The stuff at the bottom

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Apr 16, 2010
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Brooklyn, NY
My cider has been fermenting for about a week and there seems to be a layer of stuff at the bottom. When my cider is done fermenting, should I just mix the stuff with the rest of the cider or strain it out? Would it just be a matter of taste preference?

Thank you,
The stuff on the bottom is called "lees" and it's made up of spent yeast cells, particles of protein, perhaps some pectin, etc. You DON'T want it in your cider. After a while, it will actually start to rot. That's why you don't disturb the lees when you transfer the cider. You siphon (called "racking") with a sanitized siphon tube or a hard tube and some tubing from above this layer on the bottom of the fermenter. When you start to suck up the lees, you stop. When you bottle it, you can rack from the fermenter to a bottling bucket to make it easier.

You always siphon to transfer fermented liquids- allowing them to pour or splash will allow oxygen to interact with it, causing oxidation. That causes the cider to madeirize, or pick up flavors like sherry. It will ruin the cider.