Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bottling the Cider

The cider was still bubbling in its barrel but when we measured the specific gravity we decided it was time for bottling. Last year we left it too long and the end product was very strong and almost flat. This cider was sparkling. So it was out to the shed for some bottles.
A few years ago we had a great score. We asked an acquaintance who we were told had a capper if we could borrow it to put caps on our cider. He not only gave us the device but about fifty Grolsch bottles. These are fantastic for bottling as they have their own reusable secure lid. These would be the main bottle we would use along with a few longnecks and some smaller cider bottles. 

Cleaning and Rinsing the Bottles
First we washed the bottles and rinsed them before putting them in the oven for about twenty minutes. We removed the washers from the Grolsch bottles so they wouldn't melt!
Once they had cooled and been reassembled it was time to draw off some cider into a jug. When the bottles were filled the lids were clipped on the Grolsch bottles and the rest had metal caps pushed on. Before capping we put a sultana in each bottle. This is supposed to add just a little bit of sugar to keep the cider sparkling. If it gives too much we may get some broken glass and sticky shelves.

The capper in action
This capper has been made out of a drill press. It takes very little movement to push the handle far enough to crush the sides of the cap onto the bottle.

The cider shelf in the shed

We haven't drunk all of last year's cider yet and this year we have made much more.
Homemade cider is a great drink for a picnic or to share with guests so we now have an incentive to make both happen more often.

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