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Old 11-17-2009, 01:51 AM   #1
backi00
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Default Bottling Cider

So i have seen several different suggestions, but as a first time fermenter i am looking for some specifics. I have 2 1 gal glass jugs and 1 five gallon jug of cider fermenting.
All of them are equal parts cider to sugar (1 gal to 1 lb.) with a generic wine/cider yeast. I am going to pick up a hydrometer tomorrow afternoon. My questions are...
Is a secondary really necessary? It seems the only reason to rack into a secondary is to add some new flavors and keep from getting off flavors from the sediment.

I am looking to bottle the cider, and attempt to backsweeten and carb half of it in the bottles. At what gravity should i attempt to bottle without risking bombs? I see so many different suggestions just looking to get some extra opinion. Thanks and sorry for the newb questions

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Old 11-17-2009, 02:59 AM   #2
SeamusMac
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Secondary isn't necessary, but with a pound of sugar for every gallon of cider it would definitely be beneficial! A cider like yours will taste better after some aging and you shouldn't let it age on the thick layer of lees that'll accumulate in the primary for more than 4-6 weeks. I transferred mine to secondary at the end of week 4.

To back-sweeten and carb a cider you'll have to sweeten it with a type of sugar that doesn't ferment and add some that does. Splenda is the first thing that comes to mind in regards to unfermentable sugar. I've never used it though so I don't know how much to add. I add 1 ounce of dextrose to each gallon of cider to bulk prime it for bottle carbonation.

It's hard to say what your final gravity will be without knowing the type of yeast that you used but wine yeasts finish very dry, like 1.000 or less. If you left the cider alone for 3 weeks and tested it once at the beginning of week 4 and once at the end of week 4 with the same specific gravity reading then it's safe to bottle if you're close to the aforementioned final gravity.

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Old 11-17-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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Default Secondary

I am planning on racking to a secondary when the gravity is close to 1.000. In this i would like to add some fruit (blueberries,Raisins, honey) to add some flavor. I am just worried about waiting too long to bottle and not being able to carbonate.

Ill prob split the secondary into 5 1 gallon jugs just so i can experiment with still or carbonated, sweetened or not. I can reply with the exact yeast when i get home...
If it finishes at .995 and i bottle at around 1.000 with cane sugar and splenda will that be enough to carb? Thanks so much

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Old 11-17-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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You don't have to worry about not being able to carbonate after secondary unless it's a really long secondary. I've bottled cider after a 5 month secondary and even though it took a little longer to carbonate than normal, there were no problems.

I've heard that it can often take 2-3 pounds of fresh/canned fruit to impart noticeable flavour on a beer, so you might want to start with 1.5-2 pounds for a cider. That's just a guess though ha ha.

You don't have to worry about bottling at a certain gravity to make sure that it carbonates. You just need to make sure that it is done fermenting. Don't bottle it before it is finished or else you may end up with an unpleasantly over-carbonated cider that could break weaker bottles. Also, look into how much cane sugar to use in place of 5 ounces of dextrose. I know that cane sugar is slightly more fermentable than dextrose and that there is a thread on HBT, which has a conversion chart, 'er something ha ha ha.

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Old 11-20-2009, 10:15 PM   #5
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Default Cider

Everything is going smoothly at the moment. I found out the yeast i have is EC 1118 which has not received good comments from what ive read.
Do you prefer to age the cider in a secondary fermentation or let it age in bottles?
I am trying to cold crash at different gravities to find what myself and my friends prefer.

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