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Ok so your ciders finished Fermenting what next?

Started by Ciderhead, December 07, 2012, 07:46:20 PM

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Maturation and Bottling

After the first racking the air-lock is re-fitted until it is clear that gas evolution has ceased, when the vessel should be topped up with water or cider and tightly closed. A second crop of yeast will be thrown as the cider settles down. The cider may remain in this state for several weeks or months, before a final racking to a closed container for bulk storage or directly into bottle. It is important that it should not sit for long on a heavy crop of yeast, because the dead yeast will 'autolyse' which tends to give unpleasant flavours. However, a small amount of autolysis from the second crop may be helpful, because this releases nutrients which stimulate maturation through the so-called 'malo-lactic' fermentation. This phenomenon is due to a specialised group of bacteria (Lactobacillus or Leuconostoc species) which convert the malic acid of the apple to lactic acid, giving off more carbon dioxide in the process. Often, this happens in the spring when the trees are flowering, giving rise to the notion that somehow the trees and the cider are working in sympathy! Generally the malo-lactic fermentation is to be welcomed, since it lowers the acidity and gives additional rounder smoother flavours, although in very low acid ciders it can reduce the acidity too far. In bittersweet ciders it produces characteristic 'spicy' notes (often detectable in ciders from Normandy). It may be recognised by the evolution of gas without renewed turbidity (if a yeast re-ferments a sweet cider it becomes cloudy because the yeast cells are so large (typically 10 microns). Malo-lactic fermentations, unless very heavy, tend to remain clear because the bacteria are so small (typically 0.5 microns).
The malo-lactic fermentation is difficult to produce at will although some strains of lactic bacterial cultures are now available commercially for use in the wine industry and can be used in cider. It may definitely be prevented by the additional use of sulphur dioxide at racking. Sometimes it reduces the acidity too far and sometimes the 'wrong' organisms take hold, producing other defects such as 'ropiness' (which will be covered in a later article). But if the original juice pH was no higher than 3.8, the chances are that this fermentation will be beneficial if it happens at all. Even if it does not, the cider will mature for several months as its flavour balance stabilises and the harsher notes are smoothed out by slow chemical and biochemical reactions.

However, ciders do not generally profit by extended ageing and by late spring or early summer the cider will be ready for bottling and drinking, or for a second racking into bulk store. The golden rule at this stage is to minimise air contact whenever the cider is handled - it is a matter of preference whether you wish to add sulphur dioxide (ca 50 ppm) to help with this, but in any case you should not exceed a total addition of 200 ppm SO2 to any cider when all additions at fermentation and bottling are summed up. A dry cider with no added sugar and sufficient alcohol should be quite stable in clean, closed and well-filled bottles, and should stand a minimal risk of any unwanted conversion to vinegar!


QuoteWhat's the story with SO2? Does anyone actually add that?

For long term preservation and really kill off any yeast perhaps, Its a personal choice and appropriate if you were keeping long term, At 6% presently and being drunk next spring and summer, that won't be a problem for me!


December 08, 2012, 04:49:46 PM #3 Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 05:08:10 PM by eoinlayton@hotmail
Aye, it's just like camden tablets. It kills unwanted bacteria and yeasts while keeping the wanted yeast alive and kicking.

thehomebrewcompany sell his : Sodium Metabisulphite 500g for EUR3.95

To make a 5% stock solution of sulphur dioxide, dissolve 10 grams of sodium metabisulphite in 100 ml of water.  Then 1 ml of this per litre of juice corresponds to 50 ppm (parts per million) of SO2.

Campden tablets are formulated with metabisulphite to give the equivalent of 50 ppm sulphur dioxide when each is dissolved in 1 gallon of liquid.

Juice PH                          - SO2 ppm                        - #camden tabs or ml of 5% stock solution per liter
above3.8                     - too high, add malic acid
3.8-3.5                       - 150                            - 3
3.5-3.3(balanced)         - 100                            -2
3.3-3.0                       - 50                             - 1
blow 3.0 (sharp)           - 0