I juiced the apples into a bottling bucket then hit it with campden tablets for 24 hours.
Transferred off of the sludge at the bottom into the 5-gallon glass carboy.
Using the bottling bucket to take the juice off and leave behind the sludge worked well.
- Over time, the sediment at the bottom gradually built up
Up til now it looked very cidery, but as of yesterday it has really started to clear
I transferred the good stuff to the 3-gallon glass carboy, smooth operation. I transferred the remainder to a 1-gallon jug and ended up slurping up some sludge before I stopped, so that one is definitely flawed. The sludge had some of the old smell of my bad ciders - it will be interesting to see - is that just how sludge smells? Or does that mean the cider is like that too? The good news is I got it off the sludge very quickly, much better than during previous attempts.
There is still a tiny bit of bubbling from the 3-gallon carboy and the 1-gallon jug. The growler (which had the juice poured from the bottom with a lot of initial sediment/sludge) had stopped fermenting. I sterilized equipment/bottles. I added a half a tablespoon of priming sugar to two 20 oz bottle (I think that’s the size of the small liftgate bottles or whatever you call them) and made a clean pour into one bottle from the growler and the second bottle got a very sedimenty pour. So I have two bottles that can sit and prime. I also poured myself a tall glass. How is it? It has some of the terrible taste that my brews always have. This isn’t quite the taste - but almost a metallic taste. Tastes a bit like poison. So the sedimenty ferment came out bad - despite having everything go as planned (except for the fact that it had a lot of starting sediment). It will be interesting to taste the others and see if they are any better.
UPDATE: The cider has a bit of the bad taste, but not nearly as bad as my worst batches (C7). And it didn’t cause me to feel poisoned. So I think it’s drinkable. Not bad. Not ideal but not bad.
C8: From the gallon jug I filled 6 flip top bottles and most of 1 750ml tree house bottle. The bottles were preloaded with bottling sugar, about 1/2TBSP per bottle with a little bit of water. The last 750 was definitely the most sedimenty, and it actually didn’t taste too bad. The process went badly - the makeshift funnel I made didn’t work, so I ended up using a not-very-sanitary funnel from the kitchen. Which would also get some oxygen into the cider. Oh well. Good learning lesson for bottling the carboy in a day or two. 2 20oz bottles came out crystal clear. The other 4 were cloudy. I’ll label them - c8 for the 2 non-cloudy ones, and c8x for the cloudy ones.
I waited a few days longer than intended to bottle the 3 gallon carboy. I bottled straight from the carboy which worked well. I tried to use ½ TBSP of priming sugar for each bottle. There was a maybe 2mm layer of sediment in the carboy. The autosiphon worked well. I tasted a small glass. It tasted somewhat plain, but no significant hint of anything funky!!! It’s good!! Capped ‘em.
These notes seem to suggest that the off flavors come from sitting on the sediment. So getting the timing perfect for racking is crucial! I think it was good that I went 6 gallon bucket->5 gallon carboy->3 gallon carboy (maybe a bigger carboy would be better).
I cracked open an old c9 from the basement. It had next to no sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It had a really nice carbonation. Smells good and appley. The flavor of the cider is still a little bit off. Not terrible, but has a sort of almost bitter dryness to it, that coats the mouth almost like tannins.
I tried the last c8. It was in a flip top bottle. It had awesome carbonation. But tastes like hard core poison.
I enjoyed another c9. It was pretty good! Probably a 7/10. Just like the last one, great carbonation, color, and aroma. The flavor is a little bit of "this" when you'd prefer a little bit of "that". But otherwise enjoyable.