If I understand correctly, you've added raisins to a fermenter with apple juice and other ingredients to make a cider.
A "starter" usually refers to an initial yeast propagation usually in a smaller vessel like a glass flask or other container. Not sure why they would call that a starter. Wine musts are deficient in nutrients, and winemakers add fermadi K, DAP, and other nutrients to make sure the fermentation doesn't stall. I never understood the addition of raisins as nutrients; they don't have anymore nutrients than the original grapes?
As to your problem with no bubbles from the airlock, the cider should ferment just as a beer would. You didn't mention what type of fermenter you're using. If a bucket, it may be the lid isn't sealing properly. You might try sloshing the mixture around to coat the top of the lid and seal it off.
Here's some info on nutrients if you want to go that route next time. http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/SNAddition.pdf
I think they're basically required when you do a mead, wine or cider.
HighTest's Basic Mead, Cider, & Perry NAS (rev 2)
Sized for a 5 Gal Batch:
- At inoculation - 4.5g Superfood (or Fermaid-K) & 4.5g DAP
- At Active Fermentation - 2.8g Superfood (or Fermaid-K) & 2.8g DAP
- Just before Fermentation Mid-point - 1.8g Superfood (or Fermaid-K) & 1.8g DAP
1) Active fermentation is defined when the Brix drops 2-3 degrees [This stage typically occurs within 8-24
2) The fermentation mid-point can be determined by (OG+TG)/2
3) Depending upon which nutrient is used, this protocol adds 167 - 176 ppm of timed yeast available
nitrogen (YAN) to whatever may be available from the must. YAN is also known as Free Amino
For those of you who do not have digital scales:
- 1 tsp of SuperFood weighs ~ 2.4g
- 1 tsp of DAP weighs ~3.9g
- 1 tsp of Fermaid-K weighs ~4.0g.
Footnote 1: I recommend mixing the nutrients into a small volume (~100ml) of the must, adding that back into
the main volume, and then mixing well. Be CAREFUL when you add these nutrients as you can get quite a bit
of foaming (a physical reaction due to the creation of nucleation points)... This action has the added effect of
degassing the must of CO2, which is beneficial to yeast health - minimizes CO2 Toxicity.
Footnote 2: I have been asked about using substitute nutrients for Superfood. Not knowing the composition of
these commercial products I can only offer this comment from the Wine Lab for your consideration:
â€œMost nutrients have a higher DAP content than Superfood. When Lisa Van de Water
formulated Superfood in the mid-1980s, her philosophy was to provide more of the complex
ingredients yeasts need to balance inorganic nitrogen additions and to allow wineries to add
extra DAP as appropriate to supplement deficient musts.â€ How much more DAP is anyone's
Revised 01/11/06:The nutrient quantities were changed based on conversations with Dr. Clayton Cone wherein
I learned that he recommended the bulk of the nutrients be added before 30% sugar depletion - the yeast
are usually well into their stationary phase at 50% sugar depletion and cannot utilize the nutrients as well as
they can before 30% depletion. As such, the NAS (second revision) now adds 85% of the nutrient nitrogen
before 30% sugar depletion.