View Full Version : why won't this start?

09-25-2012, 04:40 PM
this was my recipe for a cyser-

6 gallons cider (no preserve, UV pasteurized)
12 pounds wild flower honey
5 cinnamon sticks
3t pectin enzyme
1/2 t tannin
1 1/2 t acid blend
1 Tbs nutrient
2 packs of Nottingham ale yeast

my OG was 1.110

cellar is 65*F.

after day 4 i had no action in the air lock (checked the bucket seal twice) so i hydrated a pack of montrachet and tossed it in.

day 7 still no bubbling so i hydrated a pack of 1116, swirled the bucket to get a little air in it and and tossed that in.

it's now day 10 and still no bubbles!

what's going on?! the only thing i can think of is maybe there was some preservative in my "no preservative" cider after all?

anybody have any ideas or suggestions?

09-25-2012, 06:43 PM
Have you rechecked your gravity? Maybe it's going but you have a bad seal? I know I've heard everyone else say a million times that an airlock is not a reliable indicator of an active fermentation. I have one right now that's not making a good seal no matter how tight I make the lid but it's definitely working.

09-25-2012, 07:41 PM
Well, it is difficult to say with certainty, but looking at your recipe and knowing that you already ruled out any preservatives in the cider (You're sure about that, right? I've seen some other "UV Pasteurized" fruit juices that also have sorbate or benzoate added - to "preserve freshness."), the next thing I'd check is the pH of your must. If you have a pH meter or some wine-range pH strips, I'd check that next.

I always try to discourage folks from adding things like acid blend to mead musts prior to fermentation. Honey has very little in the way of pH buffers, and especially in your case where you've used a liquid already rather low in pH as your base ingredient, you may have a problem with a low pH (i.e. too acidic) must. If you find that pH is to blame, you can add some potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, or calcium carbonate to raise the pH level.

When you test, try to ensure that the pH is at least above 3.2. Somewhere between 3.3 and 3.6 is what yeast generally consider to be their "comfort zone." They can work in higher pH musts, but above 4.0 or so you can also easily grow lots of spoilage organisms, so as a general rule of thumb between 3.3 and 3.6 is best.

09-25-2012, 08:34 PM
as far as the cider having no preservatives- i'm going by what the label says. i bought it at a small local orchard.

i will recheck the SG and look into buying wine range PH strips and follow your advice.

much thanks guys!

09-28-2012, 04:11 PM
My local orchard has ciders and their label doesn't mention preservatives, but it does say "contains sulphites", and if that is true it will be hard to get started. But not imposable.

09-28-2012, 04:27 PM
My bet is that it contains sorbates- I had a ridiculously looooooong ferment on a cyser that I made because I accidentally used apple juice that had sorbates in it. You can see my issue here:


09-29-2012, 08:05 PM
the labels said nothing of any suphate preservatives or anything- it just says "UV pasteurized no preservatives added."

you may be right though.

i checked sg- still no change.
i tested the ph as suggested and it was ok - 3.6.
then the next day (day 11 from start, 4 days since last pitch of 1116) it finally starting bubbling. that was yesterday. it's bubbling along nicely now.

i think next time i'll get my cider from a different orchard and i'll ask to sure that nothing is added. i'll also check the ph from now on before starting a batch to avoid that in the future.

thanks guys