View Full Version : Think this cyser will be drinkable?

10-27-2004, 12:48 PM
I want to introduce some friends of mine to homebrewing, and I thought that this would work.

1 gallon glass jug of apple cider or apple juice. Pasteurized, but with no preservatives. (Cost, 5 dollars at the grocery)
1 packet of bread yeast (1 dollar at the grocery)
2 #s of honey (5 more dollars at the grocery).
optional, however much orange zest, lemon zest, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and molasses you want. I recommend zest of one orange, 1 tsp allspice, 2 tsp cloves, 4 tsp cinnamon, 1 nutmeg, and a tsp of molasses.

Wash your hands, uncap the jug, pour out two cups and drink, pour honey and some juice into a bowl and mix thoroughly and return to the jug. add spices, pitch yeast, recap and give it a good shake. Sit somewhere between 65-80 F. Every 12 hours and then every day, unscrew the cap slightly to release gas pressure until it stops fermenting. Refridgerate and enjoy.

I made this while I was pasteurizing my rhodomel must today. Its happily bubbling away (with no foam!) next to the rhodomel and smelled great when I vented it. It took me less than 10 minutes to prep.

A few people I know who I've told about it have said that they're going to run to the store tomorrow and try it out themselves already. Should I tell them to stop?

BTW, my SG for this cyser was 1.090

10-27-2004, 05:38 PM
personally i think that recipe calls for too much spice...especially the cloves. Two tsp of cloves is an aweful lot for a one gallon recipe, most people would suggest one single clove in a gallon. The cinnamon is a bit much for my taste as well, but thats just me.

10-27-2004, 05:42 PM
Note JMattloli's Anchient Orange mead recipe just for comparison of the quantity of spices suggested for a one gallon batch:

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleismanns bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

10-27-2004, 08:15 PM
Re: Think this cyser will be drinkable?

I have to agree with JoeM. Way to much spice for 1 gallon in your recommendation. Read of others on the Mead lovers digest doing the same and they said it was undrinkable even after a year. If you do like it that way, why bother using $5 honey when you can use cheap sugar. You won't taste the honey anyway. Same with the $5 apple cider. Buy cheap juice cause the spices will be overpowering.

I would personally recommend a .90 airlock and bung. They are so cheap, why take a chance especially if your friends are beginners?

Good luck with your experiment and let us know how it turns out.

10-27-2004, 09:59 PM
Ok, I sterlizied a big bowl, a fine mesh strainer, and a funnel. <3 70% isopropanol in a spray bottle.
Cyser has been strained and the spices dumped, but I saved the cinnamon sticks for appearances. It tastes carbonated after a day, no taste of actual fermentation, but the apple juice and honey sweetness is still strong and cloying. I can taste the apples just fine, the spices are not overpowering yet, just a trace of honey though, but that's because I used some weak honey. *crosses fingerrs*

David Baldwin
10-28-2004, 07:25 AM
I would not recommend the use of Isopropyl alcohol in sterilizing equipment. It is wood alcohol (methanol) the stuff that will make you go blind. metabisulphites are much safer and just as effective.

10-28-2004, 08:20 AM
Not to be technical or anything but...isopropyl isnít methanol. Isopropyl is a four carbon alcohol while methanol is a one carbon alcohol. However, isopropyl is indeed toxic and i agree that it shouldnt really be uused to sanitize beverage containers. metabisulphite (as was suggested) is a good alternative. Personally i prefer a dilute solution of regular old unscented household bleach for all my sanitizing needs.

10-28-2004, 08:38 AM
The non-foaming star san works great in a spray bottle, as does a good cheap high alcohol vodka.


10-28-2004, 08:52 AM
Good suggestion with the vodka. just as a point of interest, 70% ethanol (or 140 proof) is the most effective concentration for sanitization. Anything lower or higher than 70 is not as effective at killing bacteria.

10-28-2004, 10:04 PM
isopropanol isn't toxic, although it'll cause an upset stomach and gas if you drink it. And it tastes like crap, but I let everything dry off before I use it first.

yes, 70% EtOH is better than 90% or less thank 70%, but isopropanol is a better disinfectant than EtOH because it has a higher molecular weight.

10-28-2004, 11:28 PM
Actually the LD (Lethal Dose) for isopropanol is 250 ml, about 8 ounces so it is indeed toxic.

I don't expect that most people would be dumb enough to drink 8 oz of the stuff, but we had more than one patient in our alcohol rehab program when I was working as a Med Tech that ended up in ICU after trying it.



10-29-2004, 01:20 AM
I must take Fortuna,s side here.

I use bleach for disinfecting as do many others here on the forum. It is a poison but if used correctly serves us well. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used on wine grapes in California and other fruit as a pesticide and is considered only slightly toxic. It also in my opinion if used with common sense, is a safe disinfectant. This would include rinsing it off like we do with bleach.


