Bottling hard Cider

After you have your delicious brew ready to bottle there are only a few steps left before you are ready to age and bottle up your Hard cider.  The first step is to sterilize all of your bottles and equipment.  This is a step you do not want to skip.  Just a little contamination will ruin all of your hard work that you put in to getting and making your cider.  The hardest part I have had in bottling up my cider is estimating how many bottles you need for your batch.  The standard you will see on an internet search is two cases of bottles per five gallon batch.  I have found that this is a little under what you will actually need.  All of my batches are for a carbonated cider so i use one liter soda bottles for my extra cider over the two cases.  The bonus of doing this is you can tell when your cider has carbonated to the point you want to drink.

If you are going to bottle your Hard cider flat (also called still cider) you can skip over this part and go straight to the bottling section.  To make a sparkling cider you will need to add a sugar primer to your brew .  As long as it is fermentable sugar you can use any kind you have available.  Each type  will add to the distinctive taste of your bottled cider.  I have used white sugar, brown sugar and honey in my batches.  All of them are good so it is mostly a matter of preference.  If you have used a specific type of sugar to boost the alcohol content I would recommend using that same type as your primer.  For a five gallon batch add 3/4 cup of sugar  dissolved in 4 cups of warm water to it.  Adding more than this can cause you to make a bottle bomb if it over carbonates and explodes.

On to the bottling stage! Raise your full carboy up higher than the tops of where you bottles will be.  I use the convenient kitchen table and have my bottles on the floor.  Then insert your siphon hose and start filling bottles.  Having two people at this stage makes it much faster but it is easily done solo.  Fill the bottles to about one inch from the top and move on to the next bottle.  If you are lucky enough to have a 2nd person helping you one person can fill and the second can cap the bottles.  A good capper will press down the edges of your caps and seal the bottles tightly.  You cannot reseal screw off lids.  As a rule they do not completely seal and can ruin your batch.  Once capped let your bottles set at least two weeks to carbonate.  The one you filled in a soda bottle is a great gauge on how much bubbles you have in there.  Finally chill and enjoy the fruits of your laber.