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Old 07-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
nmh
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Default neophyte secondary/aging cider questions

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?


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Old 07-20-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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1. I prefer bulk aging so you get a uniform product.

2. Glass carboy is best for bulk aging because it will completely block Oxygen. Plastics will allow a minor amount of oxidation to occur.

3. I've had sporadic issues with this and I think it depends on a lot of variables that I haven't quite mastered yet. However, in general I have more issues with bottle carbing the longer I bulk age. I've even had a batch of Apfelwein that had carbing issues after only 2 months in primary. I'd suggest adding a priming yeast along with the priming sugar. Be careful with this as a high gravity yeast (like champaign) might eat through a lot more of the residual sugars resulting in an over carbed or even bottle bomb situation.

4-5. I've had still Apfelwein. Don't care for it as much. The release of the CO2 accentuates the mouth feel, helps develope the taste on your pallet and really does a lot to release the aroma of the cider.

Good luck!


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Old 07-20-2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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Hey thanks that was all really helpful!

As far as using a priming yeast goes after a long bulk aging, could you just pitch a packet of dry yeast along with the priming sugar and bottle immediately or would you want to pitch, then wait a few hours/days before priming and bottling?
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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I used the same yeast I fermented with (Montrachet), hydrated it and added it to the bottling bucket along with the priming sugar and bottled immediately. It worked for me, but I've only done it once The other ciders that have not primed I've just drank still. Not as enjoyable, but still good.

Do others have thoughts on this?
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:21 PM   #5
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Champagne is primed with a mixture of sugar and yeast. The cider will throw off a bit more deposit in the bottle but you aren't too bothered about clarity. I think CO2 gives the cider more protection in the bottle but still cider should be fine.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:03 AM   #6
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At something like two to three months total ferment and bulk aging from yeast pitching I have had no carbing problems and have not had to pitch yeast a second time.

I do tend to leave the bottles laying around for another three months though, so plenty of time to carb up and more aging in the bottles.



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