Help for a Newbie

Hello, am hoping i can get some info from those more experience.

I have a bit of experience in brewing beer and wine. Was heavy into all grain beer about 15 years ago but have not done much since. Have done some wine recently and now interested in trying my hand and cider.

I have a pretty good set up, all the basics plus filter, gear for forced carbonation and counter pressure filling what i’m lacking is knowledge. Don’t have dedicated fridge for brewing but have one that runs about 40 - 45 F, that i can use.

Have spent sometime looking around the forum and, wow do you folks have some great knowledge. I have not figured out all the terminology yet so fogive me (and correct me) if i misstate something.

What i’m looking to do is make a 5 gal batch of apple cider with bottled apple cider (no additavies). Will adjust the OG to 1.055 with apple concentrate. Want to ferment to about 1.0005. Will back sweeten to taste. The force carbonate and bottle.

So here are the list of questions/issues:

  1. for primary fermentation will be about 65 F. My question is, when i get to the gravity i want can i use my buno vista filter with medium pad to pull out the yeast. If so will filtration have a significant impact on body? Also would it be better to rack, use gelatin to drop the yeast out then let sit for a few weeks before filtering? Basically, when is the best time to filter and what is the impact of filtering at different times?
  2. aging, lots of different perspectives on this ranging from 4 weeks to a year or more. Is there an average time for aging? Agian was looking at keeping it at about 65 F in secondary.
  3. sulfites, bentonite, sorbate - if filtering are these still a good idea?

Looking forward to sharing results, nice if we could share products, thanks in advance for any advise.

Wow, if you’ve got a filtration system, then you should be in great shape. I have no experience filtering but I can just imagine how wonderful that would be. In that case…

  1. At the time your specific gravity hits 1.005-1.007, I would filter the cider, chill, and you should probably be all set, I would think!

  2. Age is not kind to cider. As soon as it tastes good, with no sulfury aroma or flavor, and carbonated to your liking, you can drink it right away. It will keep for a year, but there’s no need to age it at all. Unlike wine, hard cider can be consumed fresh.

  3. Sulfite and sorbate will probably be optional with filtering, but might be helpful. It wouldn’t hurt to use them if you’re not sure. I doubt you’ll need bentonite, but again, it wouldn’t hurt anything.

Best of luck to you!


A medium filter pad won’t pull out any significant amount of yeast. It is for relatively fine particulates that stubbornly stay suspended in wine and seem to resist clearing naturally. To filter out yeast, you need a sterile filter (0.45 microns or finer). Back when I owned a Buon Minijet the company didn’t sell sterile filters, and I’m guessing they still don’t, as I can imagine the customer service nightmare that would happen as casual hobby winemaker constantly got their filters clogged because they didn’t follow the rules for using such a fine filter.

So you will have to use the sulfite/sorbate to stabilize even if you do filter. But there is little chance of getting flavors stripped by a filter, so there is no penalty in doing it. Just make sure to rinse and sanitize the filter pads very well first to avoid picking up papery flavors. As for the time to use the filter, you can do so with a course pad as soon as fermentation has ended, then follow up immediately with a medium pad. Or if it was me, I’d wait till the cider was settled out and stabilized first and skip the course pad.

I’ve found that sulfite and sorbate work better if the fermentation has already completed, you’ve given the yeast some time to settle out, and have racked the cider off the yeast first. If you are in a hurry, gelatin will speed the settling out process, though I personally have never been in such a rush. And while Dave is right that cider won’t really improve with aging the way wine will, if it is stabilized and protected with sulfite, it will last several years while maintaining it’s flavor and freshness. Make sure you add some additional sulfite right before filtering, as the cider will be exposed to oxygen from the filtering process, and you want to protect it.

So except for the part about stopping fermentation before the yeast thinks it is done, and relying on the filter for stability, I think you have a very good plan.

Thanks for the info. Appreciate it. Likely will start my batch this weekend.
Look forward to sharing results.

Been doing some more hunting on the fourm and came across a process refered to as cold shock. I understand the concept but not some of the details.
Hoping again that can pick up some insight from those with experience.

  1. if cold shocking, would it be better to do it in the primary when close to the desired gravity, then rack once the yeast drops out, or is it better to rack then cold shock.
  2. once racked to secondary after cold shocking is aging better kept cold (40 F) or cool (65 F)
    Thanks agian, bought my juice today and will be starting on the weekend.

Cold shocking sounds like it could be something that would help, at the very least it should help the cider clear faster and lock in some of the natural sweetness, but be aware that there are some risks with it as well.

It takes some hours for the yeast to truly go dormant, and if they are at the height of activity, you can see a noticeable drop in gravity between when you put the cider in the cold and it becomes stable. Exactly how much is hard to guess.

The yeast will go dormant when chilled, and most will flocculate to the bottom of the tank, so you can rack off them. But most is not all, and once the cider warms up there may be enough left in suspension to start fermentation again.

So unless you plan to keep the cider cold until you drink it, I would still recommend you use the sulfite and sorbate - or sterile filter.

Since you would have to rack after cold shocking to remove the flocculated yeast, I’m not sure if there would be any benefit to racking before the cold shock as well.

I personally find you get the best process repeatability and reliability by letting the yeast finish, then back sweetening. But I know not everyone want to add more sugar at the end.


Well its been about a month and i’ve got my first batch of cider done. It turned out pretty well. Will share details.

18 X 1.36 lt Royal gala apple juice
2 Tbsp Malic acid
1 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pack Lalvin EC1118 yeast
S.G. = 1.050

Left in primary fot 7 days at about 20 C
S.G. = 1.002

Put in fridge overnight, racked to secondary
Added 3/4 tsp metabisulfite
Added 2 1/2 tsp sorbate
Left in secondary for another week at 20 C

Racked to Conelius Keg
Added 600 ml frozen apple juice concentrate plus 500 ml invert sugar

Chilled to 4 C and force carbonated to 2.8 volumes of CO2 (20 psi)

Bottled in 500 ml PET.

Turned out very well. Only thing i would change is likely would add less malic acid. Did not filter so there is a bit of sediment in the bottle, no biggy.

Thanks for all the assistance.

Cant wait to start my next batch.