I work in the Tucson location of Brew Your Own Brew and about a week ago I put together my first Cider House Select ingredient kit. I decided to buy it because it was discounted at 30% due to it being past the expiration date (a kit like this being past expiration has no real negative affects besides that it might be slightly darker in color and the yeast will be expired). The expiration date was only about a month ago so I guessed the yeast was still good too.
As I started making the kit, I did some of the steps in the wrong order. I accidentally cut through the bladder of the Cider House Select bag before I was ready to pour into the bucket – I had not even started boiling the water/adding the sugar. Just as a note: I was quite distracted and in a hurry when working on this little project. Anyway, I got the single gallon of water to boil but had already poured the concentrate into the 7.9 Gallon bucket so I diluted the concentrate by adding 3 Gallons into the bucket before adding the single gallon of boiling sugar water; I did this to insure that I didn’t burn the concentrate. After stirring the product, I added more water so it was filled up to the 6 Gallon mark. I added the full packet of sweetener (it was a Pineapple flavored kit so I wanted it real sweet). Next – and this is why I added the note about being distracted – I added the already expired yeast into the product which I had not let cool so the temperature was slightly over 90 degrees. Just so you know, when you are pitching your yeast into your product, make sure the temperature is between 67 and 77 degrees beforehand or else you risk killing the yeast as it hits the product. If you do in fact kill your yeast, your fermentation may not begin and you could possibly have to add another packet a couple days later.
Now, after a sub-par creation of this soon to be AMAZING Cider House Pineapple cider; I have the cider sitting in another room at about a temperature of 76 degrees. It should be done with fermentation and ready to bottle in no longer than a week and a half (hopefully I will not have to add another packet of yeast). A follow up on this will be coming once I have finished product and done a taste-test!