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Carbonation problems

Used Cote des Blancs in 5 gal of fresh, pasteurized cider. Had good fermentation, and cider sat in primary for about 2 months or so. Bottled it 9 days ago, and at the same time bottled a kriek. Used table sugar to prime both. They are side by side in a room that stays around 70-75*. The kriek is already carbed nicely but the cider is totally flat, not even a slight hiss. I’ve never used Cote des Blancs, so not sure about what’s happening, or not happening. The cider is very cloudy and there is little to no sediment in the bottle. I know one week is normally not long enough for carbing, but my last cider (used wyeast cider yeast) carbed like a champ in 7 days.

Thanks for any insight,

Ron

Carbonation of cider is always a crapshoot. Since it’s only 2 months old in the fermenter, and only been 9 days in the bottles, I would say you need to be more patient. Cider can take 4 to 6 weeks to carbonate. 9 days is nowhere near enough time. Patience. And even then… sometimes ciders just don’t carbonate. The yeast gets tired and isn’t interested in eating anymore. After all, in a cider it hasn’t been eating nutritious malt sugars, it’s only been eating relatively crappy fructose and simple sugars for its whole life.

Thanks Dave. I’ll just let it ride for 3 or 4 weeks and see. I’ve got some t-58 and us-05 I could use to reyeast later if necessary. I just don’t like still cider.

Thanks,

Ron

Did you add any sugar to the fresh cider or just fermented the pure cider? Cote des Blancs should have a plenty-high alcohol tolerance, so unless you added a ton of sugar it should be fine. I agree with Dave, though - you probably just need to give it more time. Unless the haze is caused by pectin, it should be indicating plenty of yeast in suspension to carbonate it. Wine yeast eats table sugar like it’s its job (wait, I think it IS its job!)

I like to wait to bottle until the wine yeast clears on its own, usually after several months and you can’t see a light beam through it anymore. Even then, there should be enough yeast to carbonate, as long as you give it enough time.

So I’m at the six week mark in the bottle now and still zero carbonation. Zilch, not even a slight hiss. I’m thinking that Dave may have been prophetic, that my yeast just gave up the ghost after all the yummy but less nourishing fructose. I’m thinking of dropping a few grains of either us05 or t58 in one of the bottles and give it a couple of weeks to see if anything happens. Best plan?

Thanks,

Ron

I doubt that would work, but hey, anything’s possible.

You might have better luck with EC-1118 if you want to try dry yeast. Not sure what your OG was, but maybe you hit the alcohol tolerance of the cote des blancs? If you go that route, I’d recommend rehydrating it and adding some with an eyedropper rather than dropping in individual grains, as that would probably kill it.

FWIW, I bottled my cyser from 2013 a few weeks ago without bottling yeast. I used D47 in it, and it carbed just fine after 3-4 weeks. ABV was 9.8%, though, so it wasn’t quite at the alcohol tolerance.

Didn’t take an OG reading, but it was straight, fresh pressed, pasteurized cider from a local orchard. No added anything, so I’m assuming my OG was around 1.050 ish. So I’m assuming an abv of about 7%.

Thanks,

Ron

That’s weird… did it finish dry? At that ABV, you’d think US-05 or something similar would be fine, but you’ll still give them more of a fighting chance if you rehydrate first as opposed to adding the yeast dry.

I wouldn’t think it would quit like that either, but there is nothing to loose by adding fresh yeast and hoping for the best. I’d go one step further than just rehydrating though. Make a yeast starter. Rehydrate, then add a bit of sugar and some of the cider from your already fermented batch (about the same volume as the water you rehydrated in) to the starter. Next day, add some more sugar and double starter the volume again using more cider. That will slowly acclimate the yeast to the alcohol environment as it grows, so it won’t be shocked into dormancy when you squirt an eyedropper full into the bottles.

Also, use a yeast strain recommended for in-bottle fermentation of sparkling wines. EC-1118 or K1-1116 are probably the easiest to find.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]I wouldn’t think it would quit like that either, but there is nothing to loose by adding fresh yeast and hoping for the best. I’d go one step further than just rehydrating though. Make a yeast starter. Rehydrate, then add a bit of sugar and some of the cider from your already fermented batch (about the same volume as the water you rehydrated in) to the starter. Next day, add some more sugar and double starter the volume again using more cider. That will slowly acclimate the yeast to the alcohol environment as it grows, so it won’t be shocked into dormancy when you squirt an eyedropper full into the bottles.

Also, use a yeast strain recommended for in-bottle fermentation of sparkling wines. EC-1118 or K1-1116 are probably the easiest to find.[/quote]
Absolutely - that’s the best way to go. If you want the highest chances of success, this would be the way to go. Especially not knowing why your primary yeast failed. It does happen that commercial cidermills add preservatives to their cider that they don’t mention on their label. Not likely, but it does happen.

Thanks guys, sounds like I have a plan now. I’ll get some of the wine yeast and give it a shot. Really nothing to lose but a little time. The taste is good other than the lack of carbonation. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks again,

Ron

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