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First time cider brewer, made an interesting mistake

Hi everyone, I’m very new to brewing (in this case cider brewing) and just joined the site.

A bit of background: I started a project with several of my friends to chop, mash, and press as many apples as we could (from a local orchard and my own apple tree), pasteurize the cider, then ferment it into our own home-brew to be enjoyed this upcoming Halloween.

The process went, more or less, really well. We made a day of it and had a great time. But we fell short of the 5 gallon mark, and filled the rest (reluctantly) with store bought cider. Which was about 2 and a quarter gallons.

I followed the instructions on the yeast packet, and the advice/guidance from howtomakehardcider.com as well as I could. But that whole process happened on Monday, and the yeast still hasn’t really taken off. It is bubbling, but not as much as I was lead to think by the sites I’ve visited.

So I looked over everything again, and I think I’ve figured out the error. The store-bought cider, contained preservatives. That’s a big no-no according to howtomakehardcider.com.

So my question is this/are these: How big of a screw up is this? Will the cider keep fermenting, but just take longer than usual? Can I do anything to remedy the situation?

Thanks to everyone in advance, I sincerely appreciate your time!

If you put enough yeast in it should go. The good news is it sounds like it is indeed fermenting. How much yeast did you pitch?

Oh and keep checking the gravity. If i

The packaging said .5-1 grams per gallon, I put 4 into the 5 gallons. Would it be a good or bad idea to add more yeast?

You only pitched 4 grams to 5 gallons? That’s a serious under pitch. Better add more and some nutrient might help. Most packages are 11 grams and I would have used it all maybe even 2.

Hydrate it

Oh wow, the yeast packaging was pretty clear though, where does the difference come in? I’ll definitely add more, but is it possible to add too much?

Packaging also says to hydrate it, I was sure to do that.

I don’t know what kind of yeast you used but most packages will give you a range. Did you happen to take a gravity reading. In cider you want to pitch a healthy amount especially if you didn’t pasteurize or use Camden. Alot of nasties besides yeast on the apples that can spoil your batch. I’d rather over pitch a cider not going to hurt anything you want your yeast to outperform the wild stuff.

The range was .5-1 gram per gallon, but I’ll double that (maybe more?). I did get a reading of 1.048, supposedly that’ll come close to 6% alcohol in the final product.

Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it!

The preservatives prevent the yeast from multiplying, but you can still get it to ferment with enough cells. +1 to the advice to pitch more yeast. Without the preservatives, the yeast multiply like crazy, so you need to build up a similar proportion without multiplying.

Which yeast did you pitch?

I’ll bet it’s fermenting just fine. It will ferment slow but it will work out. Check the specific gravity over the course of several days. It will be falling pretty fast regardless of how it looks visually. If it isn’t fermenting yet then you will need to add extra yeast, as I do believe you underpitched a little.

I’ll be sure to keep an eye on the specific gravity as it progresses

The yeast was Danstar Nottingham Ale Dry Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)

Well if you do notice that it gets stuck, I would get another gallon of juice (no preservatives), pitch a whole packet of Notty, let it ferment out, and dump your yeast cake from the gallon into your full batch. That should get it going. Plus you get an extra gallon of cider!

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Also keep in mind that your not going to get crazy fermentation like you do with beer.

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