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Ok so I'm trying to make small 1 gallon batches of hard cider. I've already created 2 batches that sucked really bad (vinegary).

I used:

First batch: (pretty obvious why this one sucked)

  • white house apple juice
  • baking yeast

Second batch:

  • Simply Apple as my base its pasteurized with no preservatives
  • I used a half packet of champaign yeast.
  • 2 cups brown sugar disolved in 2 cups water

Is there a reliable recipe for doing a small 1 gallon batch of cider w/o having to press apples?

share|improve this question
What are you using to sanitize your equipment? – mdma May 28 '13 at 14:27
Does it taste and smell like vinegar, or is it just really tart? – Tobias Patton May 28 '13 at 14:36
starsan no rinse – Francis Yaconiello May 28 '13 at 14:36
it tastes vinigary and wrong. – Francis Yaconiello May 28 '13 at 14:37
Any fruit flies buzzing around your airlocks? – Graham May 28 '13 at 14:41
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If the cider is really turning into vinegar, than you've got a bacterial infection, probably acetobacter. This bacteria will metabolize alcohol into acetic acid. Acetobacter is present in small quantities in apple juice. It's also carried by fruit flies.

There are three things you can do to fix this.

  1. Observe proper sanitation technique. Anything the contacts the juice or the finished cider should be free of contaminants like bacteria, mould, or wild yeast. Palmer's How to Brew has a good section on sanitation.

  2. Dose the juice with potassium metabisulfite 24 hours before pitching the yeast. This shouldn't be necessary with pasteurized juice, and a lot of cider makers (myself included) skip this step even with raw juice. The k-meta will reduce activity from bacteria and wild yeasts, given the brewer's yeast a head-start at becoming the dominant micro-organism.

  3. And it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) -- use an airlock during fermentation to prevent any airborne contagions (including flies) from getting at the juice.

share|improve this answer
Nice answer. Just want to underline that acetobacter is pretty much everywhere, including house dust. – mdma May 28 '13 at 20:51
thanks for the detailed answer. I'll try once more and see what I can do. – Francis Yaconiello May 29 '13 at 13:15

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