When bottling my cider (FG 1.000) I ran out of bottles and saw this as an opportunity to flavour the remaining third and try racking.

I added some boiled cinnamon and clove then left it for a day while I got around to purchasing a second carboy. It occurred to me that this may have been bad when the cider turned brown and, I swear, developed a heavier mouth feel. I suspect drawing in oxygen through my water lock as I bottled may have started it turning to vinegar. Could this or anything else bad happen so quick? (we used apples from our tree with no potassium metabisulphate)

To rescue the situation, I racked the 5 litres to a smaller carboy, begrudgingly adding half a tablet of potassium metabisulphate to kill off anything bad and added a small amount of brown sugar to initiate a small secondary ferment to push the O2 out of the head. I used brown sugar because i figured the caramel would go well with the cinnamon. I also decided to back-sweeten with a small about of splenda (to taste). The contents of my glass carboy looks thick, cloudy and dark. It concerns me.

Were these measures appropriate? How long should I expect the secondary ferment and clearing to take?

TIA, Luke

  • Additional info: the cider I bottled was a very clear/light yellow - like champagne (we used a champagne yeast), it had been the primary a little over month fermenting between 18 & 22 celcius. My wife failed to get a OG measurement (I was abroad) but it has a serious kick like a wine. She added 1kg of sugar even though the apples were sweet and ripe.
    – Luke Rohde
    Apr 6, 2011 at 1:58

1 Answer 1


I would suggest this. First, leaving a split batch (so to speak) in the primary hasn't been negative for me. What you are describing in terms of color and cloudiness would seem to be the result of adding the cinnamon and clove directly to the carboy. I use brew sock material when I do my own flavored ciders to reduce the cloudiness (I suppose that you could use cheesecloth as well but use multiple thicknesses). Since it has already been done, I'd filter it through a coffee filter or use gelatin/clarifying drops to settle out the suspended particles (I suspect that the heavier mouth is because of these). Using the Campden would kill all of your yeast and I'm surprised you got any gas action afterward. Repitching with some new yeast may take care of this problem. Honestly, if it were my batch, I'd rack it off into a bottling bucket, clarify it with gelatin, rack it back into a carboy and repitch. I had to do this with a Red Hots cider and the results were ok (only problem was the brew didn't have much of the red hot flavor). One trick that I have found to be critical that doesn't get mentioned is to make certain that there is good oxygen supply in the brew mix for the yeast to work when pitching. Let us know how it turns out. Hope this is helpful.

  • 1
    Great answer, thanks. Has given me lots of ideas. Yesterday (3 days later) it bubbled v/slowly but today nothing. I'll keep an eye on it, how long does the K-meta remain toxic to the yeast? Is there any reason to repitch apart from enabling later priming?
    – Luke Rohde
    Apr 8, 2011 at 4:13
  • 1
    The metasuphate reacts to release hydrogen sulfide that kills any living thing in the solution (mix). Hydrogen sulfide isn't very soluble in water and so if you leave it long enough the gas will escape. The residual suplfites (also produce) stick around and that is why some people who are allergic to sulfur can't take the sulfites. Give the carboy a couple of good shakes and let it set and the gas will escape (this is what gives the rotten egg taste from young wines and ciders). Repriming is for getting carbonation in the bottling.
    – drj
    Apr 9, 2011 at 22:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.