Alrighty, the spiced apple/pear is in the final stage before bottling – fining.
The particular method I’m using is gelatin. You mix up a very little bit in with some hot water (1 teaspoon of gelatin to a cup of water, per FIVE GALLONS of beer/wine/cider) and stir it in with the cider. The gelatin will congeal around all the particulate matter in the cider and precipitate it to the bottom over the course of a few days, after which you bottle it.
I started the fining a couple of hours ago, and it’s already quite visibly precipitating all the miniscule flotsam and jetsam out of the good stuff.
It’s turned out ever so slightly carbonated, which is rather nice as I was going for a sparkling-type cider anyway. Specific gravity is now 1.004, which puts it at right around 6.3%, although I suspect it’s slighty higher since I didn’t calibrate for my original reading of 1.052 – the cider was much warmer, and thus gave a lower reading than it should have. I guesstimate around 7% abv, which is a little high for a cider, but still lower than your typical wine. There’s also a good bit of residual sugar still, so it’s not quite so dry.
Also picked up a new yeast to try – a very neutral champagne yeast, so it has a higher temperature tolerance as well as imparting very little flavor to the cider itself, which is a problem with the Wyeast I’m using now… it’s kind of beery. This champagne yeast is even recommended for carbonating soft drinks, so I think it’ll be a good one to use on my next batch.
I’m not going to be using raw ciders as source material for the next one; I had an experimental batch using normal “apple juice” as its base and it was turning out better than any so far until I noticed some unwanted cultures growing in the bottle (I blame lax sanitation procedures on my part). I’m going to scale that up and do it properly this time.
It seems spammers have started posting comments on my updates. I’m not sure exactly how they’re finding it, and my spam filter isn’t catching them. Wheeeee.