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Let's start by saying that I've done a bit of research about this already, so please understand that I am struggling to find a specific answer to my question.

I'm using a Mixed Berry Cider kit from "Makeyourowndrinks", details can be found at makeyourowndrinks.co.uk and this is the first kit I've attempted so I'm learning a lot.

I sterilized as instructed and measured as instructed and have attempted to keep the batch around 20c (fluctuates between 18c-22c at most).

Around the 4th day, I started to notice a strong rotten eggy smell (As I beleive to be sulfur) and the colour faded from dark purple to a dark browny/orange. The batch is still bubbling away nicely so I'm curious as to if I need to intervene here?

A lot of people online mention the sulfer smell is normal in Cider making and will slowly fade although some also say it's something to be worried about?

Please provide me with a bit of advice about the correct colours and smells for these types of kit and put my mind at ease? Thanks.

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Sulfur odor is usually a sign of poor yeast heath and/or high sulfur levels in water

Color is change is most likley just yeast in suspension offsetting the true color.

Sulfur odor is usually gassed off during a vigorous fermentation. It's not too late to save it.

Here's what you can do.

1) Right now you need to add yeast nutrients, this should be done before but may not be too late to get yeast going better.

2) if fermentation has slowed, you can add corn sugar and a lot of it. 1lb per gallon will keep the fermentation going and almost double your abv making it more an applewine

3) if extending the fermentation with sugar isn't desired. (higher abv) You can gas off the sulfur by force. But takes equipment. Using a c02 tank, gas stone, and liter per minute 02 regulator. You can apply gas until the oder is gone.

Edit: That recipe and intructions is a little strange. I don't know where to start. It says to use unboiled tap water for most of the fermentation volume. Potable water is not always sanitary and usually swimming in organisms that don't harm us, but makes for a less than ideal environment for fermentation. You would do much better just buying preservative free apple juice and some bakers yeast from a grocery store.

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  • 2
    Actually, sulfur aroma is pretty normal for most of the cider I've made. – Denny Conn Dec 4 '16 at 17:06
  • I did think it was slightly odd at how much plain water was required for this kit, and as you mentioned - being tap water may have caused a few issues, although I would assume that it shouldn't affect too high of a percentage of their sold kits otherwise they'd have a problem selling them. I'm currently in a pretty large City so water quality should be very fair here. There was a 2 liter mixture added at the start which is what caused the initial dark purple colouring. Would you still recommend the same advice with the circumstances of this kit? And @DennyConn how long did the aroma last? – Snappysites Dec 4 '16 at 20:05
  • @Snappysites I did miss the liquid addition in the instructions. Which was probably concetrated juice and hopefully nutrients. As Denny mentioned it is common, but I've only experienced sulfur when yeast is having a hard time, and had the majority of my batches just produce wonderful fruity c02 in fermentation. – Evil Zymurgist Dec 4 '16 at 22:06
  • Well that's exactly what I'm looking for and coming this far, I don't intend to give up so quick. The smell seems to be slightly dissipating, baring in mind that I haven't yet removed the lid (Hopefully Tuesday). Think I will take a look at getting some yeast nutrients in there, like you advised if it continues. Thanks for the advice! – Snappysites Dec 4 '16 at 22:34
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Don't have experience with this specific set, but I made cider few times.

  • Sulfur smell is not normal. OK, there are specific ale strains that give it no matter what, but most of the times it means you have wild microorganisms fermenting, or your yeast have problem with lack of nutrient. In ciders, lack of nutrient is a mistake easy to make. At this point, I doubt this can be corrected. Some batches would taste OK in the end, some would not. If it will, it will probably be safe, too. This time just wait and see. Next time add yeast nutrient.

  • Some fading of color is normal. Most beverages are bit paler after fermentation, and loss of "color saturation" happens. I don't know where orange came from. I strongly suggest asking manufacturer about that.

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  • Well I'm hoping to taste it on Tuesday so how would I tell in taste between an infection or just the lack of nutrient? Think I'm going to take a look at adding some additional nutrient as advised to be on the safe side. – Snappysites Dec 4 '16 at 22:36
  • @Snappysites tasty == just lack of nutrient ;) – Mołot Dec 4 '16 at 22:53
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Strong "rotten egg" smells are always subjective ("one man's horrendous stench is another man's garlic"). I have noticed some sulphurous smells when producing "fruit ciders" as well as lagers, although nothing as overwhelming as fermenting KimChi! Sulphurous smells during ferementation are not uncommon or indeed fatal when making cider and many other brews. The term "rhino fart" is often humorously used in this context (have a google for it) The "problem" seems to be due to the specific yeast chosen. Lager yeasts are known to exhibit this aspect of fermentation. Some yeast have high nitrogen requirements which may not be satisfied by the amount available in the apple/fruit must. In such situation's "rhino farts" can occur and give the impression that something is going wrong with the brew. As others have noted this can be alleviated by adding a nitrogen nutrient to the must. However if the cider fermentation is vigorous and in progress then it would probably be best to let it ferment to completion and let it stand until the aroma has dissipated somewhat. The test is in the final taste not in the smell during fermentation. Most malodorous aromas are removed by long conditioning. After fermentation I would let cider stand/condition for at least 12 months - whatever it initially smelt like.

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  • Well there's no way I'd get through 40 odd bottles with that type of stench too quickly so the 12 month period wouldn't be an issue! Ha! I have read a lot about this issue and some people tend to say that batch brews are known for this type of thing. But it does caution about infection too... As it's my first brew, I'm not too sure of the signs of infections. It's due to finish Tuesday and the smell is seeming to dissipate slightly so will soon find out how it is once I remove the lid. – Snappysites Dec 4 '16 at 22:39

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