Step 6: Carbonation

In beer/cider making, when fermentation is done you rack it to a secondary bottle for carbonation but that takes more time and equipment.  I go the easy route and force carbonate the cider. I built myself a carbonator similar to this one:

You've got three weeks until your cider is done, this should be your in between project. They are very handy, you can make your own sodas, you can re-carbonate flat soda, they really do pay for themselves.

I bought a 20lb CO2 tank at a swap meet for $10 and it had a regulator. I traded that tank in for a new full tank for another $30. I bought a cheap air compressor kit from Harbor Freight

Another thing you will need is a carbonation cap that fits a 2 liter bottle.
Here is a good video of how to make a carbonation cap.
I'm new at this but should all the yeast be at the bottom?
The yeast can float around while it's fermenting, but most will be at the bottom. When you put it in the fridge, everything with drop to the bottom.
<p>I'm doing my first hard ciders using your recipe. From my research, it <br>seems that the results should be kept refrigerated? The yeast is not <br>dead but just asleep due to cold shock and racking? In other words, more<br> would need to be done to bottle this recipe like pasteurization or <br>chemicals to kill the yeast for sure, correct?</p>
Yes, when it's done, keep it refrigerated. I refrigerate the cider and rack to a new container when the yeast drops out. There's still going to be some yeast in there and they will be a little active in the fridge. I've noticed that after I let the cider age 6 months to a year, the yeast that's left over actually carbonates it nicely. I've never bottled it in glass, if you do, you want some yeast in there for carbonation. If you force carbonate, you don't need the yeast but they won't hurt anything. It'll be an extra step to get rid of them.<br>Good Luck.
Seems that's the hardest part of all that probably will be just experience that will tell. I don't know if I can wait 6 months to a year, but maybe eventually. :-)<br>When you say &quot;when the yeast drops out&quot;. What are the symptoms of that? I'm assuming the bubbling will be almost stopped?<br>Is it your experience that this particular recipe is dry, sweet, semi? I've got four 1-gal. batches going; two with S-04 and two with M02 cider yeast. I guess this is my biggest confusion as to whether to wait til it's &quot;done&quot;, but then will it be too dry? I don't care for dry cider. Or should I start checking SG after about two weeks, maybe tasting as I go?<br>Thanks for getting back to me and thanks for the recipe. <br><br>Jeff
<p>Once you refrigerate it, all the yeast will drop to the bottom. It makes it easy to move the cider to a new container. Most of the bubbling will have stopped. My recipe is semi-sweet even after sitting in the fridge for a year. If you let them ferment longer than 3 weeks, then it will get dryer as the yeast eat the sugar. Taste it in 3 weeks or earlier, if it tastes good, you're done. If the sweetness is good but it tastes a little bitter or has an off flavor, that's when you need to let it age in the fridge. Fill up a 2 liter bottle and stick it in the back of the fridge and forget about it.</p>
<p>Thank you. Thanks exactly the kind of info I need. It's all new here. I guess I'm also wondering what risk I'm taking at 74 degrees. I noticed a number of brewers say they run at 60 to 68. Are the higher temps really that risky for funky flavors creeping in? It really is quite a difference to brew at home temp vs having to construct some kind of cold house for brewing. It gets into a whole new level of investment. </p><p>Thanks again.</p>
<p>Do you *have* to carbonate it, or can you drink it after the three-week fermentation is done?</p>
You can drink it, it'll just be flat.
<p>yeah by now this is an really old post but anyways I've been thinking about making my own legal alcohol and but I have and old shine shack that my pop built and it has a hole in the ground and id say its pretty cool in the hole would that work and a good place for hard cider like for shine mash? </p>
<p>Should work but you should see what the temp in the hole is during the hottest part of the day. If it stays between 60-70F it should be fine. If it goes below 55F at night you may have to let it ferment a little longer. Maybe 4 weeks instead of 3. You could also test it with a hydrometer every week to determine alcohol content and stop it when it gets to 7-10%</p><p>Good Luck!</p>
this is an old post, but would a soda stream work to carbonate it?
Yup, just have to put it in their container.
This is my favorite, and simplest recipe. I usually wind up with 10% ABV using Safale S04. I use 5 and 6 gallon carboys and alternate between S04 and White Labs WLP099. Thanks for posting this!
One more day and my cider will be ready! Took a sample two days ago and couldn't believe how tasty it is. <br> <br>Couldn't get Safale 04 locally, so used Safale US-05. <br> <br>I also used 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown. <br> <br>Started two more batches yesterday. One all white sugar and one all brown sugar. Curious to taste the difference. <br> <br>I also built (basically) the same carbonator while waiting for ferment. (I did order/use the prefab carbonator cap and related valve connector.) can't seem to get a beverage to hold carbonation for more than a few seconds in the glass. Still playing with it. <br> <br>Oh... And I purchased the Tree Top juice from Costco, but the 6.5 airlock plug was too small. Ended up using a size 9. I'm guessing they redesigned the bottle? <br> <br>Thanks so much for taking the time to post this! I've had a great time playing with it and even got my 70+ yer old dad to start a batch today. <br> <br>Cheers!
Greetings, I also carbonate at home, and have made this cider. It's AWESOME when carbonated. Here is how I carbonate everything (water, cider, grape juice, apple juice, etc.). Only use a 2-liter bottle from soda pop. They are designed to handle the pressure. Never, ever use the juice bottle. Ever. It WILL blow and you'll have juice (and ants) everywhere. Seriously. Anyway, fill the bottle with liquid only up to the shoulder. Make sure your liquid is COLD. The colder it is, the more CO2 it will absorb. As you screw on the carbonator top squeeze the air out of the bottle. At this point you should have a slightly flattened bottle with no air in it. Now attach your CO2 hose and turn on your ball valve and start shaking the crap out of the bottle. Watch your pressure guage. It will bounce around in the 20-30 psi range as gas goes in and gets absorbed by the liquid. Keep shaking! When the pressure get to 40 psi and you can't get it lower by shaking, turn off the valve. Now you have a bottle with 40 psi inside. Shake it for another 20 seconds. Now SLOWLY bleed off the pressure. I unscrew the cap until I just hear it start to hiss. I let it sit until it stops hissing and unscrew a little more. With water it's fairly quick, but with apple anything it takes longer because it tends to foam. When I do juice or cider, since I use tire valves, I can press the stem and release a little pressure until the foams get near the top of the bottle, then I wait until the foam settles down to continue. The slower you release the pressure the less foam you'll have to deal with. When all the pressure has been slowly released, you can go ahead and swap the cap for the original soda cap. Put it in your fridge and you should have great fizzing for over a week.
You forgot to mention the venting process if you carbonate with compressed gas. <br> <br>Do a light fill, then release pressure and repeat a few times to get the O2 content lower before pressurizing to carbonate. <br>

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