I’ve been meaning to write about our apple cider making experience for weeks now, but it’s late on a Sunday evening and I had part of a beer with dinner, so the complete writeup will have to wait at least for another day, but I’ll share something cool with you now.
In our kitchen, we have two 5-gallon jugs (“carboys”) filled with cider. As the cider ferments, it throws off tiny bubbles of gas. For the first several weeks, those bubbles came out of the tops of the carboys, through rubber tubes, and into a bucket of water. We’d hear little bubbling sounds all day long.
This weekend, Michael “racked off” the cider in the carboys, which means he siphoned off the cider into clean containers so as to separate the cider from the “lees” (the residual particles from the apples that had collected at the bottom of the carboys). After that, he replaced the rubber tubes with little gas traps attached to the carboy caps. Since fermentation is slowing down, these little gas traps are now sufficient for letting the little bubbles escape.
We check the carboys every day to watch the bubbles, anxious to see continuous activity because we really want 10 gallons of hard cider, not cider vinegar, at the end of the fermentation process. So, now that we can’t hear the bubbling the way we could when the gas was escaping into the bucket of water, we just stand and watch — and smile when we see that little bubble escape. It’s alive!