I want to add some apple juice from concentrate to my “acid bomb” that just finished primary fermentation–so it will make enough to fill a 3 gallon carboy. I only need to add about 2/3 of a gallon to make it, but the juice I have was made with distilled water. A couple questions:
1.) Will the distilled water prevent the yeast from restarting the [primary] fermentation? Or do I need to use tap/well water to make the juice instead?
2.) The label on the distilled water says “sterilized,” but does not list any ingredients/sulfites. So I assume the sterilization is achieved by the distillation process, correct?
Well, I read an article online about making apple cider vinegar, and the author recommended using distilled water. So I guess that answered my question…and I went ahead and did it. The airlock was still showing some life when I added the juice, so I suppose the fermentation wasn’t quite finished afterall. I am guessing I will see the fermentation activity pick back up again, by adding the juice. And now I can fill a 3 gallon carboy, instead of having to use two 1 gallon jugs and having a half gallon left over.
For others reading this post, generally it is not recommended to use distilled water in fermentations. The idea being that the minerals contained in tap or well water are important for the yeasts to maintain proper health.
Besides the article I mentioned above using distilled water to make cider vinegar, I have read elsewhere that the “tiny amount” of minerals normally found in standard tap or well water is negligible. So it seems to me, what the yeast actually need for fermentation can be supplied by the concentrated apple juice and its’ sugar. And as long as the fermentation continues(or restarts), it would indicate the yeast has enough of what it needs. I suppose the best judgement will come when I take the hydrometer reading after the fermentation has ended.
It is not easy to find information on this subject, but I also read: "While distilled water is certainly a no-no for all-grain brewing, some say that it’s perfectly OK to perform extract brewing with distilled water because the necessary minerals are present in the malt extract."
And also: “Extract brewing is the form of brewing used by most new brewers. Extract brewing involves the use of concentrated Malt Extract in the brewing process. The use of malt extract lets the brewer skip the mashing process, and move directly to the boil and fermentation steps.”
I read: "… distilled water can be used for the purposes of dilution. For example, some brewers will use it to balance out large amounts of various components in hard tap water.
Wouldn’t these circumstances and considerations be the same, then, with cider?
Added two cans of concentrated juice to the must, last night, because I had added extra [distilled] water when adding the first can. (I wanted to have enough to fill a 3 gallon carboy, and the juice I added wasn’t enough.) This morning,the must is bubbling away as the yeast are–once again–doing their thing.
Looks like the distilled water did no harm. When the primary fermentation was finished, yesterday, I transferred the must to a carboy and took a sample for testing. The SG was 1.000, and the acidity had been reduced somewhat to some number between 8.4 to 8.7 g/L
I’m no expert taste tester, but there is some easily discernible sweetness I was not expecting, and considering its age and level of acidity, it tastes pretty darn good.