View Full Version : Cyser Strangeness

09-21-2004, 04:54 PM
Hello all,
Just started a Cyser which was my first whack at any kind of brewing and had a question or two, but first my recipe:
6# fireweed
1 gal organic apple juice
water to make approx 2 gal
1/2 C raisins
danstar windsor brewing yeast
OG was 1.126

I made a yeast starter with 2 C water and 1/8C sugar about 12 hours before starting and it was foaming mightily by the time I added it.
I pasturized the honey at 160 for 20 minutes, let the must get down to 80 then added my starter. I am using a 6 gal white bucket as a primary with a hole in the lid for my airlock.
I wrapped the bucket and put it in my closet which stays between 69-76 degrees.
It has been 2 days now and it hasnt seemed like anything is going on in there. I am getting a not unpleasant odor but no bubbles.
Because I couldnt contain my curiosity, I popped the lid a tiny bit and saw that the raisins had rehydrated, there was no kraussen and I noticed that it was definitely 'hissing'.
I read somewhere that you can speed up your yeast initially by shaking your must a bit. I have noticed that when I do this I get a lot of bubbles, but the stop if I am not shaking.
So, is this moving along as it should? Have I done anything wrong and if so can it be fixed?
Thank you in advance for any help.

09-21-2004, 08:56 PM
it sounds like it is fermenting properly reguardless of the fact that your airlock isnt bubbling. its very likely that there is an air leak somewhere in your setup that is allowing the gas to escape. is the airlock seated on a rubber gasket in the lid? if not air may be leaking around the airlock. try to contain your curiosity (at least for a few weeks ;) ), the must is at a critical point right now where the sugar is high and the alcohol is low, it would be a shame for your first batch to become infected with something nasty...

09-22-2004, 11:49 AM
Thanks, I checked my seals and everything was good. As of this morning I am finally getting a double or triple blip every 3-4 seconds, so I think everything is OK now.
I also wanted to know about pasturizing. When I pasturized, I didn't get any of the scum that everyone talks about. I used raw honey, so is that a sign that it wasn't hot enough?

09-22-2004, 02:18 PM
I've pasteurized a lot and never get the scum either. I've switched to no-heat meadmaking now and I like the results better than pasteurizing.


09-22-2004, 04:33 PM
the scum is from boiling...

09-28-2004, 04:03 PM
Yes the scum is miscelaneous particles that rise to the top when boiling takes place, I cant recall anyone suggesting they get much of this during typical pasturization, I do niether and am quite happy with my finished product.

10-04-2004, 08:47 PM
OK, I think my primary fermentation is almost done. My next task is racking to secondary and I wanted some advie about temperature. What is ideal for secondary fermentation? Should it be warmer? cooler? the same? Also, When I am actually in the racking process, is it important to keep the lid on the bucket and have it good and sealed or will limited exposure to air be OK? Any advice you have about this stage would be appreciated. Thanks

10-04-2004, 08:56 PM
Limited exposure is okay and perfectly normal during racking. Secondary fermentation should be about the same as primary though some recommend when it is just about done to put it in in a slightly warmer temperature for week to finish up more completely before aging in colder temperature.

10-04-2004, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the info. Another thing I forgot was should I keep splashing and aeration to a minimum when transferring or is that something you want to happen?

10-04-2004, 11:20 PM
Just follow good aseptic technique and minimize your must's exposure to air and you'll be fine. Try to keep the splashing and jostling to a minimum, but don't worry if it happens. Just don't go out of your way to do it.

I usually vacuum my mead making area down in the morning before I rack, and then put a Patton Fan on high facing out the door to move any dust, pollen molds away from where I'm doing my racking. Haven't had a problem so far.


10-07-2004, 02:55 AM
i noticed you used the danstar windsor yeast. I personally like to use beer yeast for cider makes it less wine like and it keeps its cider characteristics. but with a high gravity (the amount of sugar or food for the yeast) wort/must like mead it may not ferment out. but that may be what you want?? but most of the danstar beer yeasts have an alcohol tolerance of around 12%.

i have used belgian beer yeast in the past for high gravity ciders with a nice out come (white labs belgian siasion yeast)

i happen to be testing three different beer yeast on apple cider right now. I'm testing the danstar windsor and nottingham brewing yeast and the white labs london ale yeast.

i started the test two weeks ago; tranfered the cider yesterday and i liked the flavor of the london ale the best. but between the danstars i liked the nottingham the best. it had a flavor that reminded me of when you let the cider go naturally with a good apple flavor. the windsor had a watery and little apple flavor. the white labs has a consistacy i like it still seems like cider, its fruity, has a nice smell, has a thicker mouth feel like the cider originally had before i fermented.

if danstar is the only yeast you can get they make plenty of wine yeasts. i think the Montpellier K1V-1116 is a very nice cider yeast.
i also like the wyeast cider yeast for ciders.

