We received an email from Stephanie yesterday. She asked the following:

 I’m just wondering how long it takes for the yeast to start foaming. I pitched my yeast on top of the cider, it floated for a bit and then sank, should I be concerned about that?

Good questions Stephanie and here are our responses. 

Firstly you did the right thing by “pitching” (get you with the Brewers lingo) the yeast onto the top of the juice and then seeing it later fall to the bottom. 

Yeast loves a “blood warm” environment and should divide like crazy if the juice is around that temperature. However, it rarely is as warm as that, so the yeast just takes longer to get going. It is like us. We find it easier to jump out of bed in summer than on chilly winter mornings. 

So give your yeast time. It may take anywhere from one to eight ours to get working. If nothing has happened in eight hours, don’t panic. Leave it overnight and when you get back in the morning it should have used those night hours to make a start. 

Still nothing? Ok, it is emergency resuscitation time. Here is what to do. We are going to make a starter.

Take a litre of juice and warm it gently in a pan. If you get it to the temperature of a hot bath you have already gone too far. You want it just below blood temperature.

Take it off the heat. Taste a spoonful. It should taste good. Add new yeast and give it a whisk. Cover and leave for an hour. You should now have a jug of yeast munching on apple juice. Bubbles of CO2 should be rising to the surface. So, pour this jug back into your main vessel and within 6 hours the whole thing should be bubbling nicely.

If your starter jug is not bubbling then it is likely that your yeast is dead or you are trying to make cider in a refrigerator. Neither works, So, go get a new packet of yeast and chuck that in.  And shut the bloody door! Problem solved.