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Is this a stupid idea

It’s apple season so I have been running cider. I’ve been rushing it, I know, because I’m impatient so here’s what happened:

Started a cider at around 1.051 OG, with just a pack of dry yeast, no starter. (yes, I should have used a starter.) It took a few days but it got going, then slowed down after a couple of days. I incorrectly assumed then that it was done, waited out 2 weeks, went and bought another 5 gallons of cider.

I racked cider #1 to the secondary, and poured cider #2 onto the trub of cider #1, hoping for a faster start.
Then for reference I took a reading of cider #1, now in the secondary. 1.042, wtf?

Cider #2, now in the primary, has been bubbling merrily away for days now. Cider #1, now in the secondary, just sitting there.

I’m assuming the dry yeast took longer to start than I thought it did, and that somehow cider #1 just stuck along the way. My normal notion would be to re-pitch at this point, but that involves a trip to the brew store, and making an actual starter this time or getting a smack pack.

What if I sanitized a 1 gallon jug, syphoned 1 gallon out of cider #1 in the secondary, syphoned one gallon of well-started cider #2 from the primary to the secondary, and dumped the one gallon of cider #1, into cider #2?

Is that just a stupid idea? What could go wrong?

Using a gallon of #2 to get #1 going again sounds like a good idea.

Did your cider have any preservitives in it? It should have fermented more than 10 points…Check the label for sodium benzoate. I made that mistake once…

Dry yeast is just fine for cider and does not require a starter. I’m using dry yeast without a starter to ferment 8 gallons right now and it’s working great. It’s possible that your pack of yeast was dead, but if it was kept in a refrigerator, this is unlikely.

My guess is that this could be a preservative issue. Where did you get the cider from? Did it have any preservatives? Either way, I think it might still turn out just fine if you added another pack or two of yeast. Just needs a little kick in the rear is all. I’ve had the best success with Cote des Blancs wine yeast. And Champagne yeast should work if nothing else on earth will. No need for a starter. Just throw it in. Two packs if you want to be really sure.

I was using Red Star Premier Cuvee, which I’m pretty sure was OK, because I just put the second batch on the trub of the first batch and boom! still going strong since Saturday.

I’ve already thrown out the jugs, but I bought cider directly from the farmer’s market on both occasions. It was two different booths, so it’s possible that they put a preservative in it, but it seems an unlikely thing from a farmers market…?

I think I will bite the bullet and make the trip to the brew store for a few more packs of yeast (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t just buy several the first time).

My concern at this point is that the first batch did have a preservative in it, and if I mix the batches I might in some way impede the one that is going just fine.

Yeah, it’s hard to say exactly what is going on, and whether blending will help or hinder.

I can’t be sure, but some states might require sweet cider to contain preservatives. I believe many states require pasteurization. I’m just not sure about preservatives. Here in 'Sconsin, it’s luckily not a problem at all – I can drive just a few miles and pick up more unpasteurized cider anytime I want, especially in autumn. And it’s friggin cheap, too. $3.50/gallon. Maybe not the cheapest there is, but better than you can do many other places, and I know it’s coming from an excellent orchard.

FYI, went back to the farmer’s market. Potassium Sorbate was the culprit - at the farmer’s market!?! Another booth had preservative free cider. I’ll always check from now on!

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