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Old 04-18-2013, 01:21 AM   #1
Beerbeard
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Default Secondary situation

Salutations!

I was hoping I could ask all you cider gurus out there for some technical advice. I started brewing 2 gallons of cider last week using store bought juice and a pound of corn sugar for some extra fermentatables.

It's been in a 5 gallon primary for a week, which I understood was fine since the CO2 produced by the yeast would displace any oxygen as the fermentation kicked up.

I went to my lhbs today with intent to buy a 2 gallon fermenter, but all they had were 3 gallon size. I know I don't want a gallon of headspace inside my secondary, so I'm thinking the solution is to simply turn my 2 gallon batch into a 3 gallon batch by adding more juice.

Herein lies the question: would it be better to add the additional gallon of apple juice (plus some additional corn sugar) to the 3 gallon secondary, and rack the 2 gallons in the primary on top of that, or would I be better off simply adding the extra gallon to the primary fermenter and waiting for the last gallon to ferment before racking to a secondary? I imagine the latter option would run the greater risk of oxygenation, but I could be wrong.

Also, since I have your attention, how long ought I have my cider in tr secondary anyhow? I've read it's mostly to clear it up and let gunk settle out of solution, but I worry that since I keep my carboys in the basement, that I will shake up the cider on the way up, thus rendering my secondary for nought.

Looking forward to your tips and tricks!

Cheers!

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Old 04-18-2013, 01:36 AM   #2
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Yes, secondary is a 'conditioning' period, so don't expect a gravity drop. Cider really needs time for flavors to set, especially with dry yeast like lavlin or nottingham. I'm probly more extreme then others but for a 5 gallon cider batch I usually do...

5 weeks primary
5 weeks secondary
4+ weeks bottle/keg

Goodluck!

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Old 04-18-2013, 01:46 AM   #3
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Depends what you're trying to accomplish. If you dump it into primary, you will stir things up a bit.... I highly doubt (let the flaming begin) you'll ever taste oxidized flavors from doing this, especially with a 3 gallon batch that will likely be consumed within a couple months.

The alternative would be, as you said, rack it over new juice and sugar. This will start a new fermentation period that you will need to allow to run it's course before bottling. It will also create a new layer of trub and "junk" that will need to settle.

I'm not a big believer in using secondary strictly for clearing, but some are. Personal preference if you choose to rack off the new trub.

You could always just add a little bit of fermentables to the secondary to create a new CO2 blanket as well.

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Old 04-18-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Adding the last gallon after racking is just making more work for yourself, since you're going to have to rack off the less again after the gravity drops back down.

As someone who like to clear cider in secondary, and then carry the carboy up from the basement, it's true that some of the sediment gets stirred up, but if you're careful it's not significant. Just plan ahead, and carry the carboy up an hour before you plan to rack, allowing the solids to settle back down again.

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Old 04-18-2013, 04:17 PM   #5
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Great, thanks!

I decided to just add the additional gallon of juice and a little extra corn sugar to the primary fermenter, and I'll let it do it's thing for another week or so before I rack to a secondary for clearing.

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