Hello everyone! This is my first post on these forums
!! I've just recently started brewing my own beer (3 batches finished so far), and decided to make my first batch of hard cider today!! I had the opportunity to pick of some fresh cider today, so i figured, WHY NOT?!? I have a few questions about the process, which hopefully someone can answer.
Okay so a little backround information... I've been reading about cider for the past month, and figured i'd come up with my own recipe. I basically took a cider recipe from my local brew supply store, and added my own special touches on it. Heres the recipe:
5gal Unpasteurized and unpreserved fresh cider (blend of mcinstosh, empire, gala)
2# Clover Honey
4# Frozen blueberries (I pasteurized them, blended them, and strained the skins)
2# Dark Brown sugar
1T Malic acid
1/4t Pectic enzyme
Wyeast Activator 6766 cider yeast (i think it's 6766)
2. I heated the blueberries and honey in a sauce-pan at 150F, added brown sugar into that mixture so it would be easily soluble in the cider.
3. I dumped all the cider into a sanitized carboy, added the strained blueberry/honey/sugar mixture into the cider and added the remaining ingredients.
4. Pitched yeast and aerated.
I hope i included all necessary information. The reason i added the blueberries during primary was, I wanted to be completely sure of my starting gravity, and didn't know how it would affect the cider if i put it in during secondary. My first question: My homebrew store recommends fermenting this in the primary for 7-10 days then racking it to secondary and continue to rack it like twice more for 6-8 months, then bottle. Is this completely necessary? I figure that fermentation should be finished in a matter of weeks, so why can't i bottle when fermentation has ceased, and condition the cider for the next 6-8 months?? Also I have a question about carbonation: I don't have a kegging system, and i would like this to be a sparkling cider. Should I use 5oz priming sugar, just like we do for beer? I was considering using this clover honey instead of priming sugar, and how much should i use of that?? Also, if this cider ends up fermenting out all the sugar and is very dry, how should I sweeten it?
I hope this post wasn't completely ignorant and full of stupid questions, Thanks in advance guys.
EDIT: I purposefully left out the campden tablets, from my research, it doesn't seem so necessary. The cider was pressed yesterday and I have no fear of bacterial or wild yeast contamination. The Wyeast usually starts within 12 hours, so i don't think it will have a problem overpowering the bacteria that may be in it. Was this a bad move?