Can some one please explain racking?

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Jan 28, 2008
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i am working on my first batch of apple cider. its been in the primary for a week already and i plane to leave it in there for 2 more weeks before i rack it to the secondary. the only problem that i have is that I'm not quite sure exactly what racking entails. is it more that just siphoning off most of the liquid and leaving the sediments behind? do i have to run the liquid through a filter, or stir it before siphoning?

any idea of how i should tackle this is greatly appreciated.
Racking is simply a brewers term for siphoning from one container to another. No filters. Nothing special. Leave the sediment behind. And don't let the liquid get aerated while transferring...and NO STIRRING. This is the stage at which oxygen is the enemy.
should i expect it/ want it to keep fermenting after i transfer it to the secondary?
Depending on the original gravity your cider might continue fermenting for awhile. You will more than likely at least see air lick activity for awhile.
it'll just eventually work itself out?

when i rack, how much liquid should i expect to be left behind. i started with 5 gallons of juice. should i top off the must to bring it back up to 5 gal?
When you rack you want to get as much liquid as possible, while still leaving as much of the lees in the primary. There probably still be yeast in suspension to finish off the fermentation process. You shouldn't be losing too much liquid in the transfer, but you could always top off the secondary for an even 5 gallons (roughly)
On a simalar subject, is a racking cane a better way to move from primary to secondary than the spigot at the bottom of my plastic bottling bucket that is doing double duty as a primary? If so, why? Seems like opening the spigot and letting it flow is easier than siphoning it.
A lot of people use the spigot at the bottom, I haven't but would love to try it because if it works or saves so much hassle. The experts seem to say that as long as you keep up with sanitizing your spigot and its individual parts, than you should be fine. Keep in mind, the lees must be below the spigot level to rack properly, otherwise you will be pulling in a lot of the lees you don't want.

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