How I rack my cider without wasting good cider at the bottom

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Dec 26, 2022
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With an 18L carboy, even after secondary fermentation, I find there's a lot of lees at the bottom mixed in with about 1gal of cider. Partly because I'm constantly pumping my crappy autosiphon stirring up the settled yeast.

So what I do is I siphon off the clear cider pretty conservatively, then I just pour the rest into a 1 gal carboy, then let it settle again in the fridge.

Once it settles you can happily pour up and drink this stuff, leaving the real pure yeast sludge at the bottom, and get a bonus gallon of cider while your bottles carbonate 🍻
Two quick thoughts.
1. I'd start by making a batch larger than the batch I intend to bottle. The lees are then the sacrificial amount that is in the primary but when you rack, you completely fill the secondary right up into the neck.
2. The sediment and the lees you pour off into a tall and narrow vessel and refrigerate. After a few hours, the liquid will rise to the top and the lees will fall to the bottom. You can pour the liquid into a mason jar or wine bottles and use it in place of water for back sweetening. The lees you can either wash and salvage the yeast or simply use the lees as is to pitch as yeast for a Skeeter Pee.