We have made 300 litres of organic single variety Dabinett cider - it was crushed in November 2013. Nineteen months and four rackings later - it genuinely tastes divine and smells OK - but you can't see through it. It's not cloudy per se - more of a dark, dark brown fog really. We have added absolutely nothing to it. We allowed natural yeasts to ferment the juice and it completed this process without out our intervention with Campden tablets. The strength (6.5%) hasn't moved now for four months so I guess to all intents and purposes it's slowly moving into decline now. We have a number of local outlets who will take this product for sale but as it stands - we can't really see how we can sell it looking the way it does. We don't want to add finings as we'd prefer it to be wholy naturally produced - but equally it doesn't look as though 'time' will do the job either. We desperately want it to be ready in the next four weeks to hit the early summer market. Anybody any ideas? Thanks. Terry P
I think your options are a) finings, b) filtering, or c) cold-crashing.
You've already said that a) is not an option, as you don't want to introduce any other ingredients. Filtering will almost certainly remove the haze, but will also have an impact on taste by removing some compounds that carry flavour.
If you have the means, I'd try cold crashing. Quickly drop the temperature of the cider to 32 F., and leave it for a week or two. The haze-forming particles should drop the bottom, letting you rack the clear cider into clean, sterilized containers.
Maybe test the process on 10 or 20 litres to see if it's going to work before attempting to cold crash all 300 litres.