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Step 10: Bottling

After you have left your cider for a few weeks, it will clear as the yeast settles, and it will be ready for bottling.  It may not be completely clear, but that doesn't really matter because it can clear in the bottle. 
For each wine size bottle, you will need to prime the bottles by adding just over half a teaspoon of sugar to each. This will restart the fermentation, but because it happens in a sealed bottle, the carbon dioxide released gets dissolved into the cider and creates pressure. When the bottle is opened later, the pressure is released, allowing the gas to esacpe, which creates the sparkle. 
You should use bottle designed to stand pressure such as bottles made for sparkling wine.  Seal your bottles with corks and champagne wire cages.  You can use beer bottles with crown corks, but this needs a special tool.
 

<p>Hey, how much of the sodium metabisulphite do you add to the juice? I'm making my first attempt to this cider business some time soon and I was wondering if too much or too little would be bad..? I read somewhere that it could be poisonous if taken orally, so I'm guising too much isn't good. What ratio do you use? Thanks!</p>
<p>The sodium metabisulphate that releases sulphur dioxide is not something to ear, but is not anywhere near seriously poisonous for the sort of contact you make in cider making. The gas itself is irritant to your lungs (never try sniffing the powder - you'll get a nasty shock!)<br></p><p>I don't worry to much. I use about a third of a teaspoon in 5 gallons. Don't use loads and loads or it will taste vile</p><p><br>You can get something called camden tablets that are mainly sodium metabislphate. the advantage is they are easy to use s you use one per gallon.</p>
I've got the Campden tablets, going to give it a go this weekend (:<br><br>Quick question: I've got this old water bottle (8L), can I use this?<br>I'm going to get a carboy (?) bottle but I can't seem to find one that isn't really expensive... So I thought maybe I can use this till I got a subsitute. <br><br>Thanks for replying so fast by the way (:
<p>that was meant to say not something to EAT, by the way!</p>
Hi. Im looking to make about 5litres for my first attempt. Does the size of the fermentation bucket matter? ie will it be a problem if I ferment 5litres in a 10 litre bucket?
<p>Hi, sorry for taking ages to reply. It is best to ferment in large amounts (like 10+ litres, preferably 25 litres) as the temperature is much more stable, BUT it works fine in smaller containers as long as you keep it somewhere consistently warm.<br><br>If you have 5 litres, you could use a demi-john (about a gallon,/ 5 litres)</p><p>If you use a container that is much bigger than the liquid in it, there is a risk of more air getting in. You might get some oxidisation where the liquid goes a deeper amber or reddy-brown. In the worst case, scenario, allowing too muich air in can let too much airborne yeasts and bacteria get in.</p><p>You should be OK, as long you get it started woth a strong yeast. The CO2 it gives off will form a protective gas layer above the juice. Yeast needs some oxygen I beklieve to reproduce at th e beginning too</p>
Thanks for the reply. While you were responding i have decided to make 10litres as ive got my hands on some more apples. When i ferment the liquid then transfer to new container should the level be just below lid of container to minimise air space?
<p>Hi - good plan and yes the short answer is that you are right - the gap between cider surface and lid should be as small as possible</p><p>Long answer is:<br>You should always be thinking about risk of spoilage (can ruin it) and oxidation (can change the taste and colour). The general air around us may have micro-organisms in it. and the juice you initially press will have loads of them in it. It will also have air in it. Fermentation gets rid of both.</p><p>The initial sterilisation of the juice is all about killing off those potentially ruinous microbes. Yeast not only makes alcohol from sugar, it also crowds out and eliminates most other micro-organisms, stopping spoilage. </p><p>Yeast breeding and fermenting also uses up all the oxygen in the juice (stopping oxidation and browning) </p><p>So, after fermentation, if you never take the lid off, then the cider should stay stable and not go off because the years has killed off the micro-competition, used up the oxygen and produced CO2 which sits on top of the cider</p><p>Whenever you lift the lid, and even more so when you transfer the cider, some new air gets in and you always risk new microbes getting in. </p><p>So, it is always best to have as little air above the finished cider so that the risk is as low as it can be. </p><p>If you sterilise AFTER fermentation, then you reduce the risk, but can't make it fizzy in the bottle.</p><p>Handy tip - when you transfer the cider, always siphon it with the outlet end UNDER the surface. Don't let the cider pour into the new container from above causing bubbles or you will get loads of air dissolving in your cider and it will oxidise much more.<br><br>Hope all that makes sense!</p>
<p>Hello Rosemary. We don't use any pesticides with our trees. What about the worms? I guess they need to be cut out during the first steps, or can you recommend a &quot;best practice&quot;? </p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>If you don't use pesticides, then that is good. The health risks from that are far more dangerous than the odd worm. Even if you ate a maggot, it would be extremely unlikely to do you any harm at all.</p><p>To be honest, I don't worry about worms at all. If you have loads of apples, then checking out each one individually is a lot of work. I don't consider the worms themselves a problem. They can cause apples to rot by making holes in them by which germs get in, but it is the rot (especially any vinegar bacteria which will turn alcohol into vinegar) I just reject any apples that are obviously gone bad and are rotten. If you only include good looking apples and sterilise the juice, then you should be fine. </p><p>I chuck the bad apples away when collecting and for any that I miss once I have got the haul back, they go on the compost heap.</p>
Thanks for the reply, were would you buy an appropriate yeast for cider?<br>
Would store bought juice be alright to use?
