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I've just started making cider, and after 12 hours of reading I came up with a plan, but I need reassuring what should I do next:

  • It's nearly constantly 25°C in my flat (where I brew),

  • I used unfiltered apple juice from the store

  • bought yeast, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme

After 6 days, only small bubbles are visible on the side of the 5 liter, airlocked demijohn. It's very cloudy.

I also started fermenting the left over apple juice (one liter) in a PET bottle.

  • Added some sugar to reach a bit higher alcohol percent.

  • Used hacked together airlock made from a balloon and a straw. It doesn't fully seal it sadly, so supposedly oxygen is slowly getting in

After 6 days, it reached the same state as previously mentioned.

I don't have a second jug, so I can't secondary ferment them.

My question is: what should I do know?

  • Can I continue the primary fermentation for like 3 weeks?

    • And after that I can bottle them, put some priming sugar and sweetener in the bottles,

    • And then wait 2 weeks before consumption.

  • Or should I wait only a few more days,

    • bottle them, add sugar, sweetener,

    • and then wait 2 + 3 weeks before consumption?

Which way will result more likely in a clearer, better cider?

I know that I can wait more, but I read that it's enough if I don't want to increase the quality further. (I'm a bit impatient with my first brew)

I've got a feeling, that I should bottle the "semi-airlocked" PET bottle soon, so I can minimize the contact with oxygen. Regarding the airlocked demijohn, I don't really know.

What should I do?

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I would, perhaps ignoring some of the limitations you've posted - fermented it for a longer period (primary fermentation). Cider needs both fermentation and conditioning. I would also make a new functioning air lock as that is the crux regardless, a simple hack would then be a blow-off tube (a tightly sealed tube where the other end is submerged).

If you have no methods of measuring the gravity of the cider (i.e. how much sugar has the yeast consumed) then bottling too soon can create a nasty situation where the bottles blow.

So strategy one, including improved air lock.

Then I would "cold crash" your cider before bottling, it sounds like your fermentation vessel would fit in a fridge. A couple of days in the fridge would make a lot of the sediments settle out and give a much clearer cider before bottling. Then add sweetener and sugar in the bottles and leave the bottles warmer again for bottle carbonation.

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  • Thanks! I'll try improving the airlock – Tudvari Jun 24 at 13:47

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