A while back, Sami and I made two gallons of hard cider. When we were doing that, we made two errors as well. The first is that we put in the ginger, cloves, and cinnamon that we wanted to flavor it with when we pitched the yeast. Cinnamon and cloves are both antifungals, so they probably contributed to the yest dying off. We also used normal bread yeast, which isn’t very hardy. The resulting cider tasted fine, but it was very sweet, because the yeast died before it had a chance to convert much of the sugar into alcohol.
My new batch of cider is 5 gallons of cold-pasteurized (with UV light, apparently) cider from Bolton Spring Farm, one packet of SN9 yeast, 5 tsp. of yeast nutrient, and about two pounds of sugar. I started it earlier this morning, and the yeast appears to be working already, forming carbon dioxide and lifting itself in the cider. My plan is to let it run until the yeast poisons itself and settles out, and then flavor the cider with cinnamon and cloves and bottle it. If I go with cinnamon and cloves, I probably won’t do a second fermentation to get it to be carbonated.