Postfermentation processes

Racking consists of removing the newly fermented cider from its lees. In modern cider making, this may occur relatively soon and in the absence of maturation, prior to blending and packaging. More traditional processing has the cider left on the lees for several weeks, with racking into tanks for months of storage with minimum contact with air. The malolactic fermentation may be encouraged, in which case sulphiting is avoided at this point.

Initial clarification of cider is by natural settling, by fining (bentonite, gelatine, chitosan, isinglass), or by centrifugation. Alternatively, a combination of these may be used.

The ciders will be filtered before packaging and may be blended, aided by expert tasting. If fermentation was to a higher-than-target alcohol content, then the cider will be thinned by the addition of water, and sugar or malic acid may be added, as well as of course carbon dioxide.

Final filtration is by powder, sheet and/or membrane filtration. There is increasing use of cross-flow microfiltration (Fig. 5.5). Most ciders are pasteurised and carbonated en route to final pack.

Typically 50 ppm SO2 will be added to give a free SO2 level of 30 ppm, but the precise figures will depend on the level of endogenous binding compounds present in the cider. If the cider is destined for cans, then SO2 levels must be lower because as little as 25 ppm can cause damage to the lacquer layer and to the production of hydrogen sulphide.

Fig. 5.5 Cross-flow microfiltration. The cider flows through multiple bundles of porous membranes. Particles, including micro-organisms, are held back by the membranes, with the clarified liquid emerging at right angle to the direction of flow, the continuous nature of which ensures that particles do not adhere to the pores and plug them.

Fig. 5.5 Cross-flow microfiltration. The cider flows through multiple bundles of porous membranes. Particles, including micro-organisms, are held back by the membranes, with the clarified liquid emerging at right angle to the direction of flow, the continuous nature of which ensures that particles do not adhere to the pores and plug them.

Ascorbic acid may be added, but these days there is less use for sorbic acid as it is only fully effective in the presence of SO2 and, further, it is only active against yeast and not bacteria.

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