So last weekend, 10.20.12 my wife and I had an apple pressing party at our house. All told we crushed 1000+ lbs of apples. Friends and family got a lot of juice. I got roughly 15 gallons of fresh juice in 3 carboys. I got 12 gallons of local blackberry honey and put 6 lbs into 2 of the carboys along with the juice I pitched campden tablets and wine yeast nutrient into the 2 honeyed carboys, then aerated the juice, waited 30 hours or so then pitched re-hydrated 1116 Red Wine Yeast. Fermentation was visually evident with 24 hrs. I had temp controlled these 2 carboys at 66 deg F, but then brewed a beer that I wanted to control the temps on 1 week after starting these cysers, so they are feremnting in a cold room that is in the 50’s.
I had a third carboy of juice that I am just spontaneously fermenting, it didn’t get any campden, or yeast or anything, no temp control. The room def smells of sulphur, but I am not sure if it is the spontaneous cider, or the cysers, or all of them! The beer is doing well.
What kind of flavors can I expect from the cysers if they have no temp control? I am not too worried about esters and such being that they will likely be very dry. I have never played with wine yeast before. Have I screwed the proverbial pooch? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
In my experience slow and low temp is the best way to go with any cider or specialty cider. Tends to preserve your aromatics better. What was your OG? After 6 lbs of honey I’m guessing pretty high. This means you might have a long wait for fermentation to be complete. For example I did a cider last year very similarly, got it going in the mid 60s but after that it spent a lot of time in the high 50s. It took over three months to ferment (OG was around1.060) and close to 6 months to mellow. But after that it was dynamite.
I’ve never used red wine yeast. I’ve had my best results with white wine, ale and lager yeast. If you remember, let us know how it worked out.
As for the natural fermentation, that’s a fun but dangerous game. It’s all wild yeast and they may be stressed and in competition, both unfavorable situations. Wild yeast will rarely ferment past about 5% ABV so you may wind up with a delicious, naturally sweet cider. Just keep an eye on it, though. Even at 5% it may not be stable. You might consider refrigerating it after it’s done fermenting.
If I had to guess, I would put my money on the sulfur coming from stress in your spontaneous batch. Can you get you nose up close and detect the source? Sulfur is also something some yeast are expected to produce. For example, I tend to get sulfury fermentation smells with Cote Des Blancs but the end result is always fine.
All in all, sounds like your in for some tasty beverage.
I doubt that you are picking up that much sulfur from the K1-V1116. You will notice a loss of some of the delicate flavors of the honey in the batch without the temp control. I try to keep my ciders, cysers, and meads in the 50’s. Just make sure to provide good levels of nutrients and fermentation should move along nicely.
I have not added any nutrient since pitching a week and half or so. Is it too late or is it still a good idea at this point? And if I do, do I physically stir the nutrient in, or just let it settle through? Thanks for the info.