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Old 01-18-2010, 02:45 PM   #1
SacredBrew
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Default Re-Racking Cider/Secondary Fermentation?

I have 6 carboys of cider and 1 55 gallon oak barrel of cider. They underwent their primary fermentation around mid November. Obviously, the carboys finished before the barrel, but I would say they generally were stopped fermenting by the beginning of December. The ciders have been sitting in the same fermentation vessels since they stopped fermenting. It is now mid January.

My first question is this:

Is it going to be a problem that the cider has been sitting inactive on top of the yeast sludge for so long? Will their be off-flavors or potentially new and exciting flavors?

My second Question is this:

Should I re-rack all the carboys into fresh carboys for a secondary-fermentation, or should I just bottle as is?

as far as the barrel goes, when should I re-rack it, to age into another barrel?

Third Question:

If I do re-rack the carboys, should I add sugar for secondary fermentation, or just let it be as is?

Thank you very much.

jon



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Old 01-18-2010, 03:11 PM   #2
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secondary fermentation occurs during and after primary fermentation. primary fermentation is the process of converting sugar to CO2 and alcohol. this process also produces various byproducts that the yeast have to clean up. they do this during whats called secondary fermentation. secondary fermentation doesn't magically start when you transfer to a secondary fermenter. don't add more sugar unless you want primary fermentation to start up again.



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Old 01-18-2010, 03:25 PM   #3
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Don't know what kind if juice you have, but "secondary ferementation" with cider is malo lactic fermentation (MLF), which occurs with fresh squeezed raw juice. Supposedly it makes the cider smoother if you can get it to happen, but I've never gotten my hands on raw juice, so I am envious if you did.

Personally, I always rack before bottling so that I can bottle without having to monitor sucking up lees. It allows me to keep my attention on not over filling bottles.

Don't sugar. It is just a filler that will boost the alcohol content and that isn't always a good thing.

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Old 01-18-2010, 03:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleWineProject View Post
Don't know what kind if juice you have, but "secondary ferementation" with cider is malo lactic fermentation (MLF), which occurs with fresh squeezed raw juice. Supposedly it makes the cider smoother if you can get it to happen, but I've never gotten my hands on raw juice, so I am envious if you did.

Personally, I always rack before bottling so that I can bottle without having to monitor sucking up lees. It allows me to keep my attention on not over filling bottles.

Don't sugar. It is just a filler that will boost the alcohol content and that isn't always a good thing.
Yep- I'd rack off of those lees and wait to bottle until the cider isn't throwing any more lees. If you didn't sulfite, you may undergo MLF. That's a good thing, but you definitely want to do it in the carboy, not in the bottles, so I'd wait before bottling until there is absolutely no sign of further fermentation and the cider isn't throwing any lees.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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It should be fine but taste it to be sure. Rack it off into what is most convenient to you. If you need to put it into bottles, then do it. Otherwise it'll be fine in another carboy/barrel. By the way I have to say this about your 55 gallon oak barrel...ehem...you lucky bastard! Ok now that I have it out of my system...



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