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Old 11-23-2008, 03:16 AM   #1
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Default cider aging: bottles vs. carboys?

I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on bottling/carbing and aging vs. leaving it in carboys and aging? I know that "bulk aging" is supposedly better, but 23 L is hardly "bulk" compared to the industrial scale! Anyone have any thoughts? I'm racking my cider to secondary tonight (after 3 weeks) and was wondering if I should bottle in a few weeks or few months!

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Old 11-23-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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I think on the homebrewing scale it depends on what you need more, carboys, or bottles. If you have a carboy you can use for bulk aging, use it. Otherwise, let it sit in the clearing carboy for a few weeks, then bottle, then forget about it. Me, I have plenty of both, so it depends on how lazy I am to rack (meaning I end up bulk aging a lot due to laziness)

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Old 11-23-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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Bulk aging is less a reference to large amounts, such as in a commercial setup, and more a reference to the individual batch. Bulk aging is essentially aging the whole batch, regardless of how big the batch is, all together. The biggest difference between bulk and and bottle aging is consistency. If it is all aging together in one container, it will age evenly, all taking on the same characteristics. Bottle aging tends to differ more from bottle to bottle, because the bottles can't all experience the same environment during aging.

But if equipment is a concern because you don't have much, than yeah make your decision on whether or not you need the carboy open or not.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #4
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Also in bulk aging you can monitor and adjust the batch if needed (eg backsweetening, flavouring such as oak etc, sedimentation)
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:26 PM   #5
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I've always been told that bulk aging is better because a 5 gallon carboy will be less affected to temperature changes in ambient air than a bunch of 12 oz. bottles. The temperature of bottle can change very quickly up or down as compared to a full carboy. So the bulk aging carboy will have a more steady temperature with less fluctuation for aging.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:49 AM   #6
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Oak buy an 25L oak cask for 40-60 bucks and age it in that, you wont be sorry... oh wait never mind that what i want to do one day for now i just bulk age in carboys and add to bottles... (sighs) i long for a home made bottle of oak aged brew... oh well the new oak aged Woodchuck will have to do for now

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Old 12-02-2008, 08:39 AM   #7
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I tend to bulk age everything simply because it's easier. Regards, GF.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:58 PM   #8
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Bulk aging is good, bottle aging is good. IMHO it is a good balance of both that makes good home brew. I usually bulk age cider until I can see through it clearly, usually goes to a tertiary fermentor and takes about two months. It is good to bottle age with carbonation because the CO2 wil react with water and make carbonic acid and that adds to the bottle aging part. Maybe there is a chemist out there that can explain that part better but it is one of the major factors of why bottle conditioning works. Either way, aging the cider is the most important!!
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:51 AM   #9
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Once the batch is as clear as you want it, then bottle if you want to.
I like to bulk age only because it is so much easier to store care for and manage.
Off topic, I really need to build a wine/beer rack to hold things far away from me, that way I can forget about the "time chest deposits", kind of like my 201K, (used to my 401K until it got cut in half).

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