First Time Making Hard Cider (Advice Needed On Finishing)

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Feb 21, 2012
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I decided to make some Hard Cider for Christmas. At first I was going to make a gallon but the Cider was on sale at Wal-Mart so I bought 6-1 Gallon Jugs to make a full 5 Gallon Batch and one small Gallon Batch.

I used pasteurized non preservative Musselmans Apple Cider and I used instructions based on these 3 resources:




I added pectic enzyme based on the instructions for both the large and the small batch for a clearer cider. I also added 1/4 cup of light brown sugar to the gallon batch and 2lbs of light brown sugar to the 5 gallon batch and a can of apple juice concentrate to the 5 gallon batch.

The Yeast for the 5 Gal was Lalvin 71B but for the 1 gallon I had to use Lalvin EC-118 because the home brew store ran out of 71B.

I have a active fermentation on both batches and I love seeing those airlocks bubble so I think the primary fermentation will go well.

My issue now is what am I going to do after? I would like for both batches to be done by Christmas Day but I've been seeing a lot of posts and sites around the web about ciders being done anywhere from 2 Weeks to 6 Months.

What I plan on doing is racking the 5 Gallon Batch to Secondary for another week then kegging and C02 Carbonating.

But I understand I have to back sweeten because I read ciders typically loose sweetness and come out dry during fermentation.

My question with that is should I add some Potassium Sorbate a couple days before I keg?

I was thinking I should do that and put it in my deep freeze to stop fermentation then I planned on adding 2 more cans of apple juice concentrate to my keg for back sweetening and racking the still cider on top of it adding some gelatin for further clearing and putting it back in the deep freeze for a couple more days before I carbonate.

Also I was wondering should I add gelatin for further clarity in the keg as well or is the pectic enzyme enough?

Any advice you can give on my next steps after primary so I can have a nice clear and good tasting hard cider for Christmas would be appreciated.

P.S. I might just have to go straight to the bottle for the 1 gallon batch unless I can figure out a way to back sweeten and carbonating for bottling without the residual yeast reactivating and making bottle bombs or fermenting out the new sugar. If you have any advice on that front too I'll appreciate.

Thanks in advance!

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