View Full Version : FMH! 100% Juice != NO PRESERVATIVES!!!

12-13-2003, 09:41 AM
Arg!!! I know this! I have read it here! I know to check the ingredients! I was so careful! So, what the hell happened!!!

If you hadn't guessed I screwed up. I grabbed two gallons of Ziegler's Apple Cider to make my first ever 5 gallon batch of cyser. I swear I looked but missed that label on the side (not the back where you would expect it) listing the ingredients. So I figured the front said it all, apple cider pasteurized. WHY WAS I SO STUPID!!! The first two days were slow, occassional burps from the airlock, but I figured that was due to the 60s temp in my house. Today it hadn't sped up... in fact I didn't see any burp. Time to take a good look at those cider bottles. ARG!

So, I tossed some brown sugar, aerated, and threw in a couple of prayers. I know it is a lost batch. But maybe it will start and overcome the obstacles.

I don't know which is worse, having to toss the $45 down the drain and replace it all... or having to go back to the brewstore and tell the guy why I need another pack of Lalvin EC-1118. He told me to make sure I didn't accidentally add preservatives when I said I was making a cyser. He even threw in a free pack of Lalvin as long as I promised to pitch them both, "To get it off to a great start," he said. Now, I have to go back and buy more yeast. Telling him how I cruelly sent those poor yeasty soldiers to certain doom in a five gallon bucket of death.

*shame* Seriously, I read everything I could to avoid stupid first-timer mistakes like this. So why did it happen? Time to sit down and write 10,000 times: "NO PRESERVATIVES... NONE... NOT EVEN IF THE LABEL SAYS 100% JUICE!"

12-13-2003, 10:23 AM
You know, for all my worrying about trying to make cheap equipment... I could have bought all the basics and a little more with the cost of this one batch. I am glad I did go and buy a good bucket and airlock. It would be a shame for an expensive batch to be ruined by something that costs like 10% of what the must costs.

Still, I do think it is possible to do with less than the best. But this ruined batch from stupidity makes me wonder why I didn't just kick myself in the arse first thing and spend the money, without hesitation, on everything in sight. Sure, I could have done that and THEN wasted another $50 on a ruined batch but maybe I wouldn't have. Yes the cost of this batch goes up everytime I tell it... by the time I actually get around to tossing it I will have convinced myself it cost be $200.

12-13-2003, 12:47 PM
What was in the juice?

12-13-2003, 06:18 PM
Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate. I really don't know how I missed the label on the side of the jug. I remember checking for another label before I bought it. Maybe I was further convinced by the fact that it is usually kept refridgerated ontop of already being pasteurized. Oh well, Monday if it hasn't started I will dump it out on the lawn.

12-14-2003, 02:35 PM
Yep it is dead. I have pretty much given up all hope at this point. :'(

I need to wait till tomorrow to dump the batch out and clean the primary but it is a lost cause. Anything that started at this point could be anything but the yeast I want in there. Maybe I will stick to one gallon batches of mead for a while and use the five gallon bucket to make a simple hard cider. I like it when my screwups cost me $10-$15 and not $40+.

Not that this has turned me off to brewing in five gallon batches... but economically it might make sense right now. I really want to use the bucket to produce something drinkable soon. The cider will finish a lot sooner than a mead. But I will try and find cider in glass jugs so I have a bunch of one gallon carboys. ;-)

12-15-2003, 02:59 AM
Ok, Not all is lost IMO. As with most things Preservatives are a matter of Concentation. I can't guarantee when you will reach a low enough concentration, but If you have the money by a 3 gallon carboy put three gallons under airlock, and use 2 galons as the base of your next 5 gallon batch.

I'd probably start the three gallon batch first then add the 2 gallonsin late primary stage.

A small lidded bucket would do. You may be able to use your Glass Apple juice jugs and honey jars in a pinch.

Anyway this is what I'd do. I'd also make room in the fridge for the three gallons.

12-15-2003, 09:18 AM
I am not doubting that this would work. It might. But I don't really have the space or other means to reduce the concentration of the preservatives. It would take more space and materials than I have (I don't have "empty" gallon jugs around right now) and I would need an active yeast colony while testing. In case I killed of the first batch, so I could pitch a live batch when I made it even less concentrated.

