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I made hard cider this way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G25FFvCpNoQ

except I also added cranberries, a couple tablespoons of sugar, and cinnamon. And yes, I used Fleischmann's rapid rise yeast. Today, after 2 weeks my airlock balloon deflated and I decided to bottle the hard cider. So, I combined everything that fermented with a little bit of water that I boiled and added a good amount of sugar to (so that the yeast hopefully feeds on it). I tasted it and it was mainly sour and odd tasting. No apple flavor and not sweet either. Is this normal? Why does this not taste that good? Can I fix this?

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    It would help if I could know what you did without watching video. "sour apples" sour would be OK. Vinegar sour = infection, probably. No apple flavor is strange. Lack of sweetness is, generally, to be expected. – Mołot Mar 21 '16 at 7:21
  • Essentially I added yeast to apple cider, then added cinnamon and cranberries and shook it up. Put balloon with small hole in it (pin size) as airlock. A few days later I found and added raisins. 2 weeks later (today) I added about a cup or so of water mixed with a good amount of brown sugar and then added all that to the mix (mainly added it because I thought it would carbonate better). When I tasted it it tasted sour and odd. not sure if this is due to yeast. If I wait another week or so (not sure how long I should really) will this end up tasting better? – Tal C Mar 21 '16 at 7:54
  • at what point you added yeast? – Mołot Mar 21 '16 at 7:56
  • In the beginning when I first made the cider. – Tal C Mar 21 '16 at 18:58
  • It's not clear how much brown sugar you added to how much cider before bottling. Be aware if there is too much sugar there will be too much carbon dioxide produced and the bottles will explode. – Chad Clark Mar 23 '16 at 6:59
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Making products like this with bread yeast is a crap shoot. Bread yeast isn't always as pure as brewers yeast. Its possible to pick up a contaminant that make the cider taste bad. More likely though is that your contaminant came from the raisins or the cinnamon. If these ingredients were from open containers in your kitchen, especially a spice like cinnamon, there could have been a contaminant there as well.

While many people get lucky making some sort of hard cider this way, its much more consistent to use higher quality methods and equipment.

  • Is it most likely that it is contaminated. What does contaminated cider taste like? – Tal C Mar 23 '16 at 7:06
  • Hard to say. Depends on what microbe is doing the work. In general it could taste/smell medicinal, like bandaids. It could also be phenolic like cloves or smoke. It could also be sour from bacterial sources. You've said in other comments its very sour. That's a pretty clear possibility its contaminated. The high level of carbonation is another give away. I have found that carbonation from a contaminated batch tends to consist of very fine bubbles too. – brewchez Mar 23 '16 at 11:23
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You used the wrong yeast and the carbonation accrues after adding the sugar or honey and sitting for at least two weeks or more..

  • It is pretty carbonated. But flavor is very sour, not sweet at all. Is that due to yeast or infection? – Tal C Mar 23 '16 at 7:07
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Different yeasts seem to leave more/less apple flavour. I haven't tried bread yeast.

The sourness might just be the result of the sugar being removed by fermentation. Apple juice is pretty sweet. Also if the apple juice was naturally high in acid or vitamin C was added it could taste more tart than you were expecting.

Does it taste sour like green apple? Often that ages out after a few weeks in the bottle.

After aging around room or basement temperature for a few weeks leave it in the fridge for a week or two to let the yeast settle out. See if that helps it taste less yeasty.

  • I don't know it is just extremely sour, and not sweet. I got it into my head that it tastes like plastic/balloon although it could just be in my head :p. Can't taste any of the original ingredients though really. – Tal C Mar 23 '16 at 7:05
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Sounds like you got a lot of attenuation out of the bread yeast. In my experience all Apple flavor goes away below 1.005 SG. This can be corrected by using more juice of the same juice as a priming sugar, or back sweetening with it.

The funk was most likely from the raisin addition. An addition like this should be sanitized first since it is very likely to have wild yeast on the surface. Soaking in vodka or blanching rid you of most contaminating organisms.

If the funk could just be a strange flavor combination and not a result of an infection. It's a poor descriptor, if there isn't a hint of pleasant taste to it. It may not be worth trying to save at this point. Let it condition and see how it is in a couple weeks, a lot can change with aging.

Update From your discription of the plastic taste and the over attenuation. I think you caught a wild yeast from the raisins. Don't give up, just add it to your bad batch list. Many of us have very long lists of lessons learned. :-)

  • It is already bottled After I added sugar and a little water. What should I do at this point? – Tal C Mar 21 '16 at 18:59
  • Not much without rebotteling. I would just see how it turn out as it is. – Evil Zymurgist Mar 21 '16 at 19:19
  • Ahhh ok thanks! I will! Last question I will bug you with :p I noticed it is a bit syrupy at least in the bottom (I don't recall much from the rest of the wort/fermented). Is this normal? – Tal C Mar 21 '16 at 23:46
  • @TalC usually only yeast trub slurry will be on the bottom. I can't imagine any of your additions not being water soluble to form a "syrup" – Evil Zymurgist Mar 21 '16 at 23:51
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    FWIW, the BJCP has a list of mead faults with common off-flavors along with possible causes and solutions. I know it's for mead, not cider, but I'm sure a lot of the issues carry over: bjcp.org/meadfaults.php – valverij Mar 23 '16 at 13:15

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