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Old 11-01-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
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Default Can I bottle?

I just checked the final gravity on my first 5 gallon batch of cider. I was mystified at first by getting a reading of 1.030 after a month of active fermentation! Then I remembered to spin the hydrometer to free the bubbles. Dur. Once I got over that hurdle, I got a reading of 1.000 or maybe even slightly lower. I know that people generally say that you can bottle at 1.010 or 1.005 and below, but there is a suspiciously large amount of bubbles in the cider right now. I suspect that if I actually poured a glass, I'd get quite a bit of fizzing.

Can I prime and bottle now? Should I just bottle it still and hope for the best? If I do prime, how much should I use? I plan to use brown sugar and I think what I see around these forums is something like 1/2 cup for 5 gallons. Or should I use less since I suspect some continued activity?

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Old 11-01-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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It sounds like you are having the same issues I am. What I was told is that if you are reading that low of a gravity, then it probably is done, or close to done, fermenting and the bubbling activity is just trapped CO2. That's the explanation I am running with anyway. Ill be bottling my cider tonight. Not sure if I'll backsweeten, or just add priming sugar then bottle; it's going to be a game-time decision.

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Old 11-01-2011, 07:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Apple_Jacker View Post
It sounds like you are having the same issues I am. What I was told is that if you are reading that low of a gravity, then it probably is done, or close to done, fermenting and the bubbling activity is just trapped CO2. That's the explanation I am running with anyway. Ill be bottling my cider tonight. Not sure if I'll backsweeten, or just add priming sugar then bottle; it's going to be a game-time decision.
Yup. And even more so, the lower the temperature during fermentation, the more CO2 will be trapped in the must.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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So I suppose I assume it is completed and I prime accordingly.

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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So I went ahead and used 1 can of apple juice concentrate for backsweetening and 1/2 cup brown sugar for priming. I simmered the brown sugar with the juice concentrate until it dissolved and let it cool while I sanitized and rinsed everything. I gave back the extra fermentation bucket I borrowed, and I didn't want to stir any additional sediment back into the cider, so I did the calculations and evenly distributed the juice/sugar mixture into all 68 bottles I prepped....I will NEVER do any bottling again without a secondary carboy/bucket! Anyway, after doing that, I filled all of my bottles with no problems and capped them all. I made sure to fill up a plastic pop bottle as well so I can gauge the carbonation.

Now here I am less than 24 hours later and the pop bottle is already feeling pretty firm. Not rock hard, but it's getting close to being as firm as a regular unopened pop bottle. Any idea why this happened so fast? Is it because of the sugar and juice concentrate mixture I added? Is it because I didn't let the trapped CO2 finish expelling from my cider? I also didn't use any pectic enzyme or anything to clarify my cider...having sediment on the bottom of the bottles really will not bother me for this run but I'll clear it out for my next batch. I might crack open a bottle to see where it is at just to make sure I don't have a shatload of bottle bombs in the works! If it is fine then I will re-cap it and wait patiently.

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:33 PM   #6
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cider can easily go as low as .990, so by bottling it at 1.000 AND sweetening AND priming means that you're going to have serious bottle bombs. Your sweetener will be fermented, as will the priming sugar, and the cider wasn't done fermenting to begin with.

Either put them somewhere cold NOW to hopefully stop the yeast and/or try pasteurizing them before they blow up or open them all and put them back into a carboy and let it ferment out.

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Old 11-02-2011, 11:31 PM   #7
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Well I opened my pop bottle first to see what it looked like and it had the amount of fizz I was looking for. So, I cracked open one of the glass bottles...At first it seem to fizz up fine then it fizzed pretty crazy and reached to the top of the bottle but did not spill out. I figured I was playing with dynamite at that piont and and removed everything from my refrigerator, placed all of the bottles inside and put all of my food back in....I'm pretty impressed I was able to fit it all in there! Not sure what my girlfriend will have to say about it, but it's better than explaining why there are shards of glass and cider all over my house!

EDIT: Now that a few more minutes have passed since I initially opened this bottle, the carbonation has almost all but disappeared. I will still leave all of the unopened bottles in the refigerator, but here's hoping the rest of them don't lose their carbonation quite so fast. Lesson definitely learned here!

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Old 11-03-2011, 12:10 AM   #8
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What kind of yeast did you use?

What was your original gravity reading?

Ive bottled plain juice & yeast ciders fermented with Nottingham at 1.008 and primed with 8oz. apple juice/gallon and never had a bottle bomb, not even after a year. I think knowing the type of yeast you used will help.

Eric

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Old 11-03-2011, 01:39 AM   #9
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I used Red Star Premeir Cuvee wine yeast. The O.G. was 1.080 and the F.G. was 1.000.

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Old 11-03-2011, 01:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I used Red Star Premeir Cuvee wine yeast. The O.G. was 1.080 and the F.G. was 1.000.
That yeast can go up to 18%. At 1.000, it was not done. With sweetening AND priming, bottle bombs are a certainty.
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