wild yeast hard cider

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wild yeast hard cider

Postby bauglir on Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:11 pm

my friend brought me a oodles of apples from his friend's farm that weren't any good for eating but seemed perfect for making cider. they don't spray them or treat them with anything at all, so i figured they'd be perfect for a wild-yeast cider since i wouldn't have to wash them so the yeasts would stay and be healthy and safe. i don't have a press or a juicer, so i chopped the apples, put them in a food processor, and then pressed the juice out using a cheesecloth into a ceramic crock. i threw in a few cranberries just for fun, covered it with another cheesecloth, and have been stirring it a few times every day since I started it (wednesday, 2 days ago). it is kind of chilly in my house (~65degrees?). I'm keeping it in a dark place. so far i don't see any bubbling or anything, but it's still pretty early so I think that's fine? just wondering, does it seem like i've been taking the right steps so far? and when do you think it should start bubbling/foaming?

thanks!
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby Christopher Weeks on Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:52 pm

I can't tell you when it'll start bubbling because I've only done that a few times. But in my experience it can take several days. We've also gotten to the point where after five days we added some raisins to add yeast and then a few days later just pitched in a packet of wine yeast after which point it went bananas. But stick with it!
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby bauglir on Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:23 pm

thanks! it started getting bubbles on it this morning and tonight when i stirred it it made fizzing noises!

i just pressed another gallon yesterday and am wondering about adding spices. I'm wondering both when and how to add them. all of the things i've found on homebrew forums and whatnot refer to cider that is being made in a sterile environment with a specific yeast strain added to it, so i'm not sure if i would want to deal with how and when to add spices with it differently? if i added some, would i want to sterilize them somehow first?

thanks a bunch!
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:42 am

If it were me, I'd just throw them in at the start and see what happens. But it depends on your priorities.
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby khoomeizhi on Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:35 am

at the start, or at racking (i'm assuming you're going to get quite a bit of sediment). you can contain spices in a bag (perhaps weighted with marbles) for ease of removal. with a vigorous primary fermentation, some volatile flavor compounds can get blown right out, which is why many people do fruit/spice additions in secondary.
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby gardener on Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:44 am

I'm comparing notes with you because I just began a first small attempt at cider a few days ago. My juice was bought commercially and has added ascorbic acid, which I understand should be overcome by yeasts sooner or later. It's also pasteurized. So my yeast source is chunks of fresh apple. I'll keep in mind the idea of adding some raisins.

My juice also has lots of spices in it because that is how it was sold. Last year I could not find any juice without stronger preservatives than ascorbic acid, so I was happy to find this juice, spices or not.

I'm concerned about temperature, too, as it just dropped to 58 F in the house. I thought anything at or above 60 F was probably pretty good.

I think I'm on day four, which I note here because I'll totally lose track if I don't write it down somewhere.
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Re: wild yeast hard cider

Postby pinkraut on Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:07 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm by no means an expert on wild hard cider, but I have done it a few times and thought I'd share my own basic experiences so far. Also in the hopes that someone more experienced might make some helpful or interesting suggestions.

In New England, there are so many orchards that unprocessed "apple cider" (really just unfiltered apple juice) is available in plastic gallons at every grocery store and most farm stands. Probably some of it is pasteurized. Probably some of it is not. All of it I have ever bought begins to ferment on its own, with no interference, even in the fridge.

All I do is drink some of the juice fresh. Shaking it and exposing it to fresh air each time I get a glass might be enough to stimulate the yeast. Within a week, the plastic gallon begins to pressurize. That's when I know the yeast has begun to digest the sugars, and at that point I decant the remainder of the juice (perhaps 1/2 gallon by this time) into quart- or pint-size bail top bottles.

I used to ferment them in the pantry, but they exploded once, so now I ferment them in the refrigerator. Label the bottling date. After a month or so, you will notice the color is more amber than brown. The longer you leave it, the "drier" the flavor. None of my bottles have outlasted my craving more than 6 months, but that's when it starts to get really quite good and clear. Not sure of the alcohol content, but even if it's not very alcoholic, to me it's as good as Downeast hard cider. :D

As for spices: I have only tried adding spices to ginger beer, and I suspect oily spices may hinder or kill the yeast. I put some star anise in ginger beer, and one batch lost the fizz (the other batch was darn good). So it seems like adding the spice toward the end of the ferment jives with that experience.

That gave me a good idea: add ginger to cider... could be yummy!
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