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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Bottling for carbed cider - when to bottle?
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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Default Bottling for carbed cider - when to bottle?

I've got 5 gallons of cider going right now (first batch ever). It spent 5 days in primary, and then I racked it to a carboy. We're just approaching the 3 week mark in the carboy, and my instructions say I can prime it and bottle at at that point (I'm going for carbed cider here). I'm planning on leaving it in the bottles a few months before drinking.

My question is: the fermentation seems to still be chugging along - I'm getting a bubble in the airlock (the curvy kind) about every 2 seconds. This leads me to think that the cider might need to ferment a bit further before bottling, based on what I've read on the forum. It's not very clear yet, but seems to be less dense than before. Should I let it go a little longer? When will I know to bottle it? I haven't checked the sg yet - probably will in a few days.

Thanks!

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Old 02-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #2
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I've got 5 gallons of cider going right now (first batch ever). It spent 5 days in primary, and then I racked it to a carboy. We're just approaching the 3 week mark in the carboy, and my instructions say I can prime it and bottle at at that point (I'm going for carbed cider here). I'm planning on leaving it in the bottles a few months before drinking.

My question is: the fermentation seems to still be chugging along - I'm getting a bubble in the airlock (the curvy kind) about every 2 seconds. This leads me to think that the cider might need to ferment a bit further before bottling, based on what I've read on the forum. It's not very clear yet, but seems to be less dense than before. Should I let it go a little longer? When will I know to bottle it? I haven't checked the sg yet - probably will in a few days.

Thanks!
Definitely don't bottle it yet! You'll have bottle bombs for sure. You can bottle when the SG doesn't move over a period of a few days and it seems to have stopped all activity.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
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Yeah, always wait until fermentation is over. 2 seconds means it's still fermenting quite a lot!
When it stops fermenting visually and the SG is 1000 or under is the safest time to bottle, as there's no leftover sugar, so you can manually add the amount of sugar you want to carbonate it. My last batch was bottled at around 1002, and has enough sugar for half a pint from the barrell. whoops.

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Old 02-06-2010, 10:59 PM   #4
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If you have a way to cool it down (refigerator or large cooler/bucket with ice/snow)... you could cold crash it. This way you can stop the fermentation before it eats all of the sugar. I just cold crashed a 6 gallon batch 2 weeks ago at 1.014 and it stayed there for a week after until I bottled it. You will want to rack it... then crash it... then rack again... and it should be stable. What yeast did you use?

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Old 02-06-2010, 11:13 PM   #5
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I used Nottingham.

My fridge can't fit the carboy, though I could just put it outside (it's pretty cold in Boston right now). But from what I read, cold crashing is great for still cider, but not if I want to carb it naturally in bottles (as opposed to carbing in in a keg, etc.). I'll probably go the keg route down the road, but as a novice, the bottle carbing intrigues me.

Thanks for all the great advice. I'll rack it in a few days, and let it continue to ferment until things slow down, and I'll also figure out where I'm at with the sg.

This cider forum is pretty impressive. So many different techniques, so many options for recipes, ingredients, yeasts, flavors... Doesn't look like I'll get bored making cider. Can't wait to have the finished product in a glass...

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Old 02-07-2010, 03:57 AM   #6
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Default Bottle now or later

No harm in leaving for another week or two. I usually don't bottle till bubs are gone.

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Old 02-07-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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I'm not an expert, but my first carbed batch turned out all right. The idea is to get most of the yeast out, having just enough left to make bubbles -- I let it ferment all the way out (SG 1.000), cold-crashed it (put in fridge at about 45 degrees F for a day then racked it), added sugar, bottled and kept the bottles in the fridge. I could have racked it another time to make sure there wasn't too much yeast. If you can't fit the carboy in the fridge, you could leave it outside or put it in a sink of ice water.

Some say you should stop it before it ferments all the way out, so I'm going to try that next time.

One thing that's helpful is including a plastic bottle in your filling -- you can keep this with the others and squeeze it to see if it's carbonated. It may take several weeks before it's fizzy, depending on how much yeast is left in.

For some more discussion on bottle carbing, including pasteurizing (to kill the yeast once you've got the right level of carbonation), have a look at this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/cider-v1-0-a-145045/

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Old 02-10-2010, 08:09 PM   #8
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Just racked.

SG is at 1.01, so I'm close, but it's still somewhat active. I'll just sit tight a little longer.

I have to say, the taste didn't blow me away, I'm assuming it will be better after a few months in the bottles. It wasn't bad, though...

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Old 02-11-2010, 12:19 AM   #9
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Let it rest, be patient. It will clear up more and you will be sure it is done if you let it sit longer. My first batch I bottle early, it was done, but still cloudy. I ended up with a lot of sediment at the bottom of the bottles.

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jrss13 View Post
If you have a way to cool it down (refigerator or large cooler/bucket with ice/snow)... you could cold crash it. This way you can stop the fermentation before it eats all of the sugar. I just cold crashed a 6 gallon batch 2 weeks ago at 1.014 and it stayed there for a week after until I bottled it. You will want to rack it... then crash it... then rack again... and it should be stable. What yeast did you use?
I'm guessing you didn't add any sugar, but let the rest of the natural sugar carbonate it, correct?
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