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Old 11-03-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default First Time Cider Brewer

Hello Everyone,

I'm interested in brewing some home made hard cider and after looking around the internet, I have a lot of questions. First of all, I'm interested in brewing a cider similar to either Woodpecker or Woodchuck if thats possible, but I'm always looking to try something different.

I purchased two gallons of unperserved cider from the local Trade Joe's and I'm trying to find a recipe so I can do some brewing this weekend. I recently moved to Raleigh, and there is suppossed to be a good home brew store in the city.

My equipment and experience level are at the beginner stages. Last winter my girlfriend got me the Coopers brewing kit for Christmas, and I was planning on using that equipment and purchasing a new siphon and secondary fermentor container to complement it.

I would really appreciate if anyone can point me in a direction of a good solid cider recipe and any tips or suggestions would be great!

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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I am too about to make my 1st batch of cider...so disregard my opinion! Disclaimer done.
There are several recipes on here, Everything I know about cider comes from reading posts on here.
Long story short, it seems that the trick to cider is to decide how sweet or dry you want it to taste. (and the ABV controlled by sugar addition in the beginning)
The commercial ciders you mention are sweet, so you would want to lean towards back sweetening and/or using beer yeast.
If you like it dry, use wine/champagne yeast and don't backsweeten.

Backsweetening can be tricky to pull off and not 'splode your bottles. You either need to kill the yeast after fermentation OR use something sweet the yeast cannot eat.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:02 PM   #3
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Thanks SirFizzle! I suppose then I would be leaning towards a sweeter cider. I'd like to carbonate it as well. I'm not quite sure how much priming sugar to use for this step. My past experience has been with using the Coopers kit, which utilizes carbonation drops. Basically a drop a bottle was that was required. I'd like to try something a little more advanced than that. Some of the cider posts I've seen have recommended using corn sugar for this step. Any suggestions?

Would you have any basic reciepe suggestions that I could try?

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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Well, most people don't use a recipe for cider. Cider is tough to "clone" though. The key to those commercial ciders is the mix of apples they have available, so we'll never know how to clone them.

A good tasting fresh cider will make good hard cider, though. I like to use potassium metabisulfite (campden tablets) to kill wild yeast and bacteria and then 12 hours later add some pectic enzyme (to help it clear) and then 12 hours later add some yeast. Any good quality wine or cider yeast will work. (Check out some of the sticky threads on the cider experiments for specific yeast strains and results).

The most important thing is sanitation. The carboy, airlock, bung, tubing, etc should all be sanitized before using.

After the cider is fermented, you can then bottle it dry and flat, dry and bubbly, or sweet and flat. Bottling a carbonated sweetened cider is trickier if you're bottle conditioning (not kegging), but can be done with nonfermentable sweeteners.

After the cider is finished (4-6 months) and it's clear, it can be stabilized and bottled.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm not a fan of "death tablets" or buying enough splenda type products to sweeten 5 gallons.

I'm looking to keep it simple and as always:
If you make it yourself it will taste great!

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin18 View Post
Thanks SirFizzle! I suppose then I would be leaning towards a sweeter cider. I'd like to carbonate it as well. I'm not quite sure how much priming sugar to use for this step. My past experience has been with using the Coopers kit, which utilizes carbonation drops. Basically a drop a bottle was that was required. I'd like to try something a little more advanced than that. Some of the cider posts I've seen have recommended using corn sugar for this step. Any suggestions?

Would you have any basic reciepe suggestions that I could try?
If you want sweet and fizzy and want to bottle with basic equipment, don't use death tablets after fermenting...you need the yeast around to carbonate with drops or cornsugar.

This limits your backsweetner to nonfermentables, like splenda or something similar. (or perhaps complex sugars like lactose, etc.)
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Well, most people don't use a recipe for cider. Cider is tough to "clone" though. The key to those commercial ciders is the mix of apples they have available, so we'll never know how to clone them.

A good tasting fresh cider will make good hard cider, though. I like to use potassium metabisulfite (campden tablets) to kill wild yeast and bacteria and then 12 hours later add some pectic enzyme (to help it clear) and then 12 hours later add some yeast. Any good quality wine or cider yeast will work. (Check out some of the sticky threads on the cider experiments for specific yeast strains and results).

The most important thing is sanitation. The carboy, airlock, bung, tubing, etc should all be sanitized before using.

After the cider is fermented, you can then bottle it dry and flat, dry and bubbly, or sweet and flat. Bottling a carbonated sweetened cider is trickier if you're bottle conditioning (not kegging), but can be done with nonfermentable sweeteners.

After the cider is finished (4-6 months) and it's clear, it can be stabilized and bottled.
yooper do you always use metabisulfite? It's strange my wife seems to have allergic reactions to some wines. I'm not sure I want to chance it.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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It doesn't hurt to use metabisulfite, however if you are careful and use pasteurized juice you should have no problems not using it. My wife is allergic to it also and I have been able to not use it and things turn out fine. You just need to be really good at sanitation and keeping your oxygen contamination to a minimum.

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Last edited by lapaglia; 11-03-2008 at 09:13 PM. Reason: removed bad suggestion of recipe.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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Warning, I am not trying to be an ass or offend anyone.

If you are going for a woodchuck "clone" definitely don't try apfelwein, in my opinion anyways. Apfelwein will finish at almost twice the abv of a woodchuck and is very very dry, where woodchuck is incredibly sweet.

I would go a simple cider. If you are worried about sulfites and your wife's allergies, it can be done without it, but they do help to prevent oxidation as lapaglia already said. As far as a recipe? I say stick with yooper's suggestion. Just cider and yeast, and if you are able to get pectic enzyme some of that for good measure. It helps to break the pectins in the juice to prevent cloudiness later on. Pick up any wine or cider yeast (go with the dry stuff, its cheap and produces excellent results) pitch it, with or without rehydrating and you should be good to go.

Once your cider + yeast is done, it will be dry. Your options then are to either kill off the yeast chemically and add any sweetener you want, this will force you into bottling it still. Or you can sweeten it with Stevia, Splenda, Lactose or another nonfermentable sugar I can't think of. With those you would still be able to prime with 1 oz of fermentable sugar per gallon and get sweet sparkling brew.

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Last edited by Tusch; 11-03-2008 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapaglia View Post
It doesn't hurt to use metabisulfite, however if you are careful and use pasteurized juice you should have no problems not using it. My wife is allergic to it also and I have been able to not use it and things turn out fine. You just need to be really good at sanitation and keeping your oxygen contamination to a minimum.
cool..Yeah I get paranoid with sanitation.
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