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Aging Cider

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aayers

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Hello all,

I've actually never aged my cider. I was just wondering what specifically it does to the cider when you do let it age. Maybe I'm just too greedy and not patient enough for that part of the craft. I've always made it and then drank it within a month. I also give out at least 2 or 3 gallons of my 5 gallon batches to my friends so there's not left for just me to let it sit. I've never really had a problem and my cider has always tasted good to me. Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on it.
 

Iseneye

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I only do one or two presses a year and generally age them under a year. There is supposed to be a malolactic fermentation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolactic_fermentation which smooths it out. I used Kevin's cold-crash method on my last batch and it is delicious 4 weeks after pressing so won't need to age them anymore.
 

buMbLeB

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Hello all,

I've actually never aged my cider. I was just wondering what specifically it does to the cider when you do let it age. Maybe I'm just too greedy and not patient enough for that part of the craft. I've always made it and then drank it within a month.
I'm happy to read this. I've just started doing this 2 months ago, and I generally pull my "turbo cider" (I guess that's what it's called when you use cheap apple juice) after about a week or so, once it hits ~1.004, and then cold crash for a few days. I think if your initial brew has higher acids or complex flavours then aging would help, but I don't know.

I've actually got a batch going now that I plan to rack, bottle and age just to see what happens, so I'll post something in a few months on that. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with my process. :)
 
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aayers

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I typically let mine go for 2 weeks. My fermentations typically take 4 to 5 days until the bubbling ceases and then I just leave it in the bucket to settle out. I use the same containers that the juice came in and it's always worked out well for me. Maybe the aging thing does make sense as far as acidic tastes. I just got done with a batch that was pretty acidic and almost tasted off and vinegary to me. However, after just a few days of letting it settle, it tasted like my ciders always taste so I'm happy with how it came out.
 

siletzspey

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Without fail, I've always had cider taste substantially better after 6+ months of aging. I don't doubt that young cider can be good, but I think a lot of people who skip aging don't realize how much better their cider could be.

--SiletzSpey
 

Maylar

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I made some cider back in October that I had ready for Christmas. The basic minimum timing; two weeks primary, two weeks secondary, three weeks bottle conditioning. It was OK but nothing special. Kind of bland with not much apple. Last week I tasted some of the same batch that has been bulk aging for 4 months now and the taste is much better. It's like the apples were put back into it.
 

dmtaylor

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I find my ciders get worse with age. They're typically in fermenters for 4-5 months before bottling, and thus taste great fresh at bottling. But a year later and they begin to go more thin, bland, and occasionally funky. It's not a high alcohol beverage and not really intended to be aged that long. Drink it in the first ~9 months and you're fine though. The fresher the better if you ask me, but not so fresh that there's still fermentation and yeast in there, that's not good. Soon as that's out of there though, it's ready to drink right away. That's why I leave it alone for a good 4 months usually. Sometimes it's ready in ~6 weeks but usually/often not. Needs some more time to clean up and then she's ready.
 
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aayers

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I'll have to try leaving mine alone. Maybe it'll help when I keep making batches. I can leave some alone and have some right now. I always leave out the yeast and crap like that. My first batch, I had it way too soon and straight from my fermenter cause I wanted to see how it tasted. I got sick from all the yeast in it. Won't be doing that again. I typically make my ciders in the upper register of 9-9.5% so I don't think that it would turn sour or anything after a year or so. Let me know if I'm wrong, or I could just try it.

Thanks again for all the help!
 

worlddivides

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I've found that my ciders always taste better with age, but just how much better they taste with age depends on the specific cider. I had a 8.5% ABV cider that was fermented with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and that one was decent young but tasted a lot better after about 6-8 months of aging. I've never aged a cider for a year or more. My personal rule-of-thumb is that the higher the alcohol, the more aging helps mellow out the flavor.
 

dmtaylor

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Sorry, I forget..... most homebrewers are adding lots of sugar to their ciders even though the juice itself will naturally produce a beverage of a pleasant 6-7% ABV. Sure, if you're going to jack up the ABV with sugar, your cider will age for a good while longer than mine.
 
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aayers

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@worlddivides...I'll have to try aging mine to at least 6 months or so and see how it is after that. I would like to try that out to see how much different it is. I guess in 6 months, I could make a fresh batch and compare apples to apples. ;)

@dmtaylor...I just do it cause I've always wanted to have a bit harder cider than the regular cider they have out there now. I also have friends and family that like it a bit harder than 6-7% as well.
 

Evilgrin

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Ive got one bottle of cyser i managed to save from last October and a couple bottles of blackberry apple cider....On 2nd thought i do have a gallon of plain cider i made with Cider House yeast too.

I will let you know if it makes a difference in a few more months. :D
 

siletzspey

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Regarding MLF... at 6 months, most of my thrice-racked bulk-aging carboys still have very obvious bubbles rising up from the depths, but no bubbles are blowing out the airlock. I have been assuming MLF. Is it? This is the first year I've bulk aged beyond 2 months, and have been able to visually witness the changes over time.

I concur with another that aging seems to bring back the apple flavors. I also tend to push the ABV, so thanks for the comments that the higher the ABV, the more valuable extended aging is.

--SiletzSpey
 

gregbathurst

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If your cider has a lot of tannin it will benefit from some ageing, but generally I think the 6-9 month window is optimal. After a year most ciders will slowly decline, a fruity cider might be good after 3 months. Last year I was drinking some 4yo cider but I freshened it up with a dash of juice when serving.
 

fuelish

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Have never aged my ciders, although atm I could put up a 12 pack for future reference....I just treat my simple ciders like beer ... make it, bottle condition it, enjoy it....it ain't wine nor mead...perhaps it could improve with age, but it's nice and dry and tart and carbed and tastes great. Cider is also on my wife's "you need to make more of this" list :)
 

nbstl68

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I had my first batch of (pear) cider for at least 6 months in a carboy (triple racked) and it still tasted awful...about a month later I was considering pouring it out...tried it one more time and it was very good!
So I bottled it and am still enjoying it.
Not sure what magic occurred to change the taste in month 7 (MLF?) but the aging def helped in my case.
 

oliver0575

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I've aged ciders for various lengths of time, ive got a 2 year old keg sat in the garage that is still good to this day. Most of them tend to last 6 months tops, the standard recipe I tend to use comes out between 10-13% so one bottle leaves you really knocks you for six
 

BanditBrewCo

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I typically try and age my higher abv (between 13% & 14%) cider at least a year before I keg them but I also make mine 50 gallons at a time split into two 25 gallon batches. I do this twice a year so I can keep a flow into my kegs as needed. I keg one half barrel that I tap and then two corneys for backup or special parties. I may actually bump up my production to around 130 gallons a year as I have been pretty close to running out before the next batches are ready lol. I have a lot of cookouts in the summer!
 

Firewalker11

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I'm shooting for 9 months on my last batch. I filter mine before bottling so that there is no sediment and this is so that I can give it away next Christmas with no worries about the Homebrew Sediment that often comes with all the jostling of transporting it.

My first batch of apple cider is 5 months old now and like Maylar said above, the apple seems to be coming back. YMMV
 

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