.

No activity in the airlock and no kräusen

So you don't know, because you haven't checked specific gravity.

I haven’t checked, no. OG was 1.047. I’ll take a gravity reading  when i get off work tonight

So update: I forgot to reply here last week, but I took a gravity reading and it was surprisingly lower than what I expected. It was showing a 1.015.

I was just surprised to see literally no activity. Everything I’ve fermented (beer and the one cider I fermented 3 months ago) always showed activity. Guess I’ll make sure to check the gravity reading before calling it quits.

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4238/35009262214_593b7911cf_o.jpg)