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Author Topic: Cider Troubles  (Read 590 times)

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Cider Troubles
« on: October 16, 2023, 05:52:50 pm »
I've been brewing for the past 14 years, but never made cider from fresh pressed juice. This year, my Golden Delicious tree produced an absolute ton of apples (I'd guess almost literally). I borrowed a crusher and press from friends and got to work. I collected about 25 gallons before I got tired of harvesting, cutting, crushing, and pressing apples. I was going to a yeast experiment, since I have 5 - 5 gallon batches. I added Potassium Metabisulfate to the juice at a rate of 1tsp/gal to kill off any nasties or wild strains. I waited two days and then pitched my yeast. Not one fermented. OG - 1.044, checked after three days - 1.044. I thought, well hell, maybe I didn't shake it enough before pitching the yeast and there was still some SO2 in solution blocking out the yeast. So, I got out my wine degasser and drill and went to town on them for 3 minutes each changing directions every 30 seconds. Then pitched another batch of yeast in each. It's been 3 days, nothing. still 1.044. Please send help! I don't want soft cider, but I'm starting to think I might be stuck with soft cider. I'm also out nearly $100 in yeast already. So, if anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it. TIA
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2023, 06:37:26 pm »
You used about 16 times as much K-meta as you should have.  The yeast might be alive but is extremely unhappy about the chemistry.  You could try letting the juice sit for a week or two and hope that eventually enough of the K-meta will gas off that the yeast can start to take off, and then consider pitching more yeast.  Otherwise, oops, not only did you kill nasties and wild beasts but you've also prevented fermentation by your good yeast.
Dave

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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2023, 06:47:07 pm »
Woah, really?! That's wild! I had read and seen in recipes 1tsp/gal rate. Somehow that got stuck in my head and I used it. I just looked at the package and it said 1/4tsp/gal adds 50ppm K so I added a ton of Potassium, thinking I might bring the cider to a boil and see if that fixes things. Thoughts on that?
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2023, 09:14:22 pm »
I don't think heat will work.  It might make things worse.

What you need in there is oxygen.

Splashing with a whisk a few times a day would help.  But based on how much sulfite you have in there, this could take many days to whip enough oxygen into solution.  You could also bubble oxygen into the juice, if you have an oxygenation setup (used by many homebrewers particularly for oxygenating beer wort at beginning of fermentation).  A minute or two of straight oxygen might be all you need.

After a little more research, I discovered that hydrogen peroxide can also be used to remove sulfite.  And this makes sense, because hydrogen peroxide is essentially "liquid oxygen" for most intents & purposes of the layman.  Based on further calculations... an appropriate starting amount appears to be around 3/4 to 1 cup hydrogen peroxide per 5 gallons.  This should give instant results; the chemical reaction is very fast.  That number (3/4 cup) is undershot a little bit on purpose, because I know if you add too much at one time, the juice will turn a darker brown-gray color and will probably be ruined (ever heard of oxidation? yeah, it's not good), and I'm sure you don't want to do that.  But if the first shot doesn't help fermentation begin after a few hours, if I were you I would plan to add a little more hydrogen peroxide, about 1/4 cup at a time, every 6-8 hours, until you see fermentation activity begin to take off.  And eventually it will work.  The big unknown is exactly how much to add without going overboard.  Again, if the juice turns a darker color, it's probably ruined, so let's avoid try to avoid that.  Eventually, the yeast will become happy enough after most of the sulfite is neutralized and you'll have normal signs of active fermentation.  At least, in theory, from what I can tell.

Source?  Check this out:

https://winemakermag.com/technique/762-wine-kit-first-aid

Best of luck to you.  I think this could work.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2023, 09:47:44 pm »
I'll give it a whirl! heh, get it? You're my homeboy if this works! I'll try first thing tomorrow and I'll lyk results! Thanks for the intel! I should have started here before doing anything.
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Offline denny

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2023, 08:37:25 am »
I've been making cider from my own fresh pressed apples for over 20 years. Used to use k meta because I was worried about infection. After a couple years of that, I tried it without. No difference,  and I haven't used it since. Dunno what you can do about your current batch, but I recommend you skip it in the future.
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Cider Troubles
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2023, 09:43:33 am »
Thanks Denny. I'll skip it in the future and see what happens if I have another bumper crop like this one. I saved 5 gallons of cider that I finished stabilizing with k-meta and sorbate, that tastes fantastic. I'm hoping the O2 will work on the other four buckets. I tried straight O2 on one bucket and I'm doing H2O2 on another and seeing if either works.
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