Back to Formula

So I was hoping to transfer the cysor to secondary earlier today.  The fermentation hadn’t been going like I would have expected but it was still giving signs of working.  Just in case I made it a point to do a gravity reading to see where the whole thing was. 

Sadly, it appears that the fermentation was working almost not at all.  My thoughts were that possibly something has gone wrong with the yeast.  The cider I am using is a mass produced and preservative cider, unlike my normal cider that is only UV pasteurized.  It is possible that this is a problem with the fermentation.  But on the off chance there was something else going on I did pick up some more yeast to see if I can get the fermentation moving. 

On the way to Bell’s general store I had time to think.  It dawned on me that this isn’t the first time I have had an issue with the fermentation with ciders.  I realized that the one characteristic that they have shared is the use of Cambden tablets.  Cambden tablets are potasium or sodium metabisulfite.  They are a sulfer used to kill off wild bacteria and inhibit its growth.  They also are able to kill off the yeast you need for fermentation.  Their use is a common practice in wines and ciders where you don’t want to sterilize the must with high temperatures. 

In their standard use, you should be pitching your yeast at least 24 hours after dosing the must with the tablets.  This gives the tablets enough time to weaken the wild bacterias and allow the yeast or good micro organisms a chance to build strength. 

Where I think my problem is coming in is I am either using too much cambden or I am pitching too soon causing the yeast I pitch to stall out, keeping it from reaching its potential.  The evidence of this came from the pitching of new yeast and the fermentation started up again stronger than it had been going. 

Here is to hoping that it goes the way it should from this point on.  It is never a good thing to lose a batch of strong booze.

Time for a pint…

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9 thoughts on “Back to Formula

  1. I think it is because I make them as high alcohol as I do, they tend to take a bit longer to mature. Mine usually finish out between 9 and 12 percent. I have never made a smaller one to know if there is a difference in maturity.

  2. Because I'm removed from the subject these processes are sometimes difficult for me to understand. You must really know your stuff if you can do all of these things and tweak the processes so they come out how you'd like. I do love hard cider though, good luck.

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