Cider Conundrum

Hi all,

I pressed and froze about 45 gallons of cider this fall. I recently thawed 6 gallons and split it into 2 three gallon carboys. These are my 4th and 5th batches of hard cider and I’ve haven’t had any issues prior to this.

With the most recent attempt, I let the cider sit until fully thawed for 2 days and then transferred it into 3 gallon carboys and let it sit for 2 days, I added potassium meta to kill off/halt any surviving wild yeast and then let both and sit for 24 hours. I added pectic enzyme and let them sit for another 24 hours. I used Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast for both and let each pack inflate/expand overnight (12 hrs.) before pitching. I also added yeast nutrient to both carboys. The OG of one carboy after adding brown and cane sugar was 1.051 and the other was 1.062.

The problem is, one carboy (the lower OG) took off like a rocket within 24 hours of pitching and the other one isn’t doing anything. I have foam coming out of the airlock on the active carboy and nothing on the other one. There is an extremely small ring of tiny bubbles on the surface of the inactive carboy-but not really anything that would indicate active fermentation. According to the yeast packets, both had a manufacture date of Dec. 2014.

Any thoughts as to what happened or what I should do?

My plan to let the carboy with active fermentation run it’s course and then rack it to a secondary and then transfer the one that is inactive onto the lees/sediment of the one that was active in hopes there is sufficient yeast to get it going.

Any insight you can give would be appreciated!

Taste them. If they taste good, then no action is needed. It’s possible (improbable but still possible) that the one that took off like a banshee is contaminated. I don’t usually see a lot of foam out of my ciders. The one that seems calm and quiet might turn out even better than the excited one. Taste them both and find out. And check gravities too.

Thanks. I’ll do that.

This morning there was more activity in the “quiet” carboy. I’ll just let it go and keep an eye the gravity.

I can’t figure out why it’s lagging so far behind when both were started the same way at the same time. I guess it is what it is, both should be fine.

1.062 is kind of a high OG for one smack pack of yeast. It’s probably just experiencing a longer lag period because of the additional sugar. I wouldn’t worry about it - when I don’t add sugar and start with an OG of around 1.050, it certainly takes off faster than if you bump up the gravity with sugar or honey.

Relax, give it a few more days. It’s probably just fine.

I had a similar issue with one of my batches. One batch was 1.062 and the other was 1.073. The .062 went well…not a real foamy batch but there was some foam within day 2. The other one did the same thing yours did…nothing. I did read somewhere that if there was too much sugar and not enough yeast, there is a lag; as the last post author stated. Mine eventually did show signs of life after 4 or 5 days. I have them both cold crashing in my garage now. I let one get down to 1.010 for and the other to 1.000. Going to put together a 6 gallon batch as soon as my big mouth v2 gets in. Dang snow is holding up deliveries.

Thanks for the responses.

You all were right about the additional sugars in the higher OG carboy slowing the start of active fermentation. Lesson learned. It took about 3-4 days for the inactive carboy to become really active. I had to put both carboys in a coleman cooler during fermentation (with the lid open) to catch all the blow off that came out of the airlocks. I know cider doesn’t usually ferment that vigorously but all of mine have. Maybe it’s just my apples! I guess I’ll just have to plan on a blow off tube from now on…anyway, both are comfortably resting in a secondary and will remain there for the next 5-6 weeks.

The most active carboy has already cleared crystal clear without adding any gelatin. The “Inactive” carboy is about 1/3 clear.

I don’t plan on adding anything to stabilize prior to bottling so I can get some carbonation when I add priming sugar. I used the plastic water bottle trick from an earlier thread with my last batch and that turned out great. I’m hoping for similar results!

The need for a blow-off tube in cider has a lot to do with the yeast used, in my experience. With Notty, I’ve needed a blow-off tube just about every time, whereas a lot of wine yeasts you can virtually fill up a carboy to the neck and it won’t matter one bit.

Glad it worked out for you!