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My cider has been going for a month and I am not sure whether to move them to bottles yet or not.

I was advised that slower fermentation leads to better cider, to I have had them in the garage for the last week and a half. Since moving to the colder environment, the gravity has moved from 1034 - 1022 on one demijohn, and 1020 to 1015 on another. Neither has completely dropped out.

It seems to me that I want a slightly lower gravity before bottle to avoid exploding, but I'm very new to this and may be totally wrong.

Is there a cast iron rule I can follow? How can I tell when should I bottle?

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What yeast did you use? What's the temperature into garage. –  Tobias Patton Dec 22 '13 at 16:56
    
I used a cider yeast -> goo.gl/mlEZ3h –  Mild Fuzz Dec 22 '13 at 17:21
    
Garage is VERY cold (~5C) –  Mild Fuzz Dec 22 '13 at 17:21
    
That's much too cold for wine yeast (the link you sent describes the cider yeast as a Bayanus strain, which is Champagne yeast). A cool fermentation does produce a cleaner cider, but "cool" here means 17 or 18 C. –  Tobias Patton Dec 22 '13 at 17:46

2 Answers 2

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The sugar in apple juice is almost entirely fermentable, so most ciders finish fermenting with a specific gravity near 1.000. If you used a wine yeast, you can expect a very dry finished cider. Ale yeast flocculates sooner, and can leave some small amount of residual sugar.

Regardless, your gravities are high enough that I'd say your cider is not done fermenting. If the ambient temperatue in your garage is below 15 C., the yeast have probably slowed down a great deal. It's possible that they've actually gone dormant.

I'd recommend moving the fermenters somewhere warmer, around 20 C. Fermentation may restart on its own, but if it doesn't you'll want to gently rouse the sediment with a sanitized, long handled spoon. Be careful not to introduce air into the cider, as this can lead to off flavors and premature staling.

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I have brought it in, one of the demijohns struggles to disturb the air lock, but they are both fizzing. –  Mild Fuzz Dec 22 '13 at 17:23
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The bubbling may be from CO2 being released from solution as the cider warms up. If it continues to bubble after it's fully warmed, then your yeast is probably still working. Otherwise, consider rousing the yeast, or even pitching more yeast. –  Tobias Patton Dec 22 '13 at 17:43

All my ciders ferment dry, at or less then 1.000. Your temps need to be at least in the mid 60F for fermentation to continue. Once that is complete, the yeast will drop out over a month or so or you can use any number of finings to help it clear. I age my ciders for a year before bottling, age will make them smoother and I have found that the apple flavors are better with age.

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