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making hard cider in barrels

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columbian

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I've fermented plenty of hard cider in gallon jugs, but will have the opportunity to do a BIG batch this fall.

I'd like to use wooden barrels, but there are so many questions. Just for openers:

* what kind of barrel is best?

* how do i rack or otherwise get the good cider off the yeast dregs?

* Do I just use the barrel to ferment, or can I also age the cider there and bottle it as needed?

* how do I get the cider into the barrel and seal it?

* Do I use one of those wooden spigots to drain the cider, and if so, why do I always see the spigot near the bottom of the barrel so close to where the yeast dregs settle?

Can anyone help me with this?
 

PAC762

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It's my understanding that some orchards sell fresh cider by the barrel during harvest time. People buy 50 gallons already in the barrel and either let the natural yeast go at it, or stabalize and pitch their choice of yeast. I don't think people are racking except to bottle/keg.
 
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