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my cider started at 190 and now is 150 and has been still for about a month, can I drink and bottle it at this time?

  • Do you mean gravity readings of 1.190 and 1.150? – jsled Dec 18 '14 at 16:49
  • That would be rocket fuel! I'm guessing 1.090 and 1.050. If that's the case, my answer is "no". Pitch more yeast, and let it finish fermenting. – FishesCycle Dec 18 '14 at 17:11
  • @TobiasPatton: Why would it be rocket fuel? That's only 5.9% ABV. – im1dermike Dec 18 '14 at 19:07
  • @im1dermike I should have said "potential rocket fuel". Given the right yeast, a 1.190 must can produce 25% ABV wine. – FishesCycle Dec 18 '14 at 21:27
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Can I drink and bottle it at this time?

Sure!

Should you drink and bottle it at this time?

Absolutely not. It will be sickeningly sweet and will probably end up being bottle bombs.

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    Bottling something that's not even close to finished fermenting can lead to "explosive" pressures, commonly referred to as "bottle bombs". – jsled Dec 18 '14 at 21:17
  • @jsled: yep. That too. – im1dermike Dec 19 '14 at 0:27
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Short answer: Q:What does it taste like right now?

In my circle (wine/beer/cider), we talk casually about a "gravity of 50" or "press it at 20", meaning an SG of 1.050 or 1.020. As a scientist, an SG of 150 literally means a liquid 12x the density of mercury. An SG of 1.150 is something I have encountered occasionally, with late-harvest grapes. In cider making, Quebec producers create an "ice cider", which might have a starting SG of 1.150 if they cheat and add concentrate.

@Tobias observed that you likely have a current SG of 1.050. That is a typical starting SG for unfermented apple juice. So either you are wondering about bottling "soft" cider and are worried if it will keep, or you added yeast a while back and nothing happened (store-bought juice preserved with sorbate/SO2), or your "150" means something else again. Maybe 1.005?

In a cider-making year in mid-December, I would be happy to have large amounts of cider at an SG of 1.005. That would have a nice residual sugar of 2% to 3%. I would put some in a keg, fizz it with CO2, and serve it over Xmas/NewYears pretending it is Champagne.

Getting back to serious hard-cider bottling:

If you are trying to produce a hard, dry, bottle-conditioned sparkling cider then you either need to "catch it on the way down" and bottle it at 1.000 to 1.005, or ferment it to dryness (0.996-ish) then add fresh strong yeast (such as EC-1118) and glucose at bottling (that's what I do). If you simply bottle it at 1.005, be prepared to wait through a warm summer for fermentation to start up again and finish the job.

If you aren't sure what to do, make sure you have added some SO2 (aka Sulphite), keep it well topped-up, and wait until June to see what happens. Never bottle out of uncertainty!

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  • I should have been more specific. It is sweet, it originally tested at 1.090 (I added brown sugar)I added EC 1118 it went still after about 5 weeks, I tested it and it was 1.060 I again added the yeast and waited another 4 weeks before testing, this time it was 1.050 I added yeast yet again and let it sit for another 3 weeks before testing as I never saw any fermentation through the airlock. it still tests at 1.050. I just moved it to the secondary fermenter hoping it might make a difference. Thank you for the insight – Gary Vaillancourt Dec 21 '14 at 14:02

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