<p>Hi. </p><p>Yes it can be used. I've actually used diluted concentrated squash (cordial) before now. Not exactly classy, but OK if you are just makign a punch base for a party or something</p><p>Here's what to know/ponder...:</p><p>- Any apple juice can be fermented, whether pressed or bought.</p><p>- Shop bought juice is obviously usually going to be much more expensive than pressing your own apples, but the quality of the juice will be very reliable</p><p>- With shop bought juice one thing to watch out for is preservatives. If it has been heated treated (pasteurised) it should be fine.</p><p>- If sulphur dioxide has been used to preserve it, it may be tricky to get the yeast started. Sulphur dioxide is there to inhibit yeast and other micro-organisms. - Check the label!</p><p>- if it is sulphurised, then it will still work, but you may need to bear some air into the juice before the start. If you do this (and cover loosely to keep out vinegar flies), two things happen</p><p>1. the sulphur dioxide tends to be released making the juice more likely to be OK for your yeast</p><p>2. the oxygen in the air you beat in helps your yeast breed in the early stages of fermentation. This beting in should be done even if the juice is heat treated</p>
<p>Hello Rosemary, I'm a total novice, and have simply juiced my apples and left it in a large container for a month. I had a smaller bottle which I have tried and it tastes like beautiful sparkling apple juice, (very fizzy!) I haven't opened the 25 litre container yet...as I'm not sure what I could do next. I have bought campden tablets and cider yeast...? Is there anything I can do to make this more alcoholic at this late stage? </p><p>I didn't add anything or interfere in any way.. :) Many thanks! </p>
Hello,<br><br>first of all, we all all novices initially, so good on you for having a go!<br><br>You say you have left the raw juice for a month without any treatment. This is risky in that it can spoil, but you could br fine. All apples have traces of yeasts and other organisms on them and so can ferment or spoil depending on which ones take hold.<br><br>If your smaller bottle is a bit fizzy and tastes OK, then you probably are OK. It will be fermenting with wild yeast, I suspect. The main thing to check for is whether it is really vinegary. If so, then it is spoiled as far as alcoholic cider is concerned (although you can probably use it as cider vinegar).<br><br>For the big load of juice, if it tastes Ok, then you have two main choices. You can:<br><br>1. just add a new yeast culture to it and let it ferment, keeping covered, etc<br>2. sterilise it, then add a new yeast culture.<br><br>The first option will probbaly work, but there is some risk of spoilage. Having said that, if it was going to spoil it probably would have noticeably done so after a month, so it might be fine<br><br>The second option will kill off any spoilage organisms tha may be there, but not yet got hold. This is good, but you need to be careful with your new yeast that the sterilising doesn't leave too much sulphur which stops it getting started.
Thanks for the advice. We got it out and it does taste like cider. Very cloudy and not so fizzy. We decided to add the sachet of yeast and a few teaspoons of sugar to get it going in the right direction. It's not vinegary at all so that looks promising? Tastes quite strong to be honest but I don't have a method of testing yet.... we put the lid back on with the air lock. <br>I'm not as keen to add the campden tablet, what is your opinion on adding sulphites or just leaving be... ? Will the cloudiness clear when ready? <br>We're also not that keen on sterilising as it takes away the raw, unprocessed fun I guess (and the ease!).. I rather suspect it will be drunk quite quickly...I will invest in a hydrometer now!<br>Thank you again for all the advice!
