Is my cider turning to vinegar?

2ajsmamaNovember 15, 2010

I had about 1/2 gal - 3 quarts of cider in the fridge (bought mid-Oct) that was going bubbly, so I moved it to the basement to finish fermenting into hard cider. All was well til last week, when I decided it was going to blow its top, so I removed the push-on lid (like a milk gallon), added a little sugar to keep the fermentation going, and just covered it with saran held on by a plastic bag, with a pin hole in the wrap. Then the jug didn't swell any more. Now, over the weekend, it's still not swollen, it's bubbling a little, but it smells and tastes slightly vinegary, not as carbonated as on Friday. Don't see a mother forming, but have I just ended up with 3 quarts of vinegar?

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Maybe.
Not as much fun as hard cider, but still useful!

I'd give it a few more days and you should be able to tell for sure!

Deanna

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 7:38PM
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2ajsmama

Seven hours after adding a cup of fresh (crab)apple juice and 1/5C sugar, capping it tightly, it's fermenting again and tastes a little fruity, a little sweet, and a little something else - but not vinegar. I'm going to forget about the "airlock" I tried to make with the Saran (sorry, don't know why I typed "plastic bag" it was held on by a *rubber band*), go back to just burping it a couple times a day (and hope it doesn't explode some night). Maybe we'll have something drinkable by Xmas, though I understand it should be bottled to "mellow" til next year. We still have a bottle of Belgian beer in the fridge we need to open some time we have friends over (or we go somewhere), since it's like champagne - you can't recork it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 7:51PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

A 7" (helium quality) party balloon will surprisingly stretch over the mouth of a 1 gal milk or water jug. Cut the finger off a latex glove works too.

I like to know what's going on with my ferments. Especially in my earlier experiments. Now I'm content to burp every so often.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:51AM
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sage721

That is, in fact, another option! HA

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:55AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Very inventive John!!! LOL

Dave

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:43AM
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2ajsmama

You've already got the water-filled airlocks - why do you need the latex things ;-) on top?

I've got plenty of non-latex gloves around, I can use one of those, not sure about balloons, and I know we don't have any of John's things. Saran just didn't work.

But you say burping is fine? Doesn't let bad stuff in (no more than leaving it open long enough to pour a sample out does)? Over on Fruits and Orchards, I've gotten advice to stick a length of tubing in through a cork, put the other end in a jar of water.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:15AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> You've already got the water-filled airlocks - why do you need the latex things ;-) on top?

Curiosity. If an airlock burps I won't really know how much gas has been produced unless capture it in a balloon. There wasn't as much info on fermenting 5 or 6 years ago and I was just experimenting & it's just my nature to question things.

> But you say burping is fine? Doesn't let bad stuff in (no more than leaving it open long enough to pour a sample out does)?

I think there is some contamination risk in burping, but not much if you wait until see bubbles rising through the ferment or collected on the surface. If I get a weaker 'whoosh' on day 6 compared to days 4 or 5 then I might wait several days before burping or don't do again at all. And is not long after bubbles are spotted that the pH is in the lower 4s.

Not even pretending to be an expert on this. Made 'balloon wine' in my freshman dorm closet in 1961 though. (true story)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:27PM
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2ajsmama

I found a package of balloons and stuck one on top of the jug - not very full. Fermentation slowing down I guess. Do I need to put a pinhole in it?

Balloons are a lot less $ than what you used ;-)

People on F&O forum are saying it will be clear when it's done. Do you leave it in the primary all the time or siphon it off to secondary?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:52PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> I found a package of balloons and stuck one on top of the jug - not very full. Fermentation slowing down I guess. Do I need to put a pinhole in it?

No. I don't see any reason to.

> Balloons are a lot less $ than what you used ;-)

I wasn't trying to be controversial. Just trying out diff ideas as they came to my pointy head. The latex gloves and balloons are really all that is needed.

These are the gloves I use:

Just for the heck of it I fed some sourdough starter with flour, raisins & water early yesterday in a 1 gal Ball Ideal jar and stretched a glove over the 4 1/2" mouth. Kinda like 'talk to the hand' LOL

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:42PM
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2ajsmama

I just racked off the 3 quarts or so into 4 jars today, just loosely capped them with flats and rings. Maybe I'll get the gloves and put those on tomorrow - the gloves I have have powder on the insides and the balloons wouldn't fit over regular-mouth jars.

I'm taking kids to dr for checkups tomorrow - maybe they'll give me 4 non-powdered gloves ;-)?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 8:56PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

I have more than will use in 50 years. Send me an email through (My Page) here and I'll send you a few to try out.

The exam rooms at my hospital have blue gloves in 3 diff sizes. Just so happens I have two appointments this morning and will check them out.

jt

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 8:00AM
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2ajsmama

I looked with my stains and stuff, I was running low on gloves so bought more last month. They're non-latex, non-powdered! So I put 4 on with rubber bands just now.

No fermentation going on any more though - do I need to add some sugar to the secondaries, or just wait for the juice/cider/vinegar(?) to clarify?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 9:30AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Scored some blue nitrile gloves at the hospital today. Asked the nurse if could have one & she gave me nine! The wrist bands of the gloves are nowhere near as 'stretchy' as my latex ones. The fingers etc seemed abt identical.

"No fermentation going on any more though - do I need to add some sugar to the secondaries, or just wait for the juice/cider/vinegar(?) to clarify?"

I'll keep quiet for a while and hopefully someone knowledgeable will chime in. It's been a long, long time since I've done any wine making & I didn't really know what I was doing then.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 3:22PM
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