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I work as a Head of maintenance at a hotel, since covid we have closed our usual buffet style breakfast. Which includes our juice machine. Thinking nothing of it back in March we shut everything down boxed everything up and figured we'd have it back open in a week or so, maybe a month tops. He we are about 6 months later and I'm helping go threw and sort all the expired food and beverages. We come across three cases of three, 1 gallon apple and cranberry juice concentrate bags for the juice machine. They have a best by date on them of June....but best by right? Not expired...(also not puffy, moldy, or smelly. I did cut one open to taste it, I live on the dangerous side). Anyway I loaded them into my car to take home, it made me want to ask if anyone else had tried making anything from these sort of bags. Also if there were any problems anyone could see about the best by date. The only problem I do see is that they both claim on the ingredient label that they have, "1/10 sodium benzoate and 1/4 of one dose of sorbate." So will it even ferment is the other question. If anything I figure on maybe freezing a few and using it as a sort of make shift fpack maybe.. any opinions or please don't do that's would be welcome, haha. Thanks
 

Scooter68

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1) Try a small sample of the concentrate and see if it will ferment.
2) "Best By" dates are a very vague term. State laws vary a great deal and even "Expires..." dates are open to how much safety margin the makers choose to use. That juice might in fact be safe and good for 3-6 months beyond their date if properly stored. Of course freezing pretty much stops the clock at that time frozen.

Think you are taking a safe'risk' there if the signs of spoilage are not present and the taste is good. I'd certainly go for it. Investment is the sugar you add and your time basically. Just remember that even though it's cranberry juice sweetened for drinking it might still need extra sugar to get up to ferment-able levels. Is the cranberry juice 100% cranberry or a mix? Very often they soften the tartness of cranberry juice with other juices like apple, grape or pear or even all 3. That doesn't make it bad especially when the price is right at $0.00 right?
Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out. Who knows you might end up sourcing Apple Juice and Cranberry juice through your hotel or their source.

Apple should be great AND you can even make it into Apple Cider by just going with the existing sugar level. (My apple ciders typically start with an SG of 1.050 - 1.065 depending on the season and source.) That would really make it an inexpensive experiment.
 
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1) Try a small sample of the concentrate and see if it will ferment.
2) "Best By" dates are a very vague term. State laws vary a great deal and even "Expires..." dates are open to how much safety margin the makers choose to use. That juice might in fact be safe and good for 3-6 months beyond their date if properly stored. Of course freezing pretty much stops the clock at that time frozen.

Think you are taking a safe'risk' there if the signs of spoilage are not present and the taste is good. I'd certainly go for it. Investment is the sugar you add and your time basically. Just remember that even though it's cranberry juice sweetened for drinking it might still need extra sugar to get up to ferment-able levels. Is the cranberry juice 100% cranberry or a mix? Very often they soften the tartness of cranberry juice with other juices like apple, grape or pear or even all 3. That doesn't make it bad especially when the price is right at $0.00 right?
Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out. Who knows you might end up sourcing Apple Juice and Cranberry juice through your hotel or their source.

Apple should be great AND you can even make it into Apple Cider by just going with the existing sugar level. (My apple ciders typically start with an SG of 1.050 - 1.065 depending on the season and source.) That would really make it an inexpensive experiment.
Sounds good, I was thinking the same thing about the best by dates, but figured I should ask on here to you guys that have more experience then I do on these things. Ya, the cranberry does say 100% cranberry. Which kinda works as I have a cranberry wine in secondary right now that has way to light of a flavor and was thinking about doing a f-pack anyway.

Now they are concentrates that you would put into a machine and the machine would then mix it with water to dilute, if I made a cider or up the sugar to a wine for the apple. Do you think I should do all concentrate and no water or thin it out some? I would have enough to do five gallons of straight up concentrate. I don't have much experience with concentrates. I mean, where's the line on how full bodied? No one wants a watery wine, but I am kinda afraid if straight syrup to, haha.
 
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I just got home and read the boxes I was wrong. The cranberry is a 12% juice the apple is 100%. Also, the benzoate and sorbate say 1/10th of 1% used. Edit. Oh, and they they do say the mix ratio 4+1 and 3+1 so that helps too maybe
 

Scooter68

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Does the cranberry have an actual list of ingredients? Normally that will be in order of how much is there. So if you see on the label (Apple Juice, Pear Juice, Cranberry Juice - Hey go with it. It's a free batch for the most part.
On their mix ratio. I might back it off some. If they say 4 water to one Juice maybe go 3.5 water or 3 water. You'll get more flavor out of it that way.

