Sulfite Question

Forums CIDERCHAT Sulfite Question

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  john tobin 2 years, 10 months ago.

  • Author
  • #2676

    Garrett Zielinski

    Hello All. I’m fairly new to cider making and have some questions around adding sulfite after fermentation. I’d like to make a batch without adding sulfite/sorbate. How long would this be ok before going bad? What would be the max specific gravity to minimize gas build-up? If there are addl’ sugars remaining, would the type of yeast play a role in if it will continue to ferment after bottling?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  • #2677

    Jeff Wala

    I’ve never used sulfite. I’ve found homemade cider is too tasty and popular to get ~20 gallons to last more than an year, and at that point it is holding it’s own if not getting better. I’m not sure what your SG question is, i just let the carboys sit until the end of fall, at which point they are within a couple 1000ths of 1.000. My saison yeast batch did ferment out more sugar in the bottles than the lager or hefewiesen yeasts.

    The only problem i’ve had is my pear cider came off with a strong sulfur aroma, but the taste is good. I’ve been told pear is notorious for this, but next time i will use a beer yeast on it as this was a wine yeast and all of my apple cider with beer yeasts has turned out well. No need for the extra attenuation power of a wine yeast with the sugar content in straight cider.

  • #2689

    Garrett Zielinski

    Thanks Jeff. That is very helpful info.

    I have a batch going right now and this is the first time i used ale yeast. i used cider yeast previously and those went to sg = 1.002 in about a week or so. This current batch has been going for ~ 2weeks and seems to have stopped fermenting and the sg = 1.010. i really like the flavor and would like to bottle without adding anything else. would this be ok, or is there the possibility that it will ferment more in the bottle?

  • #2693

    john tobin

    Totally could ferment more in the bottle. You’re looking for a stable gravity as a sign of being ready to package. If you get the same reading over a period of time, that would be a good indication it’s done fermenting. for each gravity point of continued fermentation, you’ll get about a 1/2 volume of CO2, so judging from your last batch, you could end up with a fairly dry cider with 4 volumes if it continues slowly on that path while in the bottle. Seems your options are: bottle and take a chance on how it finishes/stores (using a strong enough bottle for that potential pressure or you’ll have bottle bombs); or, wait a bit and see how you like it as you discover it has truly finished fermenting via continued gravity monitoring.

    When you say you “really like the flavor” now, you’re really looking at needing to consider stabilizing it with sulfite/sorbate to suspend the fermentation potential and preserve the level of fermentables still in it.

    If you prefer for it to finish naturally, you’re better off seeing what it tastes like when it shows its done by continued monitoring for a stable final gravity (several weeks between measurements). At that point if you didn’t like the flavor you could reconsider the sulfite/sorbate option and backsweeten. Another option for the non-sulfite/sorbate route if it’s too dry for you is to blend in something before serving it. Sort of like making a cocktail that includes simply syrup or a mimosa (champagne/oj).

    Several options here.

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