10-29-2004, 02:19 AM
I donít know...The LD50 of Isopropyl alcohol is 50 mg/kg, compared to the LD50 of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) which is 192 mg/kg. Although they are both toxic, rubbing alcohol is about 4 times as toxic as bleach and i would feel safer accidentally drinking a few mls of bleach than i would a few mils of isopropyl. Further, Isopropyl alcohol (oddly enough) is toxic through dermal absorption, regardless of the fact that it is primarily sold as rubbing alcohol! It is also a proven carcinogen and the fact that it is used as a pesticide does not particularly persuade me into believing in its safety, there are many pesticides that are certainly unsafe. Donít get me wrong, Iím not saying youíre going to die if you sanitize your stuff with rubbing alcohol, Iím just saying that they are both cheap, easily obtainable household chemicals and of the two bleach is safer.

10-29-2004, 03:09 AM
It is also a proven carcinogen
Research the reference I listed above JoeM. I think you will find it is definitely not classified as a carcinogen.

Iím not saying youíre going to die if you sanitize your stuff with rubbing alcohol, Iím just saying that they are both cheap, easily obtainable household chemicals and of the two bleach is safer.
Agreed. However, both are safe if used properly. Therefore, I would personally not discourage her use of it, even though it is not my first choice.

10-29-2004, 03:11 AM

I'm not in a rush to drink either! Gimme a good mead. But I would use bleach before I used rubbing alcohol. And don't forget that rubbing alcohol does leave a residue.


10-29-2004, 03:18 AM
I'm not in a rush to drink either! Gimme a good mead.
Now that is funny Oskaar! LOL
I'm with you.

10-29-2004, 03:21 AM
You gotta love the fact that we have people here who can talk about LD/LD50 of Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol, and still brew up a fine mead!

I love this place!


10-29-2004, 10:55 AM
Joe... the LD50 for isopropanol is 5045 mg/kg, not 50. Bleach is still 192 mg/kg

bizarrely, methanol has an LD50 of 7300 mg/kg, and the stuff we're making in our mead, ethanol has an LD50 of 3450 mg/kg. These figures are for oral doses for rats

Something to chew on. And yes, isopropanol can be absorbed through the skin at extremely low rates. The LD50 for skin absorbtion for me would be 1.2 kg...

Ok, back to the cyser. It has a nice effervescent smell with a touch of oranges. Can't smell any honey, though. Its finally beginning to develop foam, and fermentation seems to be speeding up, slightly. Can't be sure since I have no airlock to use to find out with.

10-29-2004, 01:42 PM
Additional information on ethanol, methanol and isopropanol:

The 3 most common alcohol poisonings result from ethanol, methanol, and isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol). The devastating and potentially life-threatening toxicity that results from ingestions of any of these alcohols makes recognition of alcohol poisoning an essential part of emergency medicine. Recognition of the morbidity and mortality that may result from ingestion of small quantities of methanol is particularly important.

Pathophysiology: Affected organs vary depending on the type of alcohol ingested.


Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is an aliphatic alcohol present in aftershaves, colognes, perfumes, mouthwashes, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and a myriad of alcoholic beverages.

Ethanol is a direct CNS depressant that causes decreased motor function and decreased consciousness level. At high concentrations, ethanol is an anesthetic and can cause autonomic dysfunction (eg, hypothermia, hypotension), coma, and death from respiratory depression and cardiovascular collapse.

Ethanol is easily absorbed from the stomach and small intestine. When the stomach is empty, peak levels are reached 30-90 minutes after acute ingestion. Food present in the stomach delays absorption. Total absorption may take as long as 6 hours.

Metabolism of ethanol is carried out in the liver by several enzymes, including alcohol dehydrogenase, aldehyde dehydrogenase, microsomal ethanol-oxidizing system (MEOS) or CYP2E1, and peroxisomal catalase. Most (90-95%) enzymes are metabolized by alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases. MEOS accounts for about 5% but may increase to 25% in the chronic drinker. Normally, catalase makes a small contribution to ethanol metabolism; its role is more significant at high serum ethanol concentrations.

Nonhabituated patients metabolize ethanol at 13-25 mg/dL/h. In persons with alcoholism, this rate increases to 30-50 mg/dL/h. Metabolism rates vary greatly between individuals and cannot be predicted. Similarly, because of tolerance, blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) must be interpreted in conjunction with history and clinical presentation. Some individuals with chronic alcoholism may have an almost normal mental status and neurological examination, yet have BACs of 400 mg/dL. Conversely, nonhabituated drinkers may show marked effects of intoxication at very low BACs.


Methanol (methyl alcohol) is found in cleaning materials, solvents, paints, varnishes, Sterno fuel, formaldehyde solutions, antifreeze, gasohol, "moonshine," windshield washer fluid (30-40% methanol), and duplicating fluids.

