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I'm one of those people who puts nearly all my energy into things other than brewing. And yet I still do it a little. That's why I have a carboy of cider that is 18 months old in my basement.

I don't know if the cider will be good or not when I try to bottle it, but I do know that all bubbling stopped long, long ago. I'm not sure if all the yeast is dead at this point (does that happen?) or if all the sugar is gone. Seems like one or the other must be true though.

So on the off chance that I don't need to just pour this down the drain, what's my best bet for getting it carbonated in the growlers? Yeast? Sugar (though I actually used all honey initially)? Both?

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First, I would check to see if it's still drinkable. You might have a carboy of apple cider vinegar if you haven't put any sulfites into it or somehow prevented from oxidation. The way to test it is to get a siphon (that you have sanitized) and suck out a little to taste. If it tastes ok, then you need to prepare for bottling.

I would follow these directions except when it says to prime with 1/2 cup of corn sugar, I would put in a little yeast (maybe a tablespoon?) and mix with some water before you bottle. Make sure the yeast has dissolved. I'm sure the yeast in your carboy is dead at this point.

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I once did the same thing. I must have added water to the fermentation lock 4 or 5 times. The taste was fine so i just bottled it as usual. I always suck up the part of yeast when bottling. by the way, the yeast is dormant not dead. Adding additional yeast would not hurt. Just don't add it before boiling the sugar and water or cider or it will be dead.

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I have used a soda stream to carbonate wine in the past. It works well with very little work. If you want to go with an old school method of carbonating in the bottle then you must be sure that your bottles are rated for 90PSI. Once the fermenting is done in the bottle, turn the bottle upside down so that the yeast sediment settles in the neck of the bottle. Once the yeast has settled and your wine or cider looks clear, you then place it in a freezer and watch for ice to form in the neck first. Once the yeast sediment freezes in the neck only, remove it from the freezer and open the bottle and the frozen yeast can be easily removed. Most of the time the pressure from the carbonation will push the frozen yeast wad out. You can then top it off with more wine or cider if you plan on storing it for later.

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