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My roommate grabbed 14 gallons of organic cider on sale. Turned out they had Potassium Sorbate in them though. A little research online indicated that it was still possible to make hard cider with it though. I made 2 gallons by mixing a gallon of an already started batch (zero preservatives, organic cider that I have used many times before), with a gallon of the new stuff. It came out pretty okay. I drank one gallon, and then took the other to a friends.

Satisfied that the mixing gallon trick worked, I proceeded to start a 5 gallon bucket batch. I also tossed in some pectic enzyme I had received for Christmas.

The second gallon I had made first was really yeasty, so my friend let it age. It got very tart and tangy but really tasty. After we finished it off, I checked back on on the 5 gallon batch. I drew a cup of it, and it was disgusting. Perhaps I didn't cold crash it enough and I was getting too much sediment, but it tasted awful and made me sick to my stomach.

I let it sit for another couple of weeks but it still tastes awful. It's been fermenting for about 2 months total. I've decided to take everything out and bottle it, and then see if there's anything I can do to fix it. Any advice (other than adding non-fermentable sugars)?

I don't see any black film on it, it's still a bit cloudy, but I don't imagine it's bacterially contaminated, at least I hope not. It's no big deal if it is, it was cheap cider, but I'd like to save it if I can.

  • Do not use profanity on the site, we are alerted to it and have to clean it up. – user13397 May 10 '16 at 7:53
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GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out. It seems a natural inclination to try to save $10 by using unsuitable ingredients (like sorbated juice), but you often end up throwing good money after bad and dumping the batch anyway.

Don't try to save bad ingredients with more money and time. You could have made tasty young cider in that same fermenter in the amount of time you've been waiting for this batch to magically fix itself.

That said, the easiest way I know to "fix" cider that is otherwise safe but has some nasty yeast/ester flavors is to make some homemade cinnamon liqueur and add that and stabilizers to make a tasty still apple-cinnamon cider. Cinnamon liqueur can be made by soaking quite a few cinnamon sticks in rum for a few days, then making cinnamon simple syrup and diluting the rum tincture with the syrup about 2:1. Stabilize the cider and add to taste.

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did you take any gravity readings? If there is alcohol in it then you may have an contaminated batch, but you can give it away as a lambic and say it was intentional, if there is no alcohol your s.o.l

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It sounds like you may have accidentally made vinegar instead of alcohol. Depending on the type of yeast you used, the amount of oxygen in contact with the brew, and the amount of sugar added the yeast may have ended up consuming the alcohol and turned it into vinegar. If this is the case you are pretty out of luck, there's not much you can do to my knowledge to fix that.

  • Oh hmmm thanks, that's what I was worried about. Why does it do that? Here's my guess: The potassium sorbate slowed the rate of yeast growth (it doesn't kill yeast, it just prevents it multiplying) and therefore the alcohol never got to a point where the alcohol content killed off the yeast, and therefore it just kept chugging away, until it had eaten all the alcohol. What do you think? – David A. French Feb 24 '15 at 18:01
  • That is exactly what I was thinking! – Jake Vande Walle Feb 25 '15 at 4:50
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    Nope. Yeast will never make vinegar. Bacteria do that. If the cider tastes like vinegar, the most likely scenario is a bacterial contamination. – FishesCycle Mar 25 '15 at 17:19

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