I am on my second batch of cider. The first time I did 1 month in the primary, 4-5 months in the secondary, and another month in the bottle before I even touched the stuff.
I am short on space this time and I have had it in the primary for a month now and I am considering bottling. What are the pros/cons to finding the space to keeping this in a secondary for a few months before priming and bottling?
I think that if fermentation is done and it has cleared well, you should be fine for aging in the bottle.
If your not planning on allowing the cider to undergo MLF, bulk aging is just a personal preference.
The real question is, is it still fermenting? If it is, and you bottle too early, you could end up with gushers or bottle bombs – neither is a good thing. But if the cider has cleared and the final gravity is staying constant over the course of 4 or 5 days, not decreasing at all anymore, then you could be safe in bottling. It usually takes longer than one month. But it could happen.
I’ve experienced MLF before. It can take a super-sour cider down to virtually zero tartness at all, if you let it. MLF is an intermediate thing, I think. Beginning cider makers can skip worrying about it and still make fantastic cider.
Malo-lactic fermentation can be a great benefit when using higher acid varieties.