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My beer has started smell like cider on second day. Temperature is fine and hydrometer readings normal.it looks ok too. Nothing suspicious other than it now has no head. Today is now the 6th day in its fermenter. Please help

  • Should i keep it in its fermenter or transfer it once the hydrometer refines stay the same? – Pedro McIntyre Mar 3 '15 at 15:29
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Cider smell can be caused by Acetaldehyde which can cause apple smells and flavours.

As the beer hasn't been in the fermenter long, you will notice this smell will decrease as fermentation continues, and afterwards, when the yeast will continue to "clean-up" these compounds.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

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  • That's good news then. Seems 2 be all normal! Will let her carry on doing her thing for a few more weeks then transfer to a barrel. Appreciate the help 🍻 – Pedro McIntyre Mar 3 '15 at 15:21
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    Acetaldehyde causes green apple flavors and aromas, not just plain old apple. – Denny Conn Mar 3 '15 at 16:13
  • I had a jacked-up German Lager that, at several months old, smelled EXACTLY like delicious green apple Jolly Ranchers candy. Seriously, if you didn't know what it was supposed to be, it smelled like a sweetened, green-apple cider alco-pop beverage. Sadly this was not what I wanted in the beer, and it was dumped. – Graham Mar 18 '15 at 17:15
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You're fine, no need to panic. Leave your beer alone for another 2-3 weeks. Seriously, don't touch it, look at it, think about it, etc. Just leave it be for as long as you can stand it, and bottle it after 2-3 have passed.

Regarding the smell, fermenting beer throws off all kinds of crazy, nasty, wonderful, weird smells as part of the fermentation process. Its not uncommon to get sulfur fumes (rotten eggs) in some beers, which won't have that flavor in the finished product. Any kind of sharp, fruity, spicy smells are perfectly normal. As long as it doesn't smell like wet garbage or excrement, you're probably ok!

Regarding the lack of head, this is perfectly normal too, and that "head" you saw on the first couple days wasn't the true "head" that forms when you pour the beer regardless. What you saw is referred to by the German(?) term "krausen", and its just the foamy product of the fermentation. It can come and go fast, sometimes it sticks around til bottling, but usually drops back into the beer within a couple days, leaving a much smaller layer of white/brown splotchy film on the top of the beer.

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  • That's great! Will keep it fermenting for 2-3 weeks then. Shall I keep measuring with the hydrometer or is that necessary once it stays the same? Thanks 4 the help 👍 – Pedro McIntyre Mar 3 '15 at 15:15
  • Generally, you should wait until it doesn't look like there's any fermentation going on anymore before you take the first hydrometer sample. Certainly, after you've taken a few with identical results you can stop testing it. (If those identical readings indicate a gravity that is far higher than expected, then that's a whole different conversation.) – bughunter Mar 3 '15 at 15:33
  • When i say "don't touch it", that includes using the hydrometer! I know its tempting to measure it every day or two, but it can actually be detrimental to your beer to keep taking samples, because this introduces oxygen and the (small) risk of contamination. As bughunter says, don't bother with hydro readings at all for the first week or two. – Graham Mar 3 '15 at 15:34

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