I picked up some apples at Devoe's Orchard on December 23rd. I made cider using a dedicated garbage disposal to grind the apples and a nut filter bag to squeeze out the juice. This filled most of a 3-gallon carboy with fresh cider. I added an airlock. The next day I added cider yeast, which I activated first like I do with bread yeast, by mixing it with warm cider until it started foaming slightly. A week and a half later, fermentation had slowed and a thick pile of sediment sat at the bottom of the carboy. At this point I siphoned the cider to two secondary fermenters (a one-gallon and a half-gallon jug). I would swear that the cider already tastes a bit off, but it's too early to tell. I'm starting to think that the sediment itself is what makes my ciders go bad. Next time I need to:
- Make the cider and add sulfites
- Siphon the cider off the sediment before adding yeast
- Rack to secondary after a period of time to reduce the amount of contact with the sediment
I have several reasons to continue trying this. First, the fresh cider is really tasty and seems like a great starting point. Second, I had one amazing batch that I would love to reproduce. Lastly there is clearly a flaw in my process and I would love to finally figure out how to fix the flaw.
1/6/2017 - I bottled the cider. All equipment was soaked in a bleach solution and rinsed. I boiled a little honey and water to use to prime the bottles for carbonation. I had to use my mouth to start the siphon because the autosiphon doesn't fit into the smaller (1 gallon/0.5 gallon) jugs I was fermenting in. The bottling process went well, and I got a lot of crystal clear bottles filled. A few sucked up sediment, partly because of the wonky siphon. The cider tasted slightly metallic and boring, but not too bad. We'll see how it turns out in a few weeks.