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I washed my fermenter out in meta bisulphate I then added a quarter teaspoon of bentonite followed by 12 litres of apple juice. My SG was 1060. I added 2lb of sugar for a stronger brew, SG then 1085. I then hydrated 14grams bread yeast and pitched it in however I am not getting any fermentation have I screwed up and need to ditch it?

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  • What apple juice did you use? If it contained potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate, then you're out of luck.
    – valverij
    Apr 12 '16 at 15:24
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Potassium Metabisulfite and Sodium Metabisulfite are anti-microbial in that they deplete a solution of oxygen which will inhibit yeast growth. But shouldn't be an issue if it was rinsed out well.

Bentonite as a fining agent pre fermentation can be a yeast inhibitor and delay or slow fermentation. Bentonite effects on fermentation

Your gravity is more of an Apple wine and far beyond what a bakers yeast can fully ferment, it will usually die out due to its low ABV tolerance around 5%.

If you havn't got any fermentation, bentonite could be the cause of the lag, but it should eventually slowly ferment.

Check the preservatives in the apple juice if it's store bought. Most use yeast inhibitors that prevent yeast growth. Some can be defeated, others can't.

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Depending on how long you have been waiting, no visible active fermentation my be caused by several factors.

1) You have a leak and the bubbler won't show signs of fermentation.

2) Temperature is vital. I've found that Fleischmann's likes 75F-85F/24C-29C for best fermentation.

3) The entire rehydratating/pitching process should never have the yeast experience a temperature shift of more than 10 degrees. This includes your first feeding the started yeast and the temps between the must and starter when pitching.

4) Commercial ciders are well known for having Sorbate as an ingredient to prevent spoilage. This will destroy any dry bread yeast strains almost certainly.

On a side note. Bentonite should be re-hydrated into a slurry and added at a rate of 1 Tbsp of slurry per gallon.

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  • 4.5) Sodium benzoate will also prevent the yeast from doing its job. Oh, and 5) Excessively low pH (< 3.0) can stall fermentation as well. Other than that, this pretty much covers all the bases.
    – valverij
    Apr 12 '16 at 15:29
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I would get some wine or ale yeast and pitch it in, bakers yeast can generate off flavours in my experience. Also may I suggest you make a starter and pitch that in to ensure a healthier fermentation.

And, with a starting gravity of 1085 I would let it ferment for a day or two, then give it a good shake to get the CO2 out of solution, pop the lid, to let in some extra oxygen then lid back on and give it another good shake to get the O2 into solution, your yeast will need a fair amount of dissolved O2 to ferment out 1085. Yeast uses oxygen to build sterols for its cell membranes and with high gravity you get high levels of yeast growth which require extra oxygen input.

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