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How long does it take five gallons of cider to start?

Good morning.

Friday night I put 4 gallons of Trader Joe’s apple cider and 1 gallon of apple cider I got from the cider mill in my primary.

The temperature of the cider was 72 degrees when I pitched the vial of white labs English cider into it.

I then stirred it well with a spoon.

Here I sit in my secret brew cellar at 5:30 on Sunday morning and have no activity yet in my airlock.

Is this false/slow start due to not shaking the jugs of cider before hand, oxygenating the liquid?

Everything was clean. Really clean. I used to grow mushrooms so I know equipment sterilization shouldn’t be a problem.

The cider currently sits at 68 degrees with some pressure on the airlock. I can see the pressure whether it be good or bad looks to be starting to build. The water level in my s type air lock is no longer balanced on both sides. The pressure from the cider is imbalancing them.

So. For a semi paranoid first time cider Brewer…you think everything’s ok?

Thanks…and hi! I’ve read throughout all 34 pages in the cider forum. Fantastic information. Hope to be posting often.

-b. moody

Hi. I pressed my first 5 gallon batch of cider on Tuesday, Sept. 27. I put some SO2 in it, let it sit over night, then the next day I put in a couple Tablespoons of yeast nutrient and a packet of Red Star Cote des Blanc Active Dry Wine Yeast, and gave it a good stirring. Thurday it was frothing and working like crazy. Today I am going to rack it into 1 gallon jugs and put airlocks on them and let them sit. So, in my limited experience, it took about 1 day to start it’s initial fermentation and 4 days to first racking. I think it depends on the temperature but I think 72 degrees would get things going quickly. Like I said, this is my first attempt at making hard cider so I hope I am doing everything correctly.

You should be seeing signs of activity by now. Are you sure that all of the juice that you used was preservative free?

Moodyshardcider, did you add any nutrients? FWIW the cider I started last weekend took 48 hours to start full fermentation, and it’s been going great ever since.

No nutrients were added.

Yeah its trader Joe’s UV sterilized cider and the gallon of cider from the orchard was preservative free. Should be all good…I hope.

Ill just keep starring at the air lock. Maybe if I look at it mean enough it will start bubbling. :slight_smile:

You’ll want to add some good yeast nutrient that has micronutrients, something like Fermaid K or a winemaking nutrient. Otherwise, I think 36-48 hours isn’t that bad for the start of fermentation when you pitch a vial of yeast in 5gal.

Anything happening yet? You mentioned that the original temp of the cider was 72 F when you pitched the yeast. Are you still at that temp or lower?

I have next to no experience making cider, but I do recall that it took much longer than I would have liked for fermentation to start, enough to make me worry (of course I cannot find my notes on that one). But eventually things kicked into gear. I’ve seen the same thing happen with beer as well. There is also the possibility that your primary is not air tight – not enough to contaminate, but enough to keep your airlock from bubbling.

I walk into my brew room and can smell it, but i have not witnessed the airlock bubble yet.

I noticed i overfilled the airlock a bit. Im sure thats not a problem? The way I read things here theres nothing going to stop the pressure once it starts.

Right now the temps are down to 68 degrees in my cellar.

I think its air tight, i can lightly press on my bucket top and see the water level move in the airlock.

Also, hi fellow Michigander. Im in the burbs of Oakland County.

[quote=“moodyshardcider”]I walk into my brew room and can smell it, but i have not witnessed the airlock bubble yet.

I noticed i overfilled the airlock a bit. Im sure thats not a problem? The way I read things here theres nothing going to stop the pressure once it starts.

Right now the temps are down to 68 degrees in my cellar.

I think its air tight, i can lightly press on my bucket top and see the water level move in the airlock.

Also, hi fellow Michigander. Im in the burbs of Oakland County.[/quote]

And a hello to you as well! I’m actually in southern Lapeer County, in the purgatory between The Thumb and the Detroit burbs.

On overfilling an airlock, the worst that can happen is that some water gets forced out until an equilibrium is achieved.

As for air-tight primaries, I had a revelation a few days ago that using the ‘press the bucket lid test’ to determine if you have an air-tight seal is not foolproof because a small leak cannot allow as much air out as does the airlock under the pressure created by pressing on the lid. If that is the case, then pressing on the lid creates more air pressure than any tiny leak can deal with, so the extra air pressure has nowhere to go except through the airlock, leaving one with the impression that the lid has a tight seal. Also a caution on pressing on the lid - when you do that you are creating a vacuum in the primary and risk sucking airlock water into the bucket. (As an aside, if your primary has a spigot be sure to remove the airlock before a transfer b/c that vacuum will definitely suck in that airlock fluid. Ask me how I know).

Logically if you can smell something going on then gases must be somehow escaping due to fermentation, whether it be through a leak or the airlock. My hunch is that everything will be fine and patience is key.

Welp.

I popped the top off and it looked ok, its just not making the air lock bubble, yet the cider was indeed bubbling. Definitely could smell that alcohol.

I put a couple tsp’s of Yeast Nutrient in there. Gave it a good stir. Put the lid back on and taped it yesterday. As of today. Still nothing.

However, the gallon test batches I made yesterday using EC-1118 immediately took off by the end of the day.

So either, trader joe’s cider is bunk, the white labs english cider yeast i got was bunk, or the plastic bucket just sucks.

I think I need glass from here on out. I like being able to see whats going on.

Sad, yesterday someone was giving away 3 - 5 gallon glass carboys on craigslist but i was too late.

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