Cider makers take great pride in their craft. From the process of producing fine and delicious products, to bottling the cider and preparing it to be sold and enjoyed. Mastering the art of bottling cider is very important. Correct bottling techniques are essential in preserving the quality and flavour of a cider. Well-bottled cider is a testament to the cider maker’s expertise and dedication.
Ever wondered how the delicate process of bottling cider works? This article will give you the details and take you through the process of creating cider bottles step by step.
How do you bottle cider?
The first step of bottling cider is to transfer the fermented apple juice from the fermenter to a bottling bucket. Typically, this is done using an auto siphon, a device that allows for the easy and efficient transfer of liquids. It ensures the amount of oxygen contacting the cider is minimised and only pure juice is used. Any unwanted debris or sediment is left behind.
Once the juice has been extracted, the cider maker may add sulphites to the container. This sterilises the cider and prevents contamination. This does not affect the taste of the cider! This step isn’t necessary if the cider will be enjoyed soon after bottling.
How do you sweeten cider before bottling?
In the next step, a small amount of sugar might be added to the cider. This will increase the sweetness of the cider and create more carbonation that gives sparkling cider its signature fizz. Note that dry ciders do not usually contain additional sugar.
After adding sugar, the cider is left to sit for at least 24 hours. The next step is to prepare the bottles. While wine and beer bottles can be used, wine bottles are typically preferred for still cider, while beer bottles are suitable for sparkling cider.
How long should cider sit after bottling?
4.5 litres (or 1 gallon) of cider will fill around five wine bottles or ten beer bottles. The auto siphon is used again to transfer the cider to the bottles. When pouring the cider into the bottles, cider makers leave about an inch of space at the top of the bottle to allow room for carbonation.
After the bottles have been filled and sealed, the cider is left in a cool, dark place to carbonate and mature. This process typically takes around a week, but the length can vary depending on factors such as the temperature. Once the cider is fully carbonated, it is ready to be enjoyed.
The complex science of cider bottling
Cider is a perishable product that can easily lose its taste if bottled incorrectly. Bottling cider is a delicate and time-consuming process. Throughout the procedure, cider makers carefully monitor the cider’s temperature, acidity and level of carbonation to ensure the correct flavour and texture are preserved.
Now that you have learnt the secrets behind cider bottling, you can appreciate the hard work and science that go into bottling your favourite cider, hopefully making that first sip even more refreshing.
About us: Showerings vintage cider making
The Showering family has been making award-winning Somerset cider for over 170 years. From winning Gold at the 1950 Brewers Exhibition to Gold at the 2019 Somerset Cider Championships & The Royal Cornwall Show and first prize at the South West Cider Association, the accolades continue a long tradition of award-winning ciders.