View Full Version : First Cyser - oops?

11-09-2009, 04:40 AM
I just made my first foray into the wonderful world of fermentation a couple of weeks ago by starting a batch of JAO. That was so much fun that I wanted to start some different things and have a few different things going at once. I decided a cyser sounded easy enough, so I got:

1 gallon of store brand apple juice (no preservatives)
1 1/2 pounds of Fischer's Raw Honey
About 25 raisins
1/4 teaspoon of apple pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg)
1/2 packet of Pasteur Champagne yeast

I warmed up the honey and mixed it with the other ingredients (except the yeast) in a 1 gallon jug. Then I rehydrated the yeast per the package instructions and added it. Put a balloon on the jug for an airlock and stuck it in a kitchen cabinet (no hydrometer reading-feel free to chastise me as you will). The next day I looked at it and was really impressed at the activity. I could hear the bubbling when I opened the cabinet door. The bubbles in the jug looked like a freshly-poured glass of soda. I was very encouraged and left it alone.

10 days later, not a bubble to be seen and the balloon is limp. It seems to have stopped cold. I siphoned it off the lees into a glass jug. Very cloudy - it looks like fresh-pressed cider. The lees were a solid cake on the bottom of the jug I used for fermenting. I snuck a taste. My tongue was numb! I'm beginning to think that champagne yeast might have been a mistake!

I added about a quart of apple juice to it and stuck it in the refrigerator. Will it smooth out over time? Is there anything else I should do? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Medsen Fey
11-09-2009, 10:15 AM
Trennels, I'm not here to chastise about hydrometers, but I think you can now see why we say it is so important to use one. At the end of 10 days, it is likely that your fermentation was completely done - especially if you were conducting it at room temperature. Such a fermentation would be expected to taste harsh, and aging is required.

This is where the gravity really helps you. Had you measured it when the fermentation stopped, you could tell if it was done. If the gravity was below 1.000 you'd know it was essentially done.

Having added apple juice to it you have diluted the alcohol level and added more sugar for the Champagne yeast. They will ferment this too, but in the fridge it may not happen. It will occur when you let it warm back up again.

Whatever you do, please do not bottle it this way. It may produce exploding glass bottles when the yeast kick in again. You either need to let it finish fermenting the apple juice you just added, or you need to stabilize it using a combination of sorbate and sulfite.

I would encourage you to read the NewBee Guide, practice with your hydrometer, and invest the $2.50 to buy an airlock and stopper. You'll need to age the batch for it to come around.


11-09-2009, 08:21 PM
Thanks, Medsen. I'm taking it out of the fridge and putting an airlock on to see if it will start back up again. I should have known. I've read on here a thousand times that patience and time are the keys.

Would Grolsch bottles be fairly safe if there's danger of it starting again?

The lack of a hydrometer when I started wouldn't be so sad except that there's a homebrew shop about a mile from me :p I'll definitely be visiting there before I start another batch of anything. I wasn't worried about it when I first started out because I was making JAO and it's a tried and true recipe that you don't have to worry about. Striking out into new combinations I'm sure it will be a necessity.

Medsen Fey
11-09-2009, 08:44 PM
Would Grolsch bottles be fairly safe if there's danger of it starting again?

No glass bottle is safe until the fermentation has finished.

11-10-2009, 12:32 AM
Even if you missed out on taking an OG reading, taking a reading now can be extremely helpful. Run to that brew shop and pick up a hydrometer! ;D