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Old 12-05-2009, 03:21 PM   #1
ds5160
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Default Want to make sure I understand aging correctly

After reading about cold crashing, aging, and other techniques, I want to try and make sure I'm speaking the same language as the more experienced brewers here.

I did my first batch of cider following the Quick Cider instructions in the book Cider. Pour in various juices, added the Lavlin EC1118, and then wait 3 weeks and then bottled. No hydrometer readings, just went down into the basement every day (sometimes multiple times a day) to look at the cool bubbles that were coming out of the airlock. I added a tsp of sugar to each bottle, then bottled the cider, kept it in the basement for a few more days, and checked the bottle carbonation. When it was at a level that I liked, I moved all the bottles to the fridge and they have stayed there.

At first, the cider didn't have much apple taste to it, and there was a high yeast flavor. After about a week in the fridge, I could see the sediment in the bottom of the bottles, and the apple flavor had increased and the yeast flavor decreased, making things much better. BTW, I love how dry it is. I used to love Strongbow, but after drinking a couple bottles of this home version, I can't stomach Strongbow, far too sweet for me.

My second batch of cider is nearing completion, (starting gravity was 1.070, and it is still dropping). So, here is where I want to verify that I'm not totally confused.

  • Aging: I can rack it to a secondary, or keep it in the primary to allow it to age. This should allow the apple flavor to increase, and the yeast flavor to go away. Length of aging time can be 1 week to 6 months, depending on personal taste.
  • Rack to secondary: This might help with clearing as it will pull the cider off of the sediment (trub? lees?) at the bottom of the fermenter. Some say that this can leave a bit of an off taste.
  • Cold crash: More effective on a different style of yeast than the champagne yeast. On an ale yeast, cold crashing would slow or stop the yeast.

I am not going to try to bottle carbonate my next batch. Just to see which I like better. After bottling the last time, I saw the sediment that formed in the bottom of each bottle. I filter the cider into a new bottle each time I open a bottle so I don't have to worry about the sediment. Yes, I could use a glass, but I don't like the aroma from the cider, has a strong champagne aroma, and I don't care for that. Out of a bottle I don't get the smell as much and I like the flavor much better.

My question, if I age the cider in a secondary carboy, will a lot of the sediment that I see in my bottles now fall to the bottom? I have always assumed this was yeast that became the sediment. Does the cold do that? Does cold help lower the yeast flavor more quickly?

Thanks for all the info. I am also doing a batch of hard lemonade right now, and it's done fermenting, has a good flavor, just too much yeast flavor.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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  • Aging: I can rack it to a secondary, or keep it in the primary to allow it to age. This should allow the apple flavor to increase, and the yeast flavor to go away. Length of aging time can be 1 week to 6 months, depending on personal taste.
Rack it off of it's lees to age(Autolysis). I'm not sure that I would consider a week to be aging, but yes the cider improves over time. Also, yes, this is one of those personal taste things. I'm sure there will always be someone who disagrees.

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  • Rack to secondary: This might help with clearing as it will pull the cider off of the sediment (trub? lees?) at the bottom of the fermenter. Some say that this can leave a bit of an off taste.
Leave it on the lees for long enough and the taste will change. Again, see the autolysis link.

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  • Cold crash: More effective on a different style of yeast than the champagne yeast. On an ale yeast, cold crashing would slow or stop the yeast.
It will suspend the yeast and cause it to flocculate.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:26 PM   #3
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BTW, I love how dry it is. I used to love Strongbow, but after drinking a couple bottles of this home version, I can't stomach Strongbow, far too sweet for me.




My question, if I age the cider in a secondary carboy, will a lot of the sediment that I see in my bottles now fall to the bottom? I have always assumed this was yeast that became the sediment. Does the cold do that? Does cold help lower the yeast flavor more quickly?

Thanks for all the info. I am also doing a batch of hard lemonade right now, and it's done fermenting, has a good flavor, just too much yeast flavor.

Its great to hear someone that likes their cider dry, I can't drink most commercial stuff, much too sweet (even the stuff called dry). There are a lot of complaints on this forum about cider being too dry.

If you don't like the yeast taste you could invest in a kegging set-up. Allow a month or 2 in secondary then force carbonate in a keg and it will be crystal clear. The sediment is usually just yeast, if you bottle condition you will always get a bit of sediment, though if you allow more time in secondary the deposit will be quite small. If you like cider dry you don't have to worry about cold crashing and stuff like that.

Raising the sg with sugar won't help the taste and requires more ageing.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the clarifications. The patience is the hard part.

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Old 12-06-2009, 12:06 PM   #5
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Racking off the lees to secondary will help you to avoid off flavours & lessen the amount of sediment in the bottle. I tend to think of aging as 6 months to a year for cider, more for some wines & meads. Regards, GF.

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Old 12-06-2009, 03:05 PM   #6
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There is a bit of tongue in cheek when I wrote 1 week for aging. I was so excited at the first batch, that I only waited a week before testing and deeming it drinkable. I thought the yeast flavor was far too strong, so I stopped drinking it for a couple of weeks. My girlfriend enjoyed it so much, including the yeast taste, that she's been nabbing bottles since that first bottle was opened.

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:44 PM   #7
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I think you've been bitten by the brewing bug.

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Old 12-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #8
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I think you've been bitten by the brewing bug.
Both of us have. Me, because I'm taking it the easy way. Buy juice, sanitize container, pour juice in container, add yeast, close, wait. I did a batch of lemonade, and that was too much work. Boiling water, juice, and sorghum syrup for 30 minutes, then waiting for it to cool? Too much work. Yes, I am truly that lazy.

She is bitten by the bug because she likes the drier ciders, and I do all the work. We do make a tradeoff, I buy the gear, she buys the ingredients. Excluding gear cost, coming in at about 60 cents/bottle on something she likes better than anything she buys in the store, she's happy to buy the ingredients.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:47 PM   #9
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I will be the first to say there are many ways to make a cider and as long as you like the final product they are all good.

What I do is ferment in primary until I hit a SG of around 1.010 or less.
Then I rack to secondary and let it continue to ferment out, and clear. This is what I call the clearing stage. Fermentation continues for another week to two, then it takes around two to four weeks to clear. If I need the carboy I some times crash chill the cider to drop the yeast.
Then I rack to a 5 gallon carboy, top it off with C02 and forget about it for a few to six months. (Another carboy would work, but you got to check the air lock to ensure it does not dry out). This is what I call my ageing stage.
When I can't wait any more, or need the keg I either rack it to another keg for serving, or I bottle it.
So far this process works for me to produce a clean, and very drinkable cider, of course I'm always looking for ways to improve it. For me the greatest factor after sanitization, is lots of time.

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Old 12-08-2009, 11:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
is lots of time.
Time, yeah, that's my biggest issue right now. With nothing on stock, a batch goes pretty quickly. I just picked up 3 carboys from her grandmother, who's husband used to make wine, and I'm thinking I'll get a couple more carboys so I can have multiple batches going on and get a stock going.

My girlfriend found out she's gluten-intolerant about 4 years ago. She likes cider better than beer, so she doesn't want me to do a gluten-free beer (thankfully, see my initial post about being lazy). So, I just need to get a good stock of cider and I can start to allow things to properly age. Just need to find the bottles.
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