Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

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Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:59 pm

Hello,

My lacto-fermented apple cider came out great! I followed the Nourishing Traditions recipe and just finished racking a few quarts today.

My question now is...how long will it stay the way it is in the fridge? Since the majority of the yeast has been left behind will it be stable for awhile? Or should I start downing it soon before it turns into vinegar?

Thanks!
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:58 am

Well now some more confusion...

I haven't tasted the cider since I put it away, but the jars are building up pressure in the fridge. Is something still going on?
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby Tim Hall on Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:33 pm

Should stay good in the fridge for quite a while so long as it's sealed and no oxygen is getting to it. The main worry would be loss of character and stale flavor due to oxidation.

Although it's not so typical, some yeasts can ferment well into the 50's (and even close to freezing). Might try adjusting your fridge down a couple notches. On the other hand, your cider might have been still fermenting well enough when it went into the fridge that it built up pressure, but has now stopped.
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:25 pm

Thanks for the suggestions Tim.

I noted something else that was interesting. I made two half-gallon batches at the same time. When I racked them off I accidentally sucked up a little yeast from the bottom of one batch. I didn't think much of it.

So I took one quart over to some relatives and opened it up. Carbonation built up a little bit. It smelled sweet and good. Tasted great, everyone loved it.

Today I opened up the other batch quart that had a little yeast in it. Well obviously the yeast must be still going because at the bottom of that quart jar was some yeast residue (like the original 1/2 gallon container had). It does not smell sweet, yeasty to be exact and is losing its sweetness. I assume this batch is turning into hard cider now?

I'm trying to understand the point of the Nourishing Traditions recipe. It says to add salt + whey to the raw apple juice and leave it sit out at room temperature for 3 days with a cloth cover. By the 3rd day it has yeast residue and you take this and stick it in the fridge for a week or two until it gets a "buttery" flavor.

Doesn't this defeat the purpose and allow the yeast to out compete the acidifying bacteria (which is what I assume is happening?). Does the yeast help give the apple juice its cider flavor or is it only good for producing alcohol content? I'm going to try again and make some more sweet cider. I don't know if I should keep the "hard cider" batch and see what happens with it or if I should just pitch it.
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby Tim Hall on Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:35 am

I think Sally Fallon's intent is to actually get the bacteria going before the yeasts, so it's truly more of a lacto ferment than an alcohol ferment. At least that's what the addition of whey and salt tells me.

Apples sometimes naturally carry a type of bacteria that causes what's called "malolactic fermentation." In this process the bacteria convert malic acid (which is the acid that gives apples their tartness) into lactic acid. Sometimes this lactic acid can have the perception of 'butteriness' in ferments. But too much conversion of malic to lactic acid can also make cider taste a little flat.

This is a particular type of fermentation I haven't experimented with, and don't know much about the dynamics. It could be that this is what's going on in your fridge.
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:25 pm

That's interesting. So is it nearly impossible to get a stable fermented sweet cider?
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby Tim Hall on Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:56 am

If you're doing a wild ferment, or using what bugs might be in whey, you'll definitely get at least slightly different results each time. But that's true for all wild ferments, and just goes with the territory. I think that's why a lot of wild fermented cider get's drunk before it fully plays out.

Different species and strains of bacteria and yeast have different degrees of attenuation - that is how much sugar they will gobble up before they really slow down or stop. Some wild yeasts are extremely attenuative, and will gobble up practically all sugar, even under very adverse conditions.

The vast majority of hard cider makers opt for very controlled conditions with pedigreed yeast, and some may even resort to sulphites. But if you're aiming for a 'probiotic' drink, I think the system you're using is the way to go.
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:28 pm

Thanks Tim for all the info, you mentioned that it should stay relatively the same unless oxygen gets to it. I don't have any kind of bottling system or carboys or any brewing equipment (yet, I want to start making lacto-fermented sodas), so it probably would be best to put the cider in the smallest canning jars possible? Also Sally doesn't say to rack the cider, does racking slow down further fementation, or is just a clarity/preference thing?

Thanks
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby Tim Hall on Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:09 am

johnny71 wrote:does racking slow down further fementation?


Yes, but maybe not. If you were making hard cider, using only yeast, racking will definitely slow (but not stop) the fermentation. Lacto-fermenting, I don't know that this will have much effect. I suspect (but don't know for sure) the bacteria stay in suspension better than the yeasts.

Racking can be for clarity and for getting a 'cleaner' flavor. But if you're making a sort of quick, lacto-tonic cider, I don't think you should worry about racking. I feel the point of Sally Fallon's method is not to make ferments that are intended to sit on shelf, but rather be consumed early.

If you want to get into making hard cider, you might consider taking extra steps and performing more manipulations with the ferment.
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Re: Lacto-fermented Apple Cider: How long will it stay good?

Postby johnny71 on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:22 pm

I see so there's no way to store it in the refrigerator indefinitely as a 'sweet' cider, as it will just continue to change over time. Cooking it is out of question and would defeat the purpose. Dang, I imagined having a stock pile of sweet cider in my fridge over the winter months. Oh well.

If I wanted to make a hard cider I would just leave it sit out on the counter at room temperature for a few more days right?
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