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Following instructions from the Portland Mercury on homebrewing cider, I pitched a whole 5 gram packet of champagne yeast by mistake in my 1 gallon brew. It says that the packet makes a 5 gallon batch... I also never followed the recommended instructions on the packet either by dissolving in 100 degree water. I have, however, added 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient on brew day.

I've been checking the amount of carbonation every day and the bubbles have been very small and not very intense. The liquid is very cloudy (probably due to the ludicrous amounts of yeast I put in) and the airlock bloops have pretty much stopped after a week. After inspecting it closer and messing around with the airlock a bit, I think i may have caused a small crack around the rim of the airlock cap. It seems like it is still likely air tight, but who knows.

So.... The questions I have for you experienced cider home brewers: Is it likely the sugars were eaten by the yeast at a expedited rate and my brew has almost fermented weeks in advance due to the excessive yeast? Or do I have an airlock problem? Or is it going super slow because I didn't prepare the yeast better?

I'm considering getting a new airlock and seeing how the process continues, unless I've completely botched my first batch like a newbie. In that case I would like to start over, but any input helps! Thanks yall. -Aaron

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    How long has it been since pitching the yeast? Cider usually takes around 1 or 2 weeks to ferment, depending on temperature. I suspect your cider will be fine. It may have some subtle flavours due to over-pitching, but you might not even notice. – FishesCycle Oct 20 '15 at 13:50
  • Its been about 9 days since I pitched. Ive read it usually takes up to 6 weeks to ferment though, but I figure the process must have gone faster since I added so much yeast. Whoops haha. Thanks for the feedback! – ShiverMePilsners Oct 21 '15 at 0:14
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That's an insane amount of yeast for a one gallon batch. Your yeast ate through all the sugar quickly, and now it probably doesn't have anything left to eat. Do you have a hydrometer? If you don't, get one. That way you'll be able to measure the amount of sugar before & after fermentation instead of just guessing.

Don't start over, and don't buy a new airlock. Fermentation can still happen even if your airlock isn't bubbling. Let it ferment a total of two weeks, then try cold-crashing and/or gelatin fining. That'll work wonders for dropping most of the suspended yeast out of the solution.

  • Ill be ordering a hydrometer tonight, itll be a good way to test if its stopped fermenting. I'm curious though, could I possibly spoil my batch by not having an airtight airlock? Thanks for the recommendations I will have to give it a try – ShiverMePilsners Oct 21 '15 at 0:18
  • Nope! I brew airlock-less all of the time. It lets the yeast express itself more than otherwise. Bacteria doesn't fall up; as long as you take the necessary precautions you'll be just fine with a simple cover (foil, plastic wrap, etc) over your fermenter. Just remember that once your brew starts becoming alcoholic, it's pretty hard to spoil. Good luck! – Christopher Byrd Oct 21 '15 at 1:00
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    Well that's not really "too much yeast" it's a lot but it shouldn't hurt anything. The first thing yeast does is multiply until it reaches critical population which is a WHOLE LOT MORE that a packet of yeast. The packet is the perfect amount for 5 gallons so it doesn't take so long to multiply (meaning leaving your must or wort in danger) but extra won't hurt. Look at how much settles out when it's done. It's 100's of times as much as what you pitched. – Escoce Oct 26 '15 at 18:55
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Dry yeast is already matured past the aerobic phase at packaging. Your pitch amount was about at max culture population so there was probably very little growth phase esters generated. It's very possible it completely fermented in 24-48 hours. I'm sure your cider will be fine.

Since you don't have a hydrometer yet, pull a sample off for a taste, I'm sure it's very dry with little to no sweetness indicating its done. Some aging may be needed to melow fusel alcohols. If it's too dry and tart you can backsweeten.

Airlock. If it's cracked it may not bubble, but I think your fermentaion is done and wouldn't have much action anyways.

Let us know how it turns out.

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