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Cider Fermentation Issues

Hi there! I’m making my first batch of cider, and I’m running into a few problems. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

The local home-brew shop had a cider day, where they brought in a bunch of cider from a local orchard. I bought 5 gallons and picked it up in a sterilized plastic brew bucket.

I brought it home and added about 4 campden tablets crushed up (started with 5 but spilled a little bit on the counter, so approx. 4 total actually made it in).

The next day, about 30ish hours later, I pitched a packet of Saffale US-05 dry yeast without rehydrating. My OG was 1.052.

I waited for three days, and nothing was happening in the airlock, so I took another gravity reading, which was still 1.052. I went back to the home-brew shop yesterday (72 hours after pitching the first yeast) and the guy there recommended re-pitching with 2 packets of Lavlin EC-1118 yeast. He also recommended rehydrating it first, and he said I should see some significant fermentation by the next day.

I went home and did this. Now 24 hours later still no action in the airlock, and I noticed a lot of sediment in the bottom. I took another gravity reading, and it’s still 1.052. The cider still tastes fresh and smells like it did last weekend when I started.

Should I just keep waiting? Should I pitch more yeast? Add yeast nutrients? Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Jon

Seems like the orchard added their own preservatives, thus killing any yeast that comes in contact. Maybe give it a few more days. Eventually it will ferment, it’s just a matter of time. Leave it alone. It will probably turn out fine. Just be patient.

Thanks for the advice. I’d be kind of surprised if the orchard added any preservatives if they were bringing it over to a home brew store? Plus this cider mill is a well known cider mill for getting cider for brewing (they have their own brewery/wine cellar too). I’m not convinced that it’s the case of them adding any preservatives, but I’ll keep letting it go, hopefully it works out sooner or later.

You might want to try making a large starter with something easily fermentable, and once it’s going strong add some of your unfermented juice to get the yeast acclimated. If that takes off, add a little more juice, ferment again, and pitch the whole starter into the rest of the batch.

What temperature is the cider at? It should be between 55 and 70F for a strong fermentation without off-flavors.

Yeast nutrients won’t hurt anything, and could help - though in cider they shouldn’t be necessary.

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