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Cider fermenting! Now what?

LOL - Now that my two batches are up an bubbling… I have a few questions.

I have 5 gallons in 6 gallon carboys. Nice 1" of “foam” on top w/ a nice gentle bubble.

To know when fermentation is “complete” do I:

Wait for visual clues? No more foam - no more fermentation.

Specific gravity level?

1 month?

Then once this has happened - can I bottle - or put into secondary?


the answer you will find for any “is my fermentation done?” style questions is gonna be to take a gravity reading and be the judge yourself. From what I have read, ciders don’t cue as many visuals during fermentation like our traditional ale fermentations do…so let the science be the boss…

Fermentation is complete when specific gravity stops changing over the course of about a week. This typically takes 3 or maybe 4 weeks for cider, but the timeframe can vary wildly. Gravity will let you know when it’s done. It will typically finish around 0.995 if you just let it do its own thing. You can kill the yeast early if you want using sulfite and/or sorbate, while simultaneously racking to secondary. But all of that is optional. If you’re not sure what to do and when, your safest bet is to just let it go to completion, then backsweeten as desired.

Some good books have been written. My favorite is “Cider - Hard & Sweet” by Ben Watson. Pick up a book and you’ll get all sorts of good guidance to help you get started.

Hey Stout,

I think you and I are at about the same stage. Good luck to you!

dmtaylo2, my 5 gallons has been going for about a week now. I just measured the gravity and it’s already down to 1.000. Tasted it and it is really excellent. I was shocked at how good it tasted without back sweetening and only being in the carboy for a week.

My question to you is, why wait the 3-4 weeks if it’s already good? It’s still bubbling about every 2 seconds so there is obviously activity going on in there. I am thinking about killing it off since it tastes so darn good. I’d hate for it to keep going and end up too dry (although I like the dry taste).

I am really surprised, but I don’t know if carbonation is necessary. Do a lot of people just drink it without carbonating it? Or, am I a wack job? Also, do you think if I drank it before it finished itself out, that I would be tearing my guts apart due to the yeast carbon dioxide activity going on in there still?

See my reply on the other thread. If you drink some right now, I don’t think it’ll bloat your guts apart – it doesn’t harm my guts. And yeah, a lot of people drink it uncarbonated. You don’t have to make sure it’s carbonated. This is YOUR cider, so do whatever YOU like!

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