This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Champagne quarts are generally used for bottling cider, as they are strong and will stand pressure, besides being a convenient size for consumers. In making cider champagne the liquor should be clarified and bottled in the sweet condition, that is to say, before the greater part of the sugar which it contains has been converted into alcohol by fermentation. The fermentation continues, to a certain extent, in the bottle, transforming more of the sugar into alcohol, and the carbonic acid, being unable to escape, is dissolved in the cider and produces the sparkling.
The greater the quantity of sugar contained in the liquor, when it is bottled, the more complete is its carbonation by the carbonic-acid gas, and consequently the more sparkling it is when poured out. But this is true only within certain limits, for if the production of sugar is too high the fermentation will be arrested.
To make the most sparkling cider the liquor is allowed to stand for three, four, five, or six weeks, during which fermentation proceeds. The time varies according to the nature of the apples, and also to the temperature; when it is very warm the first fermentation is usually completed in 7 days.
Before bottling, the liquid must be fined, and this is best done with catechu dissolved in cold cider, 2 ounces of catechu to the barrel of cider. This is well stirred and left to settle for a few days.
The cider at this stage is still sweet, and it is a point of considerable nicety not to carry the first fermentation too far. The bottle should not be quite filled, so as to allow more freedom for the carbonic-acid gas which forms.
When the bottles have been filled, corked, and wired down, they should be placed in a good cellar, which should be dry, or else the cider will taste of the cork. The bottles should not be laid for four or five weeks, or breakage will ensue. When they are being laid they should be placed on laths of wood or on dry sand; they should never be allowed on cold or damp floors.
Should the cider be relatively poor in sugar, or if it has been fermented too far, about 1 ounce of powdered loaf sugar can be added to each bottle, or else a measure of sugar syrup before pouring in the cider.