Hard Cider From (practically) scratch

Submitted by johnmark on 2009-11-19 20:22:04




Hard cider (1 gallon recipe)

• 1 gallon of apple cider (pasteurized is OK, but make sure there are no preservatives, as they will kill our booze producing friends, the yeasties)

Here are the two recommended yeast varieties, but you can mess around with other yeasts (you only need on packet of yeast per batch)
• Yeast Safale 04: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-ingredients/yeast/safale-s-04-whitbread.html
• Yeast Nottingham: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-ingredients/yeast/nottingham-ale-yeast.html


• 1 gallon jug: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/1-gallon-jug.html
• Jug stopper drilled: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/no-6-drilled-stopper.html
• Fermentation lock: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/fermentation-locs


• Racking cane (to help you siphon the cider out of the jug without disturbing the yeast sediment at the bottom of the jug): http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/mini-auto-siphon-3-8.html
• Tubing (attaches to the siphon/racking cane): http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/5-16-id-siphon-hose.html
• Sanitizer (you can do it with bleach water and a rinse, but this is easier): http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/one-step.html
• Hydrometer (for measuring the specific gravity of the cider to determine alcohol content. You are probably not TOO concerned with this, honestly. It’ll be boozy enough): http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/testing-measuring/hydrometers-refractometers/triple-scale-hydrometer.html

• Knowledge: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/results-juice-yeast-sugar-experiments-83060/


1. Sterilize all of your equipment, either with a bleach/water solution, or with a sanitizer such as One-Step.

2. Dump your gallon of cider into the jug, filling it up to about where the neck starts to bend up toward the mouth. Drink the leftover cider, imagine it with booze in it in about a month.

3. Follow the instructions on the yeast packet for rehydrating/activating the yeast.

4. Dump yeast into the jug.

5. Put sterilized stopper into the mouth of the jug.

6. Put sterilized fermentation lock into the hole in the stopper with the right amount of tap water in the lock. The fermentation lock allows gas to escape the jug through the water as it ferments, but will prevent contaminants from getting into your cider.

7. Let it mellow for about 4 weeks. Now the cider is fermenting. It will go cloudy as billions of yeast particles fly around in the cider, eating up the sugar and pooping out alcohol and carbon dioxide. That is what the bubbles are on the top of the surface, and that’s the gas will be bubbling out of the fermentation lock. Try to keep it out of direct sunlight and don’t leave it next to a radiator or something that will cause major temperature fluctuations. But you don’t need a cellar or anything fancy.

8. You can let it go for a longer amount of time, but be warned that as you let it ferment, the yeast is eating more sugar and pooping out more alcohol, so you will end up with a less sweet (or in wine parlance, dry), more alcoholic cider. If you end up making it too pissed off for your liking, you can serve it like a mixed drink with fresh cider to backsweeten it.

9. To stop the fermentation process, put it in your fridge for a day or so. This is called cold crashing. It makes the yeast chill out and sink to the bottom (mostly). After a day in the fridge, siphon the cider off of the inactive yeast and into sanitized bottles. You can siphon with your mouth, but you risk backwash contaminating your product, and the extra $10 on a racking cane really pays off on this step. For bottles, I like flip top bottles like Grolsch, etc. Using them means you don’t need bottle caps and a capping tool.

10. Keep the bottles refrigerated until you drink them. If you let them warm up again for a significant amount of time, it’s possible (but not all that likely) that whatever yeast was floating around will become active again and start putting off gas, which will result in an exploded bottle.

11. Drink up! The flavors might change a little as it ages, so if you bottle it in smaller bottles it will help you ration it out to see how it matures. Or you can drink it all at once. Whatever. You can also experiment with mixing different juices, throwing in a cinnamon stick, and crap like that. It’s also important to make labels and name your cider!

PS: You now have almost everything you need to start brewing your own beer.


Left by johnmark — 2009-11-20 11:44:13

cider label

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