I recently started brewing my first batch of cider. I got some unpasturized, unfiltered apple juice from a local orchard, poured it into a 6.5 gallon plastic brewing bucket, added some potassium metabisulfite, waited 24 hours, then added some hydrated Red Star Champagne yeast. I then closed the lid and installed an airlock in the hole in the top. I put the bucket in a dark, cool room and let it sit for about a week and a half, checking the airlock daily for bubbles, but I saw nothing. Absolutely no movement in the airlock. I then measured the SG with a hydrometer and got a reading of 1.000. The original gravity was about 1.060. I am a bit confused as it seems the cider has completely fermented but shouldn’t I have seen bubbles in the airlock? The only thing I can think of is that there was an air leak somewhere and so I didn’t see any bubbles. Should I proceed to racking it into my glass carboy for secondary fermentation or is it screwed? Am I too late? Thanks so much for the help!
If you’re confident on the gravity reading then yes, it fermented and there’s a leak in the lid somewhere. I would let it sit for another 4-7 days to let the primary yeast finish their work (you could leave it for several weeks if you like) before racking to the secondary.
OK great. Isn’t there some risk of air contamination now though as the bucket it is currently in is not air sealed?
I have 2 buckets I ferment in occasionally. Neither seals or shows airlock activity. The CO2 is taking the easy path and escaping around the lid.
I wouldn’t do an extended conditioning in them but then I wouldn’t do that in a bucket anyway. For the average 2-4 week fermentation you’re fine because there’s enough CO2 pushing ‘out’ to keep contaminants from getting ‘in’.
Awesome! Thanks so much for your help. Another question…
I want my cider to be carbonated. I understand this can be done by adding an amount of yeast and sugar before bottling. I believe it is called priming? Can you explain how this is done exactly? Thanks again
before pitching to keep the cell count as high as possible – I say that and I am typically an advocate for NOT rehydrating – in this case it just makes good sense.???