10-07-2004, 07:26 AM
From looking at your original recipe with the Danstar windsor yeast it appears you are going to have a mighty sweet Cyser. Unless that is what you wanted you might consider no more than 1 1/2 lbs per gal of honey and the apple juice. 3 lbs per gallon is rather high for that yeast. I second the recommendeation for K1V, especially with your recipe.
Danstar Windsor
3. Brewing Properties
Quick start and vigorous fermentation, which can be completed in 3 days above 17C.
Moderate attenuation, which will leave a relatively high gravity.
Fermentation rate, fermentation time and degree of attenuation is dependent on inoculation density,
yeast handling, fermentation temperature and the nutritional quality of the wort.
Non-flocculent strain, but some settling can be promoted by cooling and use of fining agents and
The aroma is estery to both palate and nose, and is usually described as a full-bodied, fruity British ale.
Does not display malodours when properly handled. Windsor yeast has found great acceptance in
producing strong-tasting bitter beer, stout, weizen and hefe weizen.
Best used at traditional ale temperatures after rehydration in the recommended manner.


10-07-2004, 07:20 PM
Well, I wanted it to be sweet, but not mighty sweet. What would you suggest to bring it down some? I now have some Lalvin k1v-1116 yeast, should I pitch that? Or should I cut it with something? Any suggestions are appreciated.

10-08-2004, 09:06 AM
Well, I wanted it to be sweet, but not mighty sweet. What would you suggest to bring it down some? I now have some Lalvin k1v-1116 yeast, should I pitch that? Or should I cut it with something? Any suggestions are appreciated.
Your tastes might be different so let it finish and then taste it, if it is too sweet for you then pitch the K1v. It will restart and dry it out some for you.

10-09-2004, 04:47 PM
Today my airlock had between 1-4 blips per minute so I decided to test it. I took a reading of 1.015. With an OG of 1.126 that's an alcohol content of 14.5% unless I did the math wrong. Well, it certainly tastes like it's that high. Quite warm in the mouth. I can taste a tiny bit of wine and beer like flavors but the apple and honey are hiding in there.
So, I racked it off into two 1 gal and one 0.5 gal jugs, wrapped them up and put them back in the closet. the half gallon was the last and came out very milky looking. I assume there will be a lot of sediment in that one.
How long do they need now? After that, how long should they age before they lose the heat gain some sweet?

10-09-2004, 05:49 PM
Sounds like they are still working and will be okay. Not too sweet at all. I am surprised from reading yeast specs. I 'd say you have a good Cyser. Let them finish and clear since they are still bubbling. When clear, rack off lees and bottle to age a few months and then taste and age more if necessary. Sounds like you won't have to pitch another yeast after all.

10-22-2004, 09:51 PM
More interesting stuff.
I had accumulated quite a bit of sediment in this batch and hadn't seen the airlock move for a good 10 minutes, so I decided to rack. No real problems with the racking but I took off a little sample to have a taste. Interestingly, it didn't taste like the last sample very much at all. It didn't have as much heat but instead had a 'tingly' feeling to it that kind of felt like it was biting at my tongue a bit.... I couldn't really taste the apple or honey flavor. Just oddly different from last tasting. I almost feel like it sort of had a tiny soapy aftertaste after the bite goes away.
Anyway, does this mean it's on the way to spoiling?

10-24-2004, 07:18 PM
Don't know about the soapy aftertaste unless you didn't rinse out the jug extremely well before using. The cyser is young. Let it age a bit. The nose and apple flavor may come back out in a couple months. If it doesn't you can always stabilize and add concentrated apple juice to sweeten and augment the apple flavor.

P.S. Heres what one posted link says about soapy
Soapy flavors can be caused by not washing your glass very well, but they can also be produced by the fermentation conditions. If you leave the beer in the primary fermentor for a relatively long period of time after primary fermentation is over ("long" depends on the style and other fermentation factors), soapy flavors can result from the breakdown of fatty acids in the trub. Soap is, by definition, the salt of a fatty acid; so you are literally tasting soap.

10-24-2004, 08:33 PM
How long was it sitting on the lees?

10-24-2004, 10:11 PM
It was in primary for 2 weeks before I racked the first time and it was in secondary for another 2 before I saw significant sediment and the airlock stopped. The room I had it in stays between 72-78 degrees.
I am starting to think that it is my last half gallon that is infected with something. That was the one I tasted and I noticed today that it is accumulating a kind of slimy white haze near the top of the bottle that is not present in the other two gallons. Does that help narrow down what the problem is and what might have caused it?
One more question: what is a good temperature for aging?