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Old 11-14-2010, 08:34 PM   #1
JLem
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Default secondary even if already clear?

I have a cider that has been in primary for about 3 weeks. My plan was to move it to secondary for some bulk aging while it clears. However, looking at it today it is already crystal clear - like read-a-newspaper-through-it clear. Is there any added benefit to moving it to secondary and letting it bulk age for a while (how long?). Or can I go straight to bottles at this point (it's going to be a dry, carbonated cider if that matters)

recipe:
local, fresh-pressed, UV pasteurized juice
added some "caramelized" juice to up the gravity (1 gallon of juice boiled down to 16 ounces)
pectic enzyme
yeast nutrient
OG 1.064
gravity when checked a week ago - 1.000
used Lalvin 71B-1112 white wine yeast
fermented on 0.5 ounces of medium toast hungarian oak cubes

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Old 11-14-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
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The longer you leave it, the better it will taste. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't add some priming sugar and just bottle now!

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:55 PM   #3
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The longer you leave it, the better it will taste. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't add some priming sugar and just bottle now!
I plan on leaving it a while - from past experience I know that it takes time for the cider to come into its own. I am drinking a cider I made two years ago and it is quite good - not great, but certainly 1000% better than it was after 6 months and probably 100% better than it was after a year. The cider/cyser I made last year is still not really drinkable (I am hoping it gets better, but I'm not sure).

I guess my larger question was whether or not the aging should take place in the carboy or in the bottles (with carbonation). You seem to be suggesting in the bottles is fine (or maybe even preferable?)
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:08 PM   #4
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Bulk aging of anything is best with regard to package to package consistency. Bottling now is just a matter of conveinience.

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Old 11-15-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
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Bulk aging of anything is best with regard to package to package consistency. Bottling now is just a matter of conveinience.
not sure I understand "package to package consistency" - can you explain more?
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:02 PM   #6
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The longer a product ages in bulk the more consistent it will be from glass to glass or bottle to bottle.

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Old 11-15-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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I think it'll depend on if you want to free up the fermenter you're using as well. I'm doing single gallon batches and am on hold while they finish, and if I let that sit for a year, I can't create more.

Bulk aging and not bottling would mean that after a year, the entire bulk will all taste the same, whereas if you bottle now and then age, there is a chance that one bottle will taste different than another bottle due to slight temperature differences and movement.

Personally, for me, I only have single gallon batches so I plan on bottle aging in champagne bottles rather than bulk aging in my 1 gallon jug. (After all, I'm only going to get 4 champagne bottles worth per gallon.) If I had a full 5 gallon batch, I'd be more likely to bulk age to get a consistant flavor throughout all 20 or so bottles (Even more if I were to do beer bottles).

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:01 PM   #8
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I think it'll depend on if you want to free up the fermenter you're using as well. I'm doing single gallon batches and am on hold while they finish, and if I let that sit for a year, I can't create more.

Bulk aging and not bottling would mean that after a year, the entire bulk will all taste the same, whereas if you bottle now and then age, there is a chance that one bottle will taste different than another bottle due to slight temperature differences and movement.

Personally, for me, I only have single gallon batches so I plan on bottle aging in champagne bottles rather than bulk aging in my 1 gallon jug. (After all, I'm only going to get 4 champagne bottles worth per gallon.) If I had a full 5 gallon batch, I'd be more likely to bulk age to get a consistant flavor throughout all 20 or so bottles (Even more if I were to do beer bottles).
It is a 3 gallon batch. At the moment I have it in my large 6 gallon glass carboy and was planning on racking it into a 3 gallon glass carboy. At the moment I don't need the vessel for anything else. However, I probably will in a couple of months. Is it worth it to leave it in secondary for just a couple months instead of longer?

Also, I am concerned a little about oxidation - mostly because of temperature fluctuations in my basement as it gets colder. Can I bulk age with a solid bung instead of a standard 3-piece airlock (I have found my airlocks sucked empty after a particularly cold night).

Lastly, regardless of consistency issues, does bulk aging impact the quality of the cider?

Thanks for all the help so far.
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:22 AM   #9
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I'm out on that one. I don't think it does but want confirmation. Nothing of mine has lasted for more than a few months. (it's that single gallon effect, and I like drinking.)

From what I've read, there shouldn't be any (assuming equal conditions for all bottles, temperature, yeast etc.) between early bottled and bulk aged.
You may not have the aged effects for some bottles and how it ages on the lees, while some others may have more of this. Depending on how this affects the cider, this could improve or detract from quality. (Again, consistency issue) And if the bottles are stacked, certain bottles may be subject to heat or light while the others are not (consistency issue) and that could affect the quality. Also there's the whole oxidation thing, how some may become more oxidzed than others and affect quality (Can we say consistency?)
Beyond that, if the single bulk amount and the bottled amounts are subject to the *exact* same conditions internally then from what I've been reading throughout various sites is that it would be the exact same.
As for my personal opinion? I say "screw it" and I'm going to bottle regardless. If a bottle is 5 degress different, then maybe I'll see if I can tell a difference, but my palate is not refined enough to do something like that.

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