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First Time Making Hard Cider (Advice Needed On Finishing)

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JayTeeDee

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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:

http://makehardapplecider.com/Hard-C...-cider-recipe/

http://www.howtomakehardcider.com/making.html

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/media...outs/Cider.pdf

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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JayTeeDee

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At the time of this post was the start of the second week in primary fermentation. I don't think I need the gelatin because the 1 gallon batch is crystal clear or as crystal clear as regular apple juice so I can just imagine how clear the 5 gallon batch will be. But I still need that advice on finishing.
 

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At the time of this post was the start of the second week in primary fermentation. I don't think I need the gelatin because the 1 gallon batch is crystal clear or as crystal clear as regular apple juice so I can just imagine how clear the 5 gallon batch will be. But I still need that advice on finishing.
If you are going to always keep it cold, so that fermentation won't restart, you can skip the sorbate and campden.

If you think you may bottle some, or if you may store the keg at a warmer temperature, you'll need to stabilize it once it's totally clear by racking into sorbate and campden.
 
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JayTeeDee

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If you are going to always keep it cold, so that fermentation won't restart, you can skip the sorbate and campden.

If you think you may bottle some, or if you may store the keg at a warmer temperature, you'll need to stabilize it once it's totally clear by racking into sorbate and campden.
Yea I think I can skip that now

On Sunday I'm going to rack the 5 gallon batch to Secondary for one week to let it clear a bit more in the carboy then on the following Sunday I'm going to transfer the batch to the keg on top of the concentrated juice and put it in the deep freeze for 2 days then take it out and carbonate with C02 and put the finished keg in the mini fridge which stays cool at about 50 Degrees or so.

The one gallon batch I'm just going to bottle
 

TeamCanada

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I had great results racking to secondary, adding gelatin and leaving it another 10 days. Crystal clear with fg of 995. I ended up jacking it to get a little more potency.
 

Subdivisions

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I use very cloudy fresh pressed cider.

I'll cold crash it when it gets to about 1.010 or so to keep some sweetness and clear a little before moving it into the keg and storing it cold on CO2. After that it'll be clear within a month. No enzymes, gelatin or secondary vessels (other than a keg) needed.

Try S-04 yeast for ciders. It's very drinkable right off the bat. Use yeast nutrient also. It keeps the H2S at bay and helps the yeast to have a healthy fermentation.
 

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I just use commercial apple juice. Skip all the expensive crap. Go buy some Motts. That stuff has TONS of sugar.
 

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Your plan sounds like a lot of work and there's only 2 weeks until Christmas! If it were mine, I would let that 5 gallons go until it clears and skip all the finings. I would also rack directly from primary to keg and skip the secondary. I've had good luck racking onto apple concentrate to backsweeten, but I'd be worried that 2 cans would sweeten it too much and cover up much of the dryness achieved during fermentation. You can always add more concentrate, but you can't take any out. Given your short timeframe, you could quick carb in 3 days by chilling for 24 hours, carb at 40psi for 24 hours, drop to 20psi for 24 hours, then drop to serving pressure. No need to shake. All that said, I have little time to mess with stuff so I aim for convenience. I love making hard cider - I hope yours turns out!
 
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JayTeeDee

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I went ahead and racked to Secondary in the Carboy last Sunday mainly to see how much the cider cleared up with the pectic enzyme drops. It worked well, still a little cloudy and not as clear as the one gallon batch but its definitely not as cloudy as it was coming out of the bottle. I took a small sample for tasting and it was dry but good. It tasted more like Andre Champagne than Apple Juice. I'm letting sit in the glass until Sunday to see how much more sediment drops off, it's already 'cleared" up a little more in the past few days. I know I know that I probably should age it longer for maximum clearing but I'm committed to my Christmas day cider. After the Carboy I'm going to go ahead and Keg add a can of Concentrated Apple Juice, Cold Crash it for 24 Hours then add the Gelatin for some more clarity then Let it Carb and see what happens.
 
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