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When should I rack it?

So got 10 gallons in 2 carboys. Fermenting it with wyeast sweet mead. Pasteurized the cider and added about 4 pounds of honey for extra fermentation.

Next step is going to be racking it, but I have been reading a number of different suggestions for when the best time to do this is.

It seems most people do this at about 2-3 weeks, when fermentation has significantly slowed and sediment has settled. Others say to do it at a certain gravity, others say after a week, etc.

When do people here usually rack their cider, or is it that necessary to rack it? Do some of you skip racking and just go straight to bottling, then let it bottle condition for another month?

I think I’m going to bottle half of it still and carbonate the other half.

If you want it to stay as sweet as possible, then rack it when specific gravity hits around 1.020, something like that. The sweet mead yeast is better about quitting sweet than other yeasts, as long as it’s racked at the right time. Even after racking, the gravity will continue to decrease into the 1.010s or thereabouts before fermentation quits completely.

If you don’t care about sweetness, then you can let the cider go for a month before racking, and it might get down around 1.010 or even lower – hard to say.

Landed wisdom says that you don’t want to leave a fully fermented cider on its lees for more than 4 weeks, as you risk creating off flavors from the dead yeast. However, letting the cider remain on the lees after fermentation can encourage malolactic fermentation, if that’s something you want. I shoot for the middle, letting fermentation finish and waiting about 2-3 weeks before racking.

I try to rack my ciders as close to 1.020 as well.

I’ll be checking the gravity after a week and see where we are.

Checked after 10 days and we are at 1.04. OG was 1.07ish, so it’s coming along nicely.

I guess I just don’t understan this racking thing…Can someone shed for light on it for me…
maybe my skull is too damn thick…How I do mine is wait until I think it is done working then siphon it into another jug and wait another two weeks befor putting in bottles…Is this basicly the same as racking? Please help this old country boy…Johnny

Its the same thing. But, it is usually racked sooner than the completion of fermentation.

So I did my first racking last night. both were at approximately 1.02 as suggested. How long do people usually age before bottling?

And here’s how we look post-racking.

Now let it sit until it’s done. Might finish at 1.005, might finish at 0.992, or anywhere in between. If it starts fermenting too fast, rack it a second time.

How do I know if it is done fermenting then or if it is going too fast?

Check gravity every 5 to 7 days or thereabouts. If it falls by more than about 0.003 in that time then it is fermenting quite fast IMO. But once it gets to the point where gravity isn’t changing at all from week to week, then you’ll know it’s done fermenting.

Ciders are fermenting at two different rates. One has only dropped to 1.017, the other is at 1.01. Not too worried about it though. In fact, it will probably be kind of cool to bottle one drier and one sweeter.

So one is definitely fermenting much faster than the other. This week one is at 1.006, the other has only dropped to 1.015. I want both to be sweeter, so I’m going to bottle the first one probably tomorrow (weather is keeping me from bottle caps currently).

I’m wondering if I need to worry about how slow the second one is going? The first one had a change of about .005 per week, wheras the second one is only changing by about .001 per week. I dunno.

I’m thinking about bottling the first one ASAP and giving the other one a week. My wife likes the sweeter one better anyway, so having one that is sweeter won’t be that bad, since my OG was about .075, it has plenty of alcohol for a cider.

I would not bottle until they have finished.

I, too, would not bottle either one yet. I would rack the fast-fermenting one again AND add a dose of sorbate to stun the yeast and slow them down to a crawl to preserve a little sweetness. But you still need to wait for fermentation to completely stop before bottling. On the slower fermenting one, I’d consider racking again but probably wouldn’t add sorbate quite yet as it’s already going pretty slow. Maybe it will stop on its own in another couple weeks.


Checked both yesterday and neither had moved, so I bottled today.

Its my first time making hard cider so im doing a back woods 1 gal batch with a cup of sugar and bread yeast i dont have a hydrometer and i was wondering if i should rack at 1 or 2 weeks for clarity. I am also wanting it to be semi sweet any suggestions.

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