I'm considering doing my first batch of hard cider. I was going keep it simple and just use 5 gallons of apple cider (cloudy brown kind) and dry ale yeast and then keeping it in a primary for about 4 weeks, but I know that cider needs to age a lot longer than beer to maximize the awesomeness. So after primary fermentation, does it make more sense to rack to a secondary and age it there for a few months or to bottle it and have it age in bottles? I don't care particularly about clarity, but the practical advantage for me with using a secondary is that since I'm relatively new to this brewing game, I don't have a ton of bottles or a kegging system--yet
--so if I aged the cider in a secondary, I wouldn't have my bottles tied up for a long time and could brew and bottle more beer in the interim.
Question 2: of the following: bucket (probably not, right?), better bottle, glass carboy, or some container I don't know about, which would be the best option for bulk aging cider for a long time?
Questions 3: This might sound dumb, but, if I were to leave the cider in the secondary for, say 5 months and then try to bottle it, there would still be enough yeast to carb, right?
Questions 4-5: And lastly, has anyone tried making a still cider? I've never had one, but it seems like something I might like. Does carbonating add some other benefits that would be missing besides just being bubbly?