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First batch of cider ......mould - ???

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Scrumpy180

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Hi guys, last weekend I pressed my first ever batch of cider, approx 60 litres, in two brewing containers.
Yesterday I noticed the airlock bubbled and was pleased that fermentation had appeared to have started.
I pressed another 30 litres today and with some excess apple juice I thought I'd top up my original batches, but when I unscrewed the airlock lids I noticed there was mould growing on the surface of the juice - and so I as a novice I lean on the groups greater knowledge and experience:-

A) Would this be mould that has spoiled the cider or would this be the natural yeasts ??

B) Should I Campden Tablet the batches then add a commercial yeast (was hoping to use the natural yeasts to ferment it)??


Some other info - apples were cider apples of different varieties. The refractometer reading of the juice when pressed was 11%

Thanks
 

DavieC

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Hi, are you sure its mould? I would have thought that once fermentation has started it should starve the mould of air(co2 forcing the air away from the must, through the airlock) If it is mould, you may just be able to syphon the juice from under it into another FV.sanitise all your equipment you use, I did it with a mouldy elderflower champagne which failed to start fermenting and it was fine. Ultimately the 'mould' may be the fermentation as sometimes it does create a Krausen on top as its doing its thing.How does it smell.If its alcoholic smell should be ok.If it smells mouldy, syphon into clean FV, leave mould behind.Maybe crushed campden tab and fresh yeast if you're worried it is mould. Hope this helps and maybe someone can give more advice.
 

DavieC

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Hi, are you sure its mould? I would have thought that once fermentation has started it should starve the mould of air(co2 forcing the air away from the must, through the airlock) If it is mould, you may just be able to syphon the juice from under it into another FV.sanitise all your equipment you use, I did it with a mouldy elderflower champagne which failed to start fermenting and it was fine. Ultimately the 'mould' may be the fermentation as sometimes it does create a Krausen on top as its doing its thing.How does it smell.If its alcoholic smell should be ok.If it smells mouldy, syphon into clean FV, leave mould behind.Maybe crushed campden tab and fresh yeast if you're worried it is mould. Hope this helps and maybe someone can give more advice.
I did a natural ferment last year and it did have a funny looking krausen layer on top but was fine.
 

Scrumpy180

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Thanks DavieC much appreciated feedback, that's given me a wee bit of confidence/hope as the batches are certainly bubbling albeit only just started since Fri so not overly prolific with the "bluuurps" bubbling through the airlock at present but definitely bubbling none the less.

I've ordered some cider yeast online (should be here Mon/Tues) so I'll keep an eye on things and may Campden Tablet the batches then pitch the yeast a day or so after, but ideally I'd like to use a natural fermentation if it works out that I can.
 

DavieC

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I'm pretty sure the wild ferment I did last year looked iffy but if its mouldy you'll definitely smell it.Its a different smell when its alcoholic fermentation fumes. Have you got a hydrometer? you could try an sg check to see how far along it is, did you take a starting gravity?, although its best not to keep taking the lid off, has a krausen ring formed around the edge of your FV?
 

Scrumpy180

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I used a refractometer and it gave a reading of the juice before fermentation of 11% - I'm not wanting to ferment to dryness as 11% would be too strong and I want to avoid that "sherry-ish" tang to it so I was going to stop fermentation when the reading had reduced to 5% (thus the potency of the cider would be at 6% alcohol by volume)
 

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