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?

  • 2
    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? – FishesCycle 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

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.

  • 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


I had a similar problem with a distinctly vinegar flavour to my apple cider having left it maybe two days too long in the fermenter.

With Scottish blood flowing through my Kiwi veins, I couldn't stand the thought of it going to waste, so I boiled 2/3rds of the cider-vinegar to 70 degrees C (killing just enough yeast to sufficiently ferment the added sugar from the apple juice to the point of carbonation and no further), then added 9 litres of preservative-free apple juice.

I prayed and I trusted, and even only two weeks later have enjoyed the finest cider I've made to date (further enhanced by watching the All Blacks beat our arch-rivals, the Wallabies, in Yokohama as I did it)!

  • 1
    "killing just enough yeast to sufficiently ferment the added sugar from the apple juice to the point of carbonation and no further" do you mean leaving not killing? – Mr_road Oct 27 '18 at 22:20

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