Either way, You have nothing to lose. Try it and see what happens. It will probably work. It may be slightly rough as you have left it for quite a while, but it could well be good. It's like cooking. You can get lucky and cook a fab cake first time, you might burn it completely, but most likely, it will be satisfactory and you'll be better next time - good luck :)
<p>Rosemary I've left my cider fermenting for 8 days now. It has stopped bubbling just in the last couple days and I've just measured it with a hydrometer and it's 1.010. However, I tasted it as you suggested to see if it was too acidic and bitter and although it is quite bitter and so I plan to use calc calb, it also tastes quite weak .. The taste together with the specific gravity of 1.010 would indicate to me that maybe there wasn't enough sugar to begin with (I didn't know to take a reading before fermentation), what do you think? Temperature through fermentation had been so-so. I'm guessing maybe I should add some sort of sugar/yeast/water starter and referment for another week? Or am I simply reading too much into this? Thank you in advance again ?</p>
<p>Oh I used only Bramley apples </p>
<p>Bramleys - yes will be acidic. I am not sure how strong that will be. If you don't have an original gravity reading (OG), you can't really tell. I'd be inclined to add some sugar as you suggest. The yeast should perk up again. Normally adding any calcium carbonate is best done early one or you can get a chalky taste. You may get away with it. Yeast like a reasonably amount of acid. </p><p>If you have a large amount, consider splitting it and trying two variations. You might find one works better than the other, which spreads the risk and can help when trying it next time, to see what works and doesn't</p>
Could you give me an idea of how much sodium metabisulphite and yeast and carboante to add per gallon? Thank you! Just about to try this ?
<p>I am quite loose on measurment, but half a teaspoon of sodium metabisulphite is probably the moast you need. For yeast, ths comes in sachets and each one will easily do 5 gallons</p>
Thank you! My cider has been fermenting a week and just about to add carbonate. All going well.
Oh - and I made the press from your pictures - works a treat but I think I'll make something more sturdy for next year - the manual car jack press is very time consuming and not ideal for the amount of apples I had to get thru!!!
Excellent. I would tend to agree that it can be time consuming. I have contemplated using a washing machine before now. The spin and drain function could work (or even an old spin dryer)<br><br>I found the really labourious part was chopping the fruit, more than pressing it. I use a sharpened stainless steel spade, but there must be some sort of power tool that could be adapted. One of those roadside tarmac compacters would be good, but possibly OTT!!!<br>
<p>I use a sledgehammer (with plastic bag taped round the head) and just drop in on the apples in a sturdy bucket - makes short work of it! </p>
<p>hi i am about to make the cider however was wondering could i hold the finished cider in a 1 gallon carboy </p>
Oh - and I made the press from your pictures - works a treat but I think I'll make something more sturdy for next year - the manual car jack press is very time consuming and not ideal for the amount of apples I had to get thru!!!
Ok - great thread. So I've now crushed and pressed my apples and got 1 gallon short of 50 gals , can I add a gallon of boiled water to top it up ? Does the water damage it in any way?
<p>Thanks for the instructable! I've followed the first few steps without problem but would like some clarification about bottling. I added the yeast about a week ago (step 8) and it has stopped bubbling now. Should I bottle it now (step 10) or should I leave it a bit longer?</p>
<p>If you wish to DOUBLE the strength.. re ferment.! i.e: add 1kg of sugar (or dextrose) and approx. 10g of yeast to mix, stir in thoroughly and RESEAL.. The tightness of the seal is paramount..along with using an AIRLOCK..No bad bacteria allowed into your mix.. Here's a pic of an airlock I made..</p>
<p>Hi I would like to start making cider, I have loads of apples on my tree and I'm hoping cider making is easy the only thing is I have no idea what to do I have never brewed beer, wine, made Apple juice or anything like that , so can you help me with a step by step guide of what to do and what I will need ( I don't really want to spend a lot of money if possible) </p><p>Thank you </p><p>Caroline v </p>
Great, that's what this Instructable is. Have a go and post some pics or something of how it went. It is simple and very cheap
<p>Thanks for the great idea of the cider press Rosemarybeetle! This year we seem to have so many apples that even after canning, freezing, eating them, feeding them to the goats and giving them away; we still to haven't made a dint in the amount we have on the trees. Anyway after finding your link to how easy I can make a temporary press from a car jack (In the winter I plan to made something more permanent if this is successful of course ) Anyway after reading about your cider press I also stumbled on your actually receipe for cider and this also looks simple to the novice that I am so plan to attempt this at the weekend and see how we go. Thanks again for sharing this.</p>
<p>Hey, that's great. Go for it. Really glad if it has helped :)</p><p>I've used parts from office chairs before too (the ones that have a steel screw to adjust height) - not quite as good but they work. </p><p>I like Cider-making as it is really so easy to make and super cheap. The only other essential is yeast.</p>
thats why here in aus it's legal to brew beer and wine but not distill alcohol fenris is because most of the blind and death situations were due to illegal bootlegging not from brewing cider, beer or wine mate i brew beer like most australians and yeah have had a few infected brews but worst case was a taste that you wont like not blindness or death stop trying to ridicule home brewing it's a safe and fun thing that most people that drink be it wine or beer should have a go at !!!!!!!
