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Two weeks ago I started 2 gallons of hard cider from windfalls - washed and bruises cut out. I pasteurized my own apple juice, kept it below boil. No preservatives. Everything was santitized with Starsan. I used Nottingham yeast (1 gram each bottle) Bubbles never escaped more than one every 10 -15 seconds. The hydrometor tonight reads 1.04. I can't remember what i started with. The room is about 55-60 F.

Tonight I added another 1/5 package yeast (expiry date Jan, 2015- Nottinghams) and another 1/4 cup sugar. the taste is sweet but a bit off - yeasty? vinegary? There is some scuzzy froth at the top. I've heard nottingham is slow (and does okay in a cooler room) but I've moved one jar closer to the wood stove to see what happens. Bubbles are now rising in both about 1 every 5-6 seconds. Cider not clear.

I'm not in a big hurry but I don't want all that juicing for our cider to turn to vinegar! - Any ideas as to how i should monitor this? Thanks!

  • Tobias's answer is spot on - however, the keyword 'vinegary' here jumps out at me. From experience, any kind of vingeary / off tasting juice after a failed fermentation is dead in the water. – SeanCocteau Nov 4 '14 at 10:27
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I think the initial fermentation failed to start for two reasons. First, you didn't pitch enough yeast. An 11g packet of dry ale yeast is intended to ferment 5 gallons of beer. So your 1 gallon jugs should have each received a little of 2g of yeast. Secondly, the ambient temperature was at the bottom end of the range for that yeast. Cold temperatures lead to a slower start for yeast. The combination of under-pitching and low temperatures was probably sufficient to keep the yeast from kicking off.

Adding more yeast and warming up the juice is the right thing to do. I would have added the entire packet of yeast, as over-pitching is really not a concern here. But since the fermentation seems to be going, 1/5 packet was likely sufficient. Try to keep the fermenting cider at a constant temperature, near to 20C, and let it finish fermenting. Once it's cleared, you can taste it and find out if you made cider or vinegar.

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