Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wines I'm Making: Hard Cider--Second Racking (February 25, 2013)

Yesterday, I racked the hard cider I'm making--the second racking ("racking" refers to taking the liquid off the lees and transferring it to a new container, part of the process of using gravity to clear it of sediment). I siphoned the liquid off the rather fluffy deposit at the bottom of the container and into a new, clean container. The first time I racked the cider I had to top up the vessel with nearly a pint of new liquid. I used fresh apple juice, which added sugar back that subsequently began to ferment again. That activity had mostly stopped.

This time, I filled the gap at the top of the container with finished local cider (only a small amount was required). I suspect I will have to rack my cider once more to get it completely clear, but it's mostly there. As the days have been a little warmer recently, I'll be watching for signs of ongoing fermentation, but I think it's mostly finished. After the final racking, I will bottle the cider and dose it with a touch of sugar to induce a final fermentation in the bottle, which should give it a little effervescence. I've never tried in-bottle fermentation before and never closed bottles with crown caps, but I will rely on the good guidance of the people at our local wine, beer, mead, cider, and cheese-making supply store, The Beverage People. Having just harvested about 60 pounds of honey from our (sadly dead) beehive, I may try making mead next.

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