Analysis Request – Cider
Various yeasts and bacteria are either directly or indirectly involved in the cider making process – from processing the fruit and juice to fermentation, maturation and prior to bottling. Either coming in on the fruit, introduced during processing, fermentation or bottling, these microbes may not only survive, but may continue to flourish should conditions permit. Although no cider making process would be complete without these microbes, not all are beneficial. Spoilage microbes are capable of causing changes in flavour and aroma, appearance and texture.
Numerous microbiological tests can be performed on your cider having a specific target essential to crafting a high-quality product that will be stable over time until consumption. These tests include microscopic identification when wanting to check the status of your tank or barrel, to yeast and bacteria cultures, in which selective agar is used enabling us to determine the presence of viable yeast or bacteria cells. For rapid detection and quantification of various spoilage micro-organisms the Scorpion yeast and bacteria panel can be performed.
Ensuring microbial stability is essential for the quality of finished products, brand identity and economic reasons. If left untreated, microbiological contamination can have various negative effects on the quality, both physically (turbidity) and organoleptically.
When and how often?
Microscopic identification of your cider can take place throughout the cider making process enabling swift intervention should it be required. Common microbiological checks occur at juice transfer to fermenter, inoculation, throughout the fermentation, and post fermentation. Direct plating, be it on selective agar for yeast, bacteria or both are good practice pre-bottling. Sterility checks, in which membrane filtration onto selective agar for yeast and bacteria occurs, are often implemented to confirm no yeasts or bacteria have made it through the bottling process posing little threat to the finished product.
Anyone involved in the cider making process would benefit from sending their juice, fermenting, or finished product in with the goal of ensuring a microbiologically stable cider.