Fermentation Start: Nov 3, 2016
Bottled on: Dec 11, 2016
On November 3rd I had two 3-gallon carboys filled up with about 10L of fresh-pressed, unpasteurized apple juice organized by Alvaro in our homebrew club, Vanbrewers. The mix is 50% jonagold, 25% granny smith, and 25% is a mix of fuji and honey crisp. pH is 3.3 and my hydro check showed 1.052 for a starting gravity.
I’ve allowed one carboy to wild ferment with whatever critters were already in the juice, while the other I added a packet of Pasteur Champagne yeast to for competitive advantage. Both carboys got a feeding of 1 tsp each yeast ‘Superfood’ and energizer as well as a vigorous shaking. Each also got a scant tsp of malic acid.
After 3 days, the wild ferment was just starting but the champagne pitch was well underway. After a few more days the champagne pitch started to calm down despite never getting any krausen at all. The wild ferment built up a small krausen and fermented well from day 3 to 8 or so. The champagne version smelled citrusy at one point, the wild more funky.
The image above is the two after 2 weeks, champagne pitch is on the right. Surprisingly the wild ferment with no yeast added has a thicker yeast cake settled out, though it doesn’t appear as dense. It is, as you can probably tell, still settling out whereas the champagne pitch is much more settled and clear. Neither are clear yet but the champagne pitch is not far off.
Dec 11, 2016 – Bottling day. Both the ciders have begun to clarify, and I wanted to prime without added yeast so I figured I might as well get on with it. The champagne ferment got a bit of malic and tartaric acid added (about 1 tsp of each in 2.5 gallons) while the wild ferment got no additions. Both were primed to about 2.9 volumes of CO2. Both taste nice. I noticed after bottling that the wild ferment has a touch of sulphur on the aroma which I later found out is not something that will improve in the bottle, so that’s unfortunate. It is not at a very high level though, so I am hoping it will remain enjoyable enough as it gets older.
Jan 7, 2016 – Bottle of the champagne pitch. Drinking excellent, really pleased. I tried the 100% wild cider and it’s got a sulphur issue unfortunately but this is clean, tart, and tasty. Also it’s carbonated almost to where I want it with a nice lively feel.