I need help understanding the order of steps..

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New Member
Jan 10, 2021
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Ok. So I already started 15 gallons of apple cider in several carboys and have begun racking to secondary. But I’m trying to figure out in what order I make amendments etc. Please let me know what’s what.

1. Finish primary fermentation (I already tested SG levels and it’s all below 1.010)
2. Add campden to primary, then rack? Or rack and then add campden to secondary?
- I want to stop fermentation, and then one carboy also got a few fruit flies yesterday somehow so I’m trying to zap that too. Tips??
3. Let sit for an amount of time before bottling? Or no?
4. Add adjustments to secondary, or rack again before adding?
- Like tannins/acid blend
- I want to play with the flavor, it’s not quite how I want it. I also want to make sure it’s totally pasteurized and stabilized before bottling.
5. Add fresh pasteurized juice or concentrate? Backsweeten with sugar?
-I want to boost the flavor and sweetness.
6. Let sit again? Or just bottle right away??
7. Add potassium metabisulphate to bottles to stabilize?
8. Cap bottles..

—Also when does priming sugar get added if any to help make it more carbonated? If that’s possible..


Well-Known Member
Dec 4, 2017
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Laar 49824 Germany
Campden suppresses fermentation, growth of fungi etc. only temporarily. Tannin/acid and sugars are usually added before fermentation starts as I understand it. I never do, I use a mix of organic apples and see what happens, usually works well. Having fruit flies in a carboy is imho a sign of an unhygienic modus operandi. If fruit flies get an opportunity to enter oxygen and fungi do as well. More than a little oxygen and cider = apple vinegar.
If you add sugar or juice (concentrate) fermentation will start again. Fermentation equals CO2 equals pressure build-up. So you will have to work out how much pressure your bottles can have and adjust the amount added or, if you want sweet cider, pasteurize as soon as the desired amount of CO2 is reached. Sorbitol is a non-fermenting sugar that can be added if you do not want more alcohol or carbon dioxide.


Supporting Member
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Apr 19, 2017
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Snowy Mountains, Australia
Yep, it can be a bit confusing when you first start making cider. There are all sorts of "recipes" on Dr Google etc, but the best advice I think, is to understand what you are trying to do and the processes behind it. Then you can make informed choices. It is a case of crawl before you walk by just making straight cider (so that you know what you are making) before trying to trick it up with adjustments, flavours, additives etc.

So, I would suggest that firstly you read and digest Yooper's sticky at the top of the forum. Then if you want to go a bit further, spend $30 or so on Claude Jolicoeur's book (The New Cidermaker's Handbook) and if you have an extra $30 or so, also buy Andrew Lea's book (Craft Cidermaking). Yes, they both cover a lot of the same stuff but also focus on different issues.

I follow a fairly simple process. Primary ferment in an open (but covered to keep the bugs out) container then transfer to secondary once the turbulent primary fermentation has ended (i.e. the initial foam settles... this is usually after a week or two and around SG 1.030).

I do use SO2 (Campden) for stopping wild yeast and pectinase for clearing the cider, but some others don't. Also I find that most apples don't need acidity or tannin adjustment if they aren't "eating" apples (but then I do press my own from my small orchard... Pomme de Neige, Balerina, Cox's Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Crimson Knight Crabs. Most of these are good for eating and cooking). I have made quite good cider from bought juice using a blend of Pink Lady for flavour and Granny Smith for tartness and acidity. You probably have similar apples in your area. Generally most apple juice has a SG of 1.050 to 1.060 for a natural ABV of 7-8% so extra sugar (or chaptalisation) isn't usually needed unless you want to boot the ABV.

For the secondary phase I use a container (carboy) under airlock with minimal air space and most of the primary trub left behind. During this phase you have two choices... let the cider fully ferment down to 1.000 then let it sit to mature. At this point I can add flavour, sugar for carbonation, bottle etc. The alternative is to bottle etc above 1.000 (say 1.015 for a sweet cider) then bottle and pasteurise to stop fermentation at your desired sweetness, carbonation level etc. Just do a forum search for whatever you are interested in. There is plenty of information and experience on the forum and typically you will find posts on choice of yeast, use of SO2 , pectinase, heat pasteurisation, adding fruit, tannin, hops, etc, etc.