A CNS depressant, methanol is potentially toxic in amounts as small as a single mouthful. When metabolized by hepatic alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase, methanol forms formaldehyde and formic acid, both of which are toxic. The eyes, CNS, and GI tract are affected. Formic acid is the primary toxin that accounts for the majority of the anion gap, metabolic acidosis, and ocular toxicity. Lactic acid also contributes to the anion gap.

Formic acid inhibits cytochrome oxidase in the fundus of the eye. Disruption of the axoplasm is due to impaired mitochondrial function and decreased ATP production. Swelling of axons in the optic disc and edema result in visual impairment. Degradation of formic acid is folate dependent. Thus, if a folate-deficient person ingests ethanol, toxicity may be more severe due to the increased accumulation of formic acid.

Approximately 90-95% of methanol metabolism occurs in the liver, while 5-10% is excreted unchanged through the lungs and kidneys. Methanol is primarily metabolized by alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase. Formaldehyde has a short half-life, lasting only minutes. Formic acid is metabolized much more slowly, and it bioaccumulates with significant methanol ingestion.


Isopropanol is found in OTC rubbing alcohol (70% isopropanol), antifreeze, skin lotions, and home cleaning products.

Death from ingestion of isopropanol is uncommon. Isopropanol has 2-3 times the potency of ethanol and causes hypotension and CNS and respiratory depression more readily than ethanol. Peak levels occur approximately 30 minutes after ingestion because of rapid GI absorption, which is delayed in the presence of food. Isopropanol is a CNS and cardiac depressant with about twice the potency of ethanol. Serum levels more than 400 mg/dL are potentially fatal.

Approximately 20-50% of isopropanol is excreted unchanged by the kidney, while 50-80% is converted in the liver to acetone, which is a CNS depressant in its own right. Acetone is excreted primarily by the kidneys, with some excretion through the lungs. The elimination half-life of isopropanol is 4-6 hours; that of acetone is 16-20 hours. The prolonged CNS depression seen with isopropanol ingestion is partially related to acetoneís CNS depressant effects.


11-03-2004, 07:19 AM
So, I couldn't help it, I stuck my turkey baster in there and stole an ounce of juice. After 1 week it feels like its at at least 10% alcohol (3% more to go!), the bubbling has slowed down, and the spices aren't overwhelming. I can taste the apples and honey. The alcohol however burns and is a bit rough, and there's alot of bitterness. Its still fermenting. What should I expect to happen to the flavor and yeasties?

11-03-2004, 07:46 AM
Alcohol will get stronger and cyser less sweet. When all the sugar is gone it will stop fermenting and be very dry.

11-03-2004, 08:59 AM
Aha, a turkey baster taster! :o

---> Looking around sheepishly, I've never done that myself ::)

The longer the fermentation goes the more of the sweet will vanish, and with cyser, it can get really "bitey" if there is such a word. You may want to try Thirsty Viking's trick of stopping the fermentation and backsweetening with the sorbated apple juce concentrate. Unfortunately, I've never been able to find an AJC with sorbate added, mayhap you'll have more luck.



11-03-2004, 10:30 AM
I have some potassium sorbate I can drop in there, but I'd like to see where it goes. It shouldn't ferment to dryness, the yeast should finish at 13% (cote des blancs).

And I'd like to see how to finishes off itself since I don't have the experience to mess around with it yet. Wouldn't more apple juice concentrate cover up the honey though, and I used local organic apple juice, so I'm somewhat loath to contaminate it with concentrate ^_^

11-03-2004, 07:48 PM
I'm sorry Fortuna. I thought you were using bakers yeast from your first post on this thread. If Cotes de blancs goes to 13 then you will have some residual sweetness but not much since you only indicated 2 lbs of honey with the juice in your recipe. It depends how sweet the juice was. Sounds like you used good apple juice.

I would let it go also and worse case you will have to sweeten up at the finish with more honey, in which case you will not need sorbate since you are trying to push the limit on your yeast. Just give it plenty of time to insure fermentation is complete before you bottle. Coes de blancs is a pretty slow finisher.

11-21-2004, 02:23 AM
This started clearing a week ago, so I racked it Friday into another jug. Since I only had a gallon to start with, I poured myself a cup from the dregs to taste and it was bitter. Really bitter, like more bitter than most red wines. What's causing this, and how can I get rid of it? Its also completely dry.
Its also only 13% alcohol, but it tastes and smells strong and burns too.

I also racked the rhodomel and tasted the dregs of that. I don't know what % alcohol, but I started it with D-47 at the same time as the cyser and it hasn't cleared out at all yet. That's still sweetness, it doesn't seem very alcoholic and is smooth. It lacks bitterness and has lots of honey and rose overtones. That should taste wonderful when it finally finishes and ages a few more months.

11-21-2004, 03:18 AM
Bitterness is both malic acid bite and alcohol bite because there is no sweetness at this time to balance it out. Drinking the part closest to the lees didn't help either. Time to Sorbate and sweeten it up to where you want or if you like it dry then it just needs a year of aging to mellow.