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Old 02-16-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
johnnypants
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Default Disgorging cider bottle sediment

I'm a sommelier who decided that I wanted to start home brewing/vinifying and thought I'd start with a cider since it seems easier than other stuff and I love me a dry bubbly cider. Yes, this is my first brew ever.

So far, at each turn (racking to secondary, bottling) the taste suggests I've managed to avoid completely boning it -- though it's clearly not ready for prime time. Being a newbie, I thought I'd just use 2 liter soda bottles for bottling since I figured they were easy to come by and not very likely to explode in my small NYC apartment getting me a vacation in gitmo. Now I just need to figure out how to disgorge the sediment from the bottle fermentaiton. I anticipated this being a problem but preferred to fly by the seat of my pants at the time instead of coming up with a really awesome idea ahead of time.

I can't do a methode traditionelle disgorgement because 2 liter soda bottles are large and fat with a tiny neck -- lots of sediment, not much neck space. The sediment, if frozen, would get caught on the shoulder of the bottle. The best thing I've come up with so far is collecting/freezing the sediment in the BOTTOM of the bottle and pouring the cider off of it, but I figure the pouring will really kill the carbonation. Anyone have any experience/ideas?

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Old 02-16-2008, 11:18 PM   #2
beala
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From the looks of it, you either bottled too early or didn't do a very good job of racking it. If it's because you bottled too early, keep a close eye on them and watch for bottle bombs. You may want to vent them every now and then. If it's the second possibility, next time just try to leave as much sediment as possible behind when you rack.

As far as fixing it, you could try siphoning it into new bottles. This would leave a lot of headspace, though. Another option would be to siphon all the bottles back into the bottling bucket, then rebottle. Again, this would cause lots of oxidation. Lastly, you could just carefully decant before drinking it. The last option seems like the best, but if you age for too long with that much sediment you risk autolysis. So, you're kind of between a rock and a hard place. I'd go with the last option, just finish drinking it quickly.

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Old 02-16-2008, 11:34 PM   #3
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I'm more inclined to believe it's a crap job of racking. It sat in secondary for two full weeks with absolutely no airlock activity before I bottled. In a two liter bottle, how much sediment (compared to what's there) is likely to occur from bottle fermentation?

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Old 02-17-2008, 03:33 AM   #4
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My normal routine is one month in primary and six months in secondary before bottling. I've never really tried to do a sparkling cider, but doing a disgorgement will probably work. Cool the cider as far as possible without freezing and let the sediment out like they do methode traditionelle. The cooler cider should keep most o f the carbonation in solution and only lose some with the disgorgement.

In the future, I would really recommend leaving it longer in a secondary vessel for clearing. That alone will leave most of the sediment behind.

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