- First, taste it. If it tastes ok, proceed. If not, dump the the infected apple cider and try again.
- Rack to another carboy, or in this case, another one-gallon jug. Use a straining bag at the base of the siphon to prevent sucking up any large chunks of funk.
- Increase ABV to inhibit any further growth. It just so happens a neighbor recently gave me some moonshine, so I mixed about a cup of that into the roughly 3/4 gallon of cider. Vodka would work just as well. Another option might be to add more fermentables – sugar – and increase the ABV that way. I figured the liquor would have a better shot at killing off whatever was growing in the cider.
- Cold crash – again, to inhibit growth of whatever infection might have been going on. I moved the jug of cider to the refrigerator in hopes that this will prevent any further growth.
After being out of town for the holidays, I returned home, opened my fermentation chamber, and inspected the three ciders I have fermenting. Much to my horror, I noticed a strange growth in the blueberry/cardamom cider. Is it infected? What’s worse, there were two components to the funkiness: a yeasty looking conglomeration near the top, floating among the blueberries, and some dusty looking business at the bottom. Surely this cider spin-off is doomed! Or is it? Whenever you suspect that a homemade beer or cider is infected, always give it a taste before dumping the batch. I was surprised to find that the blueberry/cardamom cider actually tasted…pretty amazing! I’m not convinced that there isn’t some kind of microbial growth in there – this apple cider my be infected, but it would require a microscope to be sure – but a little mold or bacteria isn’t necessarily going to ruin a batch. Here’s what I did to salvage the apple cider. One Way to Save an Apple Cider