Im in the process of making two 1 gallon batches of spiced cyser and would like to make half of each batch sparkling. I plan to rack them 1 or 2 times. Both of the yeasts I used (lalvin k1-v1116 & wyeast 4632) have an alcohol tolerance of about 18%. Here are my questions:
1) I went ahead and added the spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, orange/lemon peel, vanilla, & jasmine green tea) into the initial fermentation. Im interested to know how this will likely affect the flavor differently then adding them after the first racking? Im assuming it will just tame their flavors down a bit into more of an undertone, right?
2) Ive read that its best to rack most cysers after 1-2 weeks so the dead yeast doesnt negatively impact the end product, then rack again when the fermentation slows down in order to clear it, then bottle. Is this about right? If you think this would be the best rout to take should I add more nutrient (Im using bee pollen) during either/both of the rackings? Should I top them off with some of the unfermented cider?
3) For the sparkling bottles should I get them bottled when its at about 15% alcohol? Will this leave enough room for a decently sparkling cider or should I bottle it earlier/later?
4) Im going to be adding honey to get it to sparkle. How much honey should I add to ½ gallon to get the appropriate amount of sparkle and how much unfermented cider should I dissolve it into?