Originally Posted by MarkKF
Does the dry airlock mean the cider was exposed to air all that time? If so why is bacteria not a concern?
If bacteria or mold got in to it you will know. I know a guy.... OK I will admit it, it was me and I had started a wine making project with my brother. We had access to tons of fresh fruit and had started over 50 gallons all in 1 gallon batches. this was about 10 years ago. well life happened and one day added to the next and before we new it 10 years had passed. Some of the bottles employed the old handywrap and a rubberband trick and others had airlocks, but the airlocks had been neglected and many of the rubber bands holding the handywrap on had broken. Even though most of it was exposed to some air it was all still covered which significantly limited the possibility of contamination. The final result after 10 years was that half of it was bad, BUT the half that was good was really good.
Back to what I said, if it is bad you will know. first thing we did was inspect it visually. it there were things floating on the top, it was cloudy, or had obvious major issues we dumped it. This weeded out about 10 gallons. then we did the sniff test which eliminated another 5 gallons. the last test was to taste it. The ones that had been exposed to mold had a dirt taste so we dumped them and a few had a vinegar taste so we dumped them as well. The taste test eliminated another 10 gallons.
The 25 gallons we bottled have been fantastic
Oh and by the way Ruckbeat, when I bottled my 10 year old wine I never thought to check the SG because I figured after 10 years the yeast was either dead or or it had fermented out all the sugar. low and behold one of the original gallons had stick probably 9.5 years ago and bottling it was just what I needed to restart the fermentation process. so I guess yeast knows no time limit. After doing some research I found yeast can lie dormant for 1000s of years. tough little bugger to kill.