12-15-2003, 02:41 PM
Don't feel so bad. I will probably have to throw out a 15 gallon batch of mead made with cranberry juice concentrate which happens to have preservatives in it. The brew shop gave me some "Turbo-yeast" as a last resort, but it doesn't look like it's working either.

Live and learn. Some mistakes are meant to be made only once! >:(

12-15-2003, 06:44 PM
Darn right!!! I won't make that mistake EVER again.

Live and learn.

12-16-2003, 06:18 AM
Yep, I did end up dumping it out. It was very very sad. But to make it up to myself I went and started a batch of hard cider. Yeah, I know it isn't mead. But I couldn't afford the money to try again right now on the mead. The hard cider cost me just over $15. In three weeks, when I rack it into the secondary (yeah I am making a still dry cider... not the sweet bubbly you buy at stores) I will start another mead.

Not only does this build my confidence a little but it also saves me from having to go down and tell the guy how dumb I am. Lucky for me I had used that Red Star yeast for carbonating some home made soda and had some left over. I made a nice strong starter with the remaining 3/4 packet and tossed it. Today it is going like crazy. So I don't have to kick myself twice for buying the wrong kind of juice.

The best part of all this: when I went and bought hard cider I was paying $6-$8 a six pack. Now, I will be paying about $3 a GALLON! ;D

12-21-2003, 12:54 PM
I guess I wouldn't have dumped it. There has to be a point where you could add enough fermentables to keep the preservatives at bay. Cheapo apple juice, if nothing else - by the gallon. And gallon. And gallon...

Dumping prime ingredients is so sad.



:'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

EDIT: Spelling. My goodness, what happened? I thought I went to school once.

12-24-2003, 12:57 PM
It was very sad when I did it. The must didn't smell half bad and just watching five gallons of juice and honey spill out over the lawn hurt in a way that is hard to describe.

I think this might be for the best. The sorrow and cost from this failed batch will keep me on my toes to make sure it never happens again. I might have tried to save it by adding more and more ingredients but who knows what the end result would have been like and how much it would have cost to get there.

01-02-2004, 11:29 AM
I did this with my christmass cyser, perservatives in the AJC (Apple juice Concentrate). The preservative was Sorbate !! I took 3 gallons of Rapidly fermenting Blueberry Melomel and added this as a starter to my stuck Cyser almost doubling the batch size. The sorbate eventually stopped this yeast freight train, But the SG was signifficantly lowered. The end product was my sweetest mead to date, 1.044 F.G. but taste tests among several people with widly divergent tastes gave the wine a passing grade all around

The balance of the Blueberry, Apple, Alchohol and Sweetness worked far better than I feared it would at this high F.G.

All in all not my best result, but it turned out pretty decent. Good enough for me to leave it alone and bottle.

FWIW the Blueberry Melomel I stole 1/2 of Finished at 1.00 F.G and is Very nice indeed. Wish I'd had a different solution for the Sack Cyser, but I was far happier with 6.5 gallons of Blueberry Sack Cyser, than I would have been with 4 gallons of stuck christmass cyser running across the lawn.

01-08-2004, 07:26 PM
Yeah dumping it out was not the greatest feeling. I didn't have the time nor the space to start a one gallon starter. But that is something I will keep in mind for the future -- although I plan on never doing this again.

That was my big worry about messing with it. The fact that the preservatives would probably still win in the end. That irrates the crap out of me. I want PURE food people... no chemicals. Arg. Things were so much easier when we didn't know all the stuff that lives in our food. Sure we died younger but it was easier to make booze.

02-02-2004, 04:29 PM
I just had a question about the ingredients...Is it ok if there is vitamin C (ascorbic acid) listed?

I saw some today at the market and the only ingredients listed were apple juice and ascorbic acid.

02-02-2004, 10:43 PM
To the best of my knowledge, there is no problem with Vitamin C nuetering or killing yeast.

02-03-2004, 01:23 PM
I have even seen recipies that specifically called for fortified juice. So the Vitamin C should be fine. I haven't tried anything with it yet because the first experience was so traumatic... I went all organic for my current batch.

02-04-2004, 07:10 PM
Will do!

Thanks! The product I saw even comes in those handy gallon glass jugs!