Cider Conditioning/sweetening

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Hey Guys,

Just thew down my first cider on the weekend, just a small test batch to get something sitting in the 11L glass carboy we bought for mead making.

3x 2.4L Berri Apple Juice
2x 2.4L Berri Apple+Pear Juice
Tsp Yeast Nutrient
1x Sachet Dry Sparkling wine yeast.

This is happily fermenting away at 17deg in one of our fridges.

I realize this will result in a very dry cider, but we have the gear to tweak this(Kegging, potassium sorbate and campden tabs, filters)

Now the question is in relation to aging the cider; after sampling a delightful oak-aged welsh cider at the scratch I've decided that I want to try and replicate this subtle vanilla and oakyness.

Current plan is as follows.

Ferment for 4 weeks in plastic carboy(currently doing this)

Rack into another carboy on top of some Light american oak Chips(Less is more from what I have read, any recommendations for QTY?)

Rack into Glass Carboy for maturation after 7 days, to be stored in a friend's wine cellar @18 deg for 6 months.

Backsweeten if needed, force carb and bottle.

Should I be cellar conditioning in the carboy, or should i filter and neuter the yeast, backsweeten, bottle and THEN condition?

Recommendations as to back sweetening with Sugar/Stevia/Apple Juice?(I was thinking Preshafruit Juice; the taste is amazing) I am aiming for a medium dryness, certainly not a sweet cider, but not bone dry.

As with all of our brewing endeavors, we are trying to "do it right" rather than make something cheap and nasty, so any advice from the cider-pro's would be much appreciated.

TLDR Summary:
Time to condition on Oak chips?
Mature in carboy or after bottling?
Recommendations on backsweetening?

Rack into another carboy on top of some Light american oak Chips(Less is more from what I have read, any recommendations for QTY?)

I'm experimenting with oak in some of my meads. So far I'm finding that a very light touch is what is best. I used 5g of medium french oak chips in 4l of mead for 7 days and that's given a really nice effect. I also did a fruit mead with about half that amount and thats come up very well also.

Less is more. You can always add a bit more. You can't take any away. I'd start with maybe 1g/l or 1.5 for 7 days and work from there.

i did a 20l batch of the same about 6 months ago

2/3 apple
1/3 apple + pear
some generic cider yeast

fermented 4 weeks then bottled and the bottles conditioned for another 4 weeks
when i cracked one it just didnt carb at all
i ended up pouring them into a keg, back sweetened with a little apple juice and force carbed

my sister and her friends are hardcore cider drinkers and they thought it was better than most of the stuff they buy which i thought was pretty good considering half the stuff they drink
Cheers for the advice guys.
Tonesbrew, Glad to hear of your success, gives me hope of producing something delightful. Any idea of the QTY of juice you used when backsweetenng(and batch size) just as somewhere to start?
I prefer cider that isn't carbed, I like the ye olde feel and taste of a simple cider.