Saturday night (NZ time) I set my first batch of apple cider to ferment.
I spent around 3-4 hours juicing approx 33kg of apples (regular eating apples - single variety of which I can not remember the name) Saturday to yield a grand total of 8.6L of apple juice. I pasteurised the juice (brought to a simmer and left for around an hour) and added 2 cups of brown sugar and 1.5 cups of white sugar during this step. I then let the mixture cool to about 25 deg C for 3-4 hours.
Meanwhile I prepared the yeast. I used cider yeast (M02 by Mangrove Jacks) dissolved in luke warm water and added one large tbsp of yeast nutrient.
I then added the cooled juice to my previously sanitised demijohn, added the yeast mixture and gave it a good old stir. I checked the SG here and got a reading of 1.082. I then insulated the demijohn, protecting it from light and providing a good consistent temperature (has been varying between 19 and 23 deg celsius for the last 4 days), added the air lock and we're away.
The first 72 hours were intense with the air lock releasing CO2 every 4-5 seconds (slowing down towards the end of the first 72 hours).
Now here we are - 96 hours after fermentation began and I have not heard a single CO2 bubble all day. I did my research, decided to check the SG and it is currently 1.002. I believe this means the ABV is around 10.5% - stronger than I anticipated, but not in a bad way . We tasted a wee bit and it's good. Not yeasty tasting although still cloudy and a bit dry for our taste (I intend to add xylitol before bottling).
I plan on leaving the cider in the current demijohn until Sat/Sun (one week into fermentation) then racking to a second demijohn for a further week. Following this I will bottle the cider and taste test a week or two after that.
I have read that many people allow the fermentation process continue for months... What benefit is this if the sugar is all but gone? Will two weeks total fermentation be enough?
Being an absolute beginner (haven't brewed anything before) I am after any advice/guidance that will help me attain the best possible end result, given the situation. Thanks in advance