Cider Maker's Monday: 11/19/2018 - Film yeasts
Welcome to Cider Maker's Monday! Cider Maker's Mondays are focused on the art of making cider. Some will be on my own cidermaking journey and others will showcase other cider makers. Follow along, ask questions, and share your own cidermaking experience!
This week we are looking at the less glamorous side of things: problems with fermentation, specifically film yeast (aka flower). Film yeasts can develop for a number of reasons, but usually show up in cider due to too much air being in contact with the cider. This can happen in secondary/bulk aging if there is too much headspace, or during primary fermentation, especially on a wild/native yeast fermentation.
Pictured is my wild batch with a film yeast developing. This likely happened because I added a half-dose of sulfite in hopes of giving the wild yeast a clean slate to work with. This knocked back the wild yeast population too much and the extra headspace (which is normally not a concern during primary fermentation) allowed the film yeast to take hold. I should have just let nature run its course and not added any sulfite.
A film yeast is not necessarily a deal-breaker. They can create some very interesting flavors as long as the other yeast and microflora take over to finish the fermentation. However, I didn’t want to let this one run. I chose to try to save this batch by removing what I could of the yeast and adding EC1118, a fast, strong fermenting strain that hopefully can overpower the other yeast that may be living in the cider. It may be too late, but I am going to let it finish fermenting and see what happens. At best I’ll get a funky cider, in the middle it could turn to vinegar, or at worst it goes down the drain. Only time will tell.