Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

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Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby MrBoy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 14:43

I've got 17L of cider which is coming up on 3 weeks in the FV. I gather minimising airspace is important after fermentation so it should be racked and then either be bottled or otherwise stored to mature rather than leaving in another FV. I'm splitting it with a friend who provided the apples, I have glass bottles ready to go but he hasn't got his together yet and also isn't sure if he wants to carbonate it or not (I do with mine).

I don't own DJs so for the sake of a quid was considering just buying 4 2L Tesco Value water/lemonade bottles for a grand total of about a quid, and storing his in these while he builds up a collection of bottles - maybe a couple of months. I imagine then we'd pour/syphon them back into a bottling bucket to remove additional sediment and bottle as normal.

a)I assume it is absolutely fine to store cider flat for some time and then prime+rebottle later on? The yeast will come back to life? Will maturation time be re-set upon priming or can I mature for a few months flat and then carbonate for a few weeks and consume?

b)Are these type of bottles fine to use? There's no skunking with cider but I assume they should still be kept somewhere dim and clean?

I'm kind of wondering if I might just do this with all of it, use a bunch of these as small DJs and bottle mine after a week or two, and my mate's in a couple of months.
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby robwalker » Sat Jan 07, 2017 15:19

Er, I personally think you're overthinking it.

1) reusable pop bottles are fine to act as bottles for cider. Rack, add 3tsp sugar, let em firm up and drink em. They last about 3 days in the fridge once opened. Use pop because they can take pressure.

2) Tesco sell 5L water bottles with a sealable lid. They're fine for brewing and you can even drill a hole for an airlock, so a suitable Demi john replacement.

2L for a while then racking into a bottling bucket to bottle in 500mls sounds wasteful and fiddly to me.
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby MrBoy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 15:35

Yeah but I need to store it somewhere until bottles are sourced. I need to set aside 8l would splitting that in two 5l containers be OK or do I need to minimise air...

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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby LeithR » Sat Jan 07, 2017 15:55

Why don't you and your buddy go to your local pub and ask for cider bottles, Magners is very popular with many pub goers these days. The pub will be happy to get rid of them, you won't have to pay for them and you won't need to wait for a month or so to collect bottles then. In fact any bottles would work as long as you can crown cap them once they are full.

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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby MrBoy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 20:47

I don't need bottles and I don't think I'm in a position to organise him ;) The deal is he provides the apple juice, I brew it and bottle his once he's collected bottles. I'm happy to store it but am I right I need to minimise air-space and stick it in a cupboard?

I racked into a 10L and a 5L FV leaving both very full which will do for now but I might look at a 5L water bottle... long term I'll probably start acquiring DJs but we're looking to move house soon and I don't want more stuff!

Question still stands: can you mature for a while in DJs and then prime+bottle, or will all that maturation time be wasted?
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby robwalker » Sat Jan 07, 2017 21:24

It'll mature more consistently in bulk so go for it, as long as headroom is very low and it's properly bunged.
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby Crastney » Tue Jan 10, 2017 13:27

answer: yes you can mature in DJs. bulk storage is usually better, but 1 gal works ok. 2Ltr is possible a bit small for bulk storage, but if you're going to recombine later and mature for longer it won't affect it too much. I think it was me that said about keeping the head space small - 1 litre of cider in an FV will oxidise and go bad within a week or so, whereas 1 litre in a 1 litre bottle almost certainly wont oxidise much at all for several months.

If you bottle into 2 litre pop bottles then I wouldn't bother rebottling again later. you can leave it to mature, and then open, and add sugar solution for carbonation, or just leave it, and let it mature and then drink when you want. Plastic bottles are also good that once open, you can squeeze out a lot of the air after the first drink, and then store in the fridge for later. will last a few days longer this way. If your cider is flat, you can store it like this in plastic milk bottles.

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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby MrBoy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 13:48

The point about rebottling was purely that I probably don't want 2l at once, the of bottle here and there. Although wouldn't you also struggle to avoid rousing sediment putting several glasses from a 2l bottle?

I think the amount I'm left with might be close enough to 15l I can just get 3x5l bottles... My concern was partly I might not have a multiple of 5l. Also hadn't realised 5l bottles were only a quid ;)

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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby PhatFil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 15:38

i agree its a good idea, just keep the pet bottles out of the sun and check regularly if the tops are sealed as some residual sugar fermentation may still continue if stored at a high enough temperature.

also long term may not be such a good idea as the cheap freecycled water bottles may well be permeable to o2? afaik pet designated for beer use can have o2 barriers laminated into its make up.
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby MrBoy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 15:44

I did this at lunchtime today as it happens, I actually ended up filling 3 5L bottles practically to the brim with just a litre left which I'll probably just bottle as an early test.

I am a little worried about long-term fermentation. It has ABV 6.3% but tastes very apple-flavoured which I'm not used to in cider, i.e. fresh, bright apple flavour. Makes me wonder if some of the juice remains... or maybe cider straight from juice does retain more apple-y aroma when it's brand new.

Should I be maturing cider at room temperature or cellar temperature or fridge temperature for the next few months? I've currently left 2 in the garage and brought one in to the house, I'm going to check it regularly to see if it is pressurising up so I know if there is more fermentation before I bottle it in glass!
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Re: Cheap 2L water bottles as medium term storage?

Postby PhatFil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 16:13

my understanding is a cool spot with a stable temperature is good for maturing, as always simple insulation can stabalise a varying ambient temperature effectively.
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