Hello, I want to make some good cider and I would like to clarify some things to make sure I end up with a good product.
I have got wine yeast, a 5 litre jug, 5ltr apple juice and little plastic 500ml bottles(sparkling water bottles that I recycled).
Plastic bottles do not always reseal well, be careful. These bottles might not hold carbonation long. I have not tried using them myself, but many forum members are adamant about not using them.
I am not 100% about Carbonation and also I want to know if it is possible to backsweeten without glass bottles(pasteurization method) or Kmeta.
Backsweetening without pasteurizing or dosing it with chemicals is possible. You will need some non-fermentable sugar. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/non-fermentable-sweetener-305530/
How long after I pitch the yeast should I bottle and carbonate? If I do the 3rd week when it's still cloudy I will end up with a lot of sediment.
How long depends on a lot of factors. The best way is to watch the SG to know when it is done. And yes, still cloudy = sediment. But it is hard to bottle carb and avoid sediment.
If I bottle and carbonate on the 4th week carbonation is a lot slower as I have observed.
The more yeast you have floating around in your cider (more cloudy), the faster it will bottle carb. However, there are other things that can slow down fermentation/carbonation.
Also, should I follow any recipes? I might try the caramel one(I guess I could divide the ingredients by 5 for 1 gallon batch)
For your first time I would try to keep it simple. But don’t let that hold you back if you want to try a recipe. Some newbies will even come up with their own original recipe to start with.
Now, how long should I age? I waited 1 month and 2 weeks when I tried my 2 gal batch and it was okay but there was no apple flavor and it was dry and really bitter.
Aging might bring back some flavor, but your choice in juice, yeast and other ingredients will have an effect as well. If it was too dry and bitter, maybe try an ale yeast and/or a little more backsweetening sugars. No apple flavor? Then stay away from the stronger yeasts like EC 1118 and try to ferment at a lower temperature to prevent flavors from disappearing.
You can also add some apple juice concentrate to add apple flavor. It will however up your alcohol content if you add more sugars.
Sorry if I am asking too much, it's just I would like to get this perfect on my first shot if possible
That’s what the forum is here for. However, there is a lot to be learned from previous posters as well. Try reading through old post and you might find you learn a lot. You might answer your next question before it even becomes a question…