<p>Comments:<br>Legal or not, it isn't a good idea to hit higher alcohol levels than wine .. 10% to 15%. re: apple jack. Do not use freeze distillation of you want to get above 20% ABV .as you approach 40% it gets really dangerous. .Just don't try. although 'legal' in some countries .. it is not recommended because the bad alcohols get concentrated. You can read about it. It can also give you an intense hangover in the short term, and wood alcohol problems in the long term. Also, I've read a lot about apple brandy. Even if you know what you are doing, and get something safe to drink, homebrewers who tried it report that it surprisingly tastes like grain alcohol .. tastes like everclear tm..Initially it is indeed 'shine' It is probably 10 to 100 times harder to get something good tasting when trying to make apple brandy than doing the wine.. First you must make the wine, then you must distill it, then You have to add the right ingredients and age it for a few years usually in an oak barrel.</p>
<p>Hi rosemarybeetle,</p><p>Firstly, thanks for sharing your knowledge and advice reading through the comments has got me excited to begin my first brew. I have a couple of questions... </p><p>We have bought a couple of glass bottles from Ikea that have the swing top seal, like the Grolsch lager bottles. Do you think these will be sturdy enough when bottling and hopefully won't explode?</p><p>Also, once (and if) successful, is there any simple methods to gauge the abv of the brew without obviously consuming and seeing what happens? :)</p><p>Many thanks</p>
<p>1. Abv .. get a hydrometer and measure before and after fermentation. Inexpensive, about $10 usd.</p><p>2. Ikea will have to tell you if those bottles can sustain pressure. Your beer/wine store or online can sell you bottles with the swing top that can sustain pressure .. or bottles and caps. etc. They are fun and reusuable</p><p>3. if you do get too much sugar in your cider, the bottle will blow up. It really can be dangerous and certainly messy. A very good way to avoid this is as she mentioned, store in a cool to cold location. The cooler, the less yeast activity. Or, you can kill the yeasts before bottling. If you put your bottles say in a root cellar, some people put the bottles in a box in case of accidents. </p><p>4. There is much good info below this post. </p><p>enjoy!</p>
<p>Love this... I was just kind of winging it in making cider this year (for the first time).... It's in a carboy with an airlock, really beautiful color and it's now stopped fermenting... I needed instruction on how to finish it! Thanks</p>
<p>How much sodium metabisulphite needs to be added to the juice? </p>
<p>How much sodium metabisulphite needs to be added to the juice? </p>
<p>Hi, this is my first time making cider. My problem started at the pressing stage, it took quite a time (over a few days) . I added the yeast clearing powder and left for about 36 hours ! Then I added the yeast for fermenting but nothing seems to have happend . Can I start fermenting again or have I left the pressing too long .</p>
hi. you might get way with it. before anything else keep it covered to stop flies getting in.<br>you need a new yeast starter. get half a pint of warm water add 2 teaspoons sugar and some yeast (cider yeast is best but any brewing yeast should work)<br>put it im a warm place and give it 2-3hours to grt going. then stir that into thd juice. your fermentation needs to be in a reasonably warm place.<br>try it. it may just work. <br>Good luck!
<p>hello, im having a second attempt at the cider making, last years didn't go well! iv read somewhere that you need to fill your fermentation bucket full once the yeast has started to work its magic, else the air contact will ruin the cider, is this correct? any help greatly appreciated!</p>
<p>Hi! Have you tried aging any of your cider, and if so for how long? Have you tried back-sweetening any of your batches? Keep brewing!</p>
<p>Hi, Just wondering if I can use plastic bottles as pressure vessels, don't want to risk the glass bottles breaking!</p>
<p>Hi there. yes, as long as they are bottles designed for pressure (in other words fizzy drinks bottles) They can still burst though. A friend of mine blew a hole in her ceiling when a plastic bottle blew its cap off. </p><p>The best way to be sure is to use a hydrometer to keep an eye on the fermentation. Alternatively, a cider that has stopped visibly fermenting and has been left for another week is very unlikely to ferment much more.</p><p>Finally, if you add camden tablets of a small amount of sodium metabisulfate after the fermentation, it will eliminate this risk, but you will have still cider (which is OK. I like still cider)</p><p>Never bottle when the fermentation is bubbling actively.</p><p>hope that helps</p>
Hi, I pressed my cider a week ago, sterilised everything and added sodium metabisulphite to it, then cider yeast I got online. Should I see the fermenting process happening in the containers yet? I have left it in my kitchen, which can be a little cold. <br>Thanks :0) <br>

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