( I make a tart cherry wine and I use 4 bottles for 3 gallons. One (1) bottle is supposed to make one gallon.) You can never have too much flavor. Much easier to add an inexpensive white wine to your batch afterwards.
 

jgmillr1

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1/10 sodium benzoate and 1/4 of one dose of sorbate.
These are preservatives intended to prevent fermentation. You'll probably want to at least double your yeast to give them a fighting chance. Good luck
 
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So with scooter's advice I went ahead and made up two five gallon carboys last night. I had a couple new carboys I had literally got the day before and they were burning a hole in....well my patience, haha. I think I like looking at full carboys almost more then drinking the product of them. Turns out that concentrate is, very very very concentrated. I figured it was free so like scooter said why not make it more flavor less water. Well when I took the first gravity reading on the apple, it was no joke half way up the glass "counter weight?" I don't know the proper term for the bottom of the hydrometer. I'm talking had to be close to a 1.200 if not higher, haha. No sugar required for this, I removed a bunch of the concentrate from the carboy and then added water, mixed, and tested SG over and over till I brought it down to a more manageable 1.104. Did the same with the cranberry too. I did make a started with some yeast nutrients and a punch of sugar and left it over night and just pitched it this morning. Worst comes to worst, it was literally all free but the yeast packet. After another closer inspection of the labels, I did see in order that high fructose corn syrup was very high up the list. Not sure how fermentable that is, but I geuss we will find out. Oh I also added a gallon bag of the apple concentrate to a finished traditional Mead that had been in secondary for a few months and I hated the flavor of, cheap honey. Anyway, after that the flavor is pretty good for a young mead. I geuss that makes it a hydromel? Idk, it was better then it was, haha. I'll keep updating if it actually takes off, it is a fun little experiment. The only change I wish I could make was I wish I had Ec-1118 or 71B, I only had D-47 around. But we will see how it goes. Might order some 1118 and repitch in a day or two if it doesn't take off.
 

Scooter68

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Sounds great. With the product being past it's "Best By:" date the strength of the preservatives has probably waned somewhat. With a good yeast I would expect that the fermentation will kick off readily. If not ,as you are talking about, try a different more robust yeast like EC-1118 or K1-V1116. Many folks use those for difficult to start ferments.

That apply juice concentrate sounds like some GOOD stuff! I may of mentioned this but you could also try a shot at making hard cider. That would involve bringing down the SG to under 1.070. (As long as it tastes good) A hard apple cider is usually easier to deal with, a bit faster to mature, and a lot of fun to drink.

Just mentioned your 'find' to my wife - Her reaction>>> Grumbling about health departments and their aggressiveness on things like this. "Really crazy they'd just get after people, so silly...." BUT on the other hand we both agree - you done goooood !

High Fructose... yeah, that will ferment just fine.
 
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So unfortunately, even after making another starter with Ec-1118 it never took off, Either one. I'm sort of disappointed, but I did end up using one each of the concentrates as flavor packs in the traditional Mead and a cranberry wine that was lacking flavor. Both of those worked out very nice. So it was a fun experiment, I think looking back I probably tried to start them with to high of a SG. I would water them down a little more. So all in all, the only thing lost was a couple packets of yeast, and time...I didn't even need to add sugar since it was so concentrated. Oh well live and learn.
 

KCCam

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So unfortunately, even after making another starter with Ec-1118 it never took off, Either one. I'm sort of disappointed, but I did end up using one each of the concentrates as flavor packs in the traditional Mead and a cranberry wine that was lacking flavor. Both of those worked out very nice. So it was a fun experiment, I think looking back I probably tried to start them with to high of a SG. I would water them down a little more. So all in all, the only thing lost was a couple packets of yeast, and time...I didn't even need to add sugar since it was so concentrated. Oh well live and learn.
1.104 is definitely not too high for EC-1118, I've done 1.110 with no problem.
Is your free supply exhausted? Sorry it didn't take off. I figure 1/10 of 1% sorbate would be about 3 Tablespoons in 6 gallons of pure concentrate, so if you tripled the volume with water (by using 2:1 ratio), you would have about the same dose used to prevent backsweetened wine from refermenting. I seem to recall discussions about whether it's possible to reduce the effect of potassium sorbate but don't remember if there was success. I wonder if adding a 2:1 or 3:1 mix to a slurry from a successful and active fermentation would work.
 

KCCam

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1.104 is definitely not too high for EC-1118, I've done 1.110 with no problem.
Is your free supply exhausted? Sorry it didn't take off. I figure 1/10 of 1% sorbate would be about 3 Tablespoons in 6 gallons of pure concentrate, so if you tripled the volume with water (by using 2:1 ratio), you would have about the same dose used to prevent backsweetened wine from refermenting. I seem to recall discussions about whether it's possible to reduce the effect of potassium sorbate but don't remember if there was success. I wonder if adding a 2:1 or 3:1 mix to a slurry from a successful and active fermentation would work.
Well, I am just curious by nature, and love to learn. I did a little research on potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate. Admittedly, my information source is the internet, but I weigh what I read with what I know and what makes sense. No guarantees, however.
So, if I had access to more of that free concentrate, I would still be experimenting!
 

my wine

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So one user reported that by inoculating the must with a yeast starter twice a day for 2 or 3 days, he was successful in getting an active fermentation, despite the initial presence of sorbate.
This is good to know. Currently I'm adding 1118 once a week and my sorbated wine is fermenrting slowly but steadily so far. I'll start adding 2 or 3 times a week and see if that increases the fermentation rate. Actually I'm happy its fermenting as is.
 

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