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Old 02-27-2013, 01:02 PM   #1
JonSnow
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Default Cheap Hard Apple Cider

I'm planning to brew up some apple-cider on the cheap in about a week, and I thought I would take someone else's advice and post on here to get some opinions before I went through with it.

I'm new to this, so I did some research here first. Links below.

Currently I have a beer in my (only) ale-pale, and another in my (only) carboy. So I want to try to do this with as little equipment as possible.

GOING TO BUY:
-Apple juice (w/o preservatives)
-Brown Sugar
-Champagne yeast

METHOD:
1) pour out a cup or so of apple juice from the container I purchased the Apple juice in. Add brown sugar. Mix.

2) Cover but I won't tighten completely

3) Wait 1-2 weeks

4)Tighten lids

5) Wait 2-4 weeks


BUT...I'm not sure if taking a few more steps might produce a much better result, so ...I have a lot of questions:

  • How much brown sugar would be appropriate to add? 2 cups/gallon?

    If I want to bottle and carbonate, when should I do that (after 1 week?)

    Would it be worth buying a $3 home-depot pale and lid? If so, how does one make an airlock? Just drill a hole? (I tried to search for this, but couldn't find an answer...I'm not "handy" myself, but I have access to some tools).

    What's up with raisins? I've read a few links where people added them.

    Would it be "worth" bottling? I have some corona bottles but I don't want to waste the caps on something this cheap (and potentially bad).

    Would it be worth putting it into empty soda containers?

Well, those are my thoughts this morning. I should probably hurry up and get to work! Thank you everyone in advance. I love this site so far! I've been spending tons of time here!


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/...ake-cider.html

http://aikihomestead.blogspot.com/20...s-and-two.html

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...making_Process

EdWort: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/man-...felwein-14860/
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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Might wanna move this to the cider forum.

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Old 02-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #3
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I followed this recipe and it turned out great. Of course you can do anything you want. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/5-da...-cider-265986/

I would go and pick up the bucket and lid well worth the investment, pick up a grommet and some hosing. drill a hole fit the grommet insert one end of hose place other end securly in a jar of fluid (sanitizer, vodka ect) and walla you are good to go.

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Old 02-27-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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^^ I also have tried the 5-day cider recipe with success. I can get cider in 1-gallon glass jugs, which works great for a quick-and-easy process. I use 1/2 pound sugar (or brown sugar, or honey), and go 5 days fermenting, 2 days carbing up in bottles, then pasteurizing on the stovetop.

I also have heard about raisins, I think they add nutrients for the yeast. But I just use yeast nutrient. I also just use ale yeast, which I tend to have on hand, instead of wine yeast.

Also, we have a grocery store nearby with a European-ethnic aisle (German, Polish, Scandinavian, etc.) with a wide selection of interesting preservative-free fruit syrups, which can make great accents to whatever you are aiming for.

Cheers!

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Old 02-27-2013, 06:20 PM   #5
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Try my little Wal-Mart beauty

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Old 02-27-2013, 07:06 PM   #6
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Do you intend on making a dry, British style cider, or a sweet, Woodchuck style cider?

I never add brown sugar to my ciders. All that will accomplish is drying the cider out close to 1.000.

I find that MOST newbies attempting to make cider have a sweet cider in mind, while most techniques out there lead to dry, English style ciders.

If you do want to make a sweet sparkling cider, you will need to backsweeten (which is a PITA if you bottle, a snap if you keg), and definitely leave out the brown sugar.

So which are you trying to make?

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Old 02-27-2013, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Do you intend on making a dry, British style cider, or a sweet, Woodchuck style cider?

I never add brown sugar to my ciders. All that will accomplish is drying the cider out close to 1.000.

I find that MOST newbies attempting to make cider have a sweet cider in mind, while most techniques out there lead to dry, English style ciders.

If you do want to make a sweet sparkling cider, you will need to backsweeten (which is a PITA if you bottle, a snap if you keg), and definitely leave out the brown sugar.

So which are you trying to make?
As you guessed, I had a sweet cider in mind. But I really was thinking "cheap and easy" and "different than the beer kits".... you would recommend going against the brown sugar then?
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noblebrew View Post
I followed this recipe and it turned out great. Of course you can do anything you want. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/5-da...-cider-265986/

I would go and pick up the bucket and lid well worth the investment, pick up a grommet and some hosing. drill a hole fit the grommet insert one end of hose place other end securly in a jar of fluid (sanitizer, vodka ect) and walla you are good to go.
Thanks! that recipe looks good.

(from link)
Quote:
4 gallons fresh, unfiltered pressed apples (uv pasteurized)
1 1/4 lbs brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

1) Pour 3 1/2 gallons of juice into fermenter
2) Heat remaining half gallon with cinnamon sticks and brown sugar until sugar dissolves properly. Let cool to room temp.
3)Combine mixtures and mix vigorously to oxidize.
4)Hydrate and Pitch yeast.

-Let ferment for about 2-3 days, or until it hits 1.04.
-Bottle it. No need to rack of clear, this stuff is going to be cloudy no matter what you do to it, as it hasn't really fermented that far. it may help, however to give it a day in the fridge to get rid of excess yeast. I didn't do this though.

Let it sit in bottles for a day or so to carb, then bottle pasteurize. I did this by using my sanitize/rinse setting on my dishwasher of 10 minutes, but you can also do it on the stove (see stove-top pasteurization sticky).

Result:
A sweet, hard cider at about 5% abv that keeps a lot of original cider flavor, and is just a tad more tart and dry than the unfermented version. Definitely looks "rustic" due to its cloudiness. Cheers!
This sounds really do-able. Step 4 says to "hydrate"...what does this mean?

Also, I had planned on using either plastic brown PET bottles that someone gave me from a Mr.Beer kit or old soda bottles...if I put them in the dishwasher for 10 min, will the bottles survive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noblebrew View Post
I would go and pick up the bucket and lid well worth the investment, pick up a grommet and some hosing. drill a hole fit the grommet insert one end of hose place other end securly in a jar of fluid (sanitizer, vodka ect) and walla you are good to go.
Sounds do-able...I might try it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
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This does sound good...but also beyond my skills. I don't even have a keg ;-) ...soonish, I hope!
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:49 PM   #10
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Adding the brown sugar is going to make it more dry, less sweet. Definitely skip.

Here's what I do to make cider that is almost spot on Woodchuck/Strongbow sweet cider:

5 gallons White House Apple Juice
1 packet Nottingham Yeast

Combine 4 gallons apple juice and yeast in fermenter, ferment 2-3 weeks, rack to keg over remaining 1 gallon White House Apple Juice and get down to serving temps to stop yeast activity, force carb at 12-14 PSI for two weeks, ENJOY!


The problem with bottling is you can't add sweet juice pre-carb without doing anything else, because the yeast will eat it. That's why backsweetening bottled cider is a big pain. You either have to use artificial sweetener (yuck!) or add the apple juice and monitor it closely to figure out when they are at the proper carb level, then put the whole batch in the fridge to stop yeast activity or the bottle pasteurizations step the guy outlines above.

Anyway, there are a few ways to get sweet cider in a bottle, but they are all pretty crappy options, IMO.

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