Howdy y'all! I'm fairly new to the Cider fermentation and I just wanted to get a couple of questions answered if possible.
I have done a couple of unsupervised fermentations of cider by just allowing them to naturally ferment in the refrigerator over time. I didn't put much effort into it and only did 1 Gal jugs in those foggy white milk jugs so I couldn't really get a good look at what was going on inside the jug itself. Well now I'm actually doing a 4 Gal batch in my carboy with actual wine yeast. I'm not too worried about it because I could tell that the yeast created a nice half inch of foam on the cider the first day and the air lock started to bubble after enough pressure had built up inside the head space. I do have a couple questions that would give me a bit of insight on the timeline of fermentation though since I'm mostly familiar with brewing beer and a few batches of mead.
It is 3 days into the fermentation and the cider turned from a fairly clear Apple juice color to a lighter and much more opaque/cloudy color. I'm fermenting at about 65-70F using the Red Star Premier Cuvee which is a yeast good for making a lot of sparkling wines, champagne and sparkling mead so I figured it would be good for cider too. I just assume it is because of the yeast activity in the cider that is causing the cloudy color and when the activity reduces and the yeast settles to the bottom the liquid should clear up. Am I right in thinking this way?
Also, I have been reading a few posts stating different times for fermentation ranging from 1 week to 6 mos. What would be a suggested safe time to give the cider a first sampling? I was thinking of cracking the airlock and taking a sip after 1 week and checking the gravity to see if it has reached 1.010 or lower. Starting gravity was at 1.055.
Finally, does anyone have any good suggestions for a spice additive for the cider to give it a nice "Fall" flavor? Would pumpkin pie spice or all spice be reasonable and just as a relative quantity how much would one add to 1-2 Gal batches? I'm open to suggestions for other spice additions as well.