Originally Posted by jflongo
If you are looking to make high ABV cider, then make a batch with white or brown sugar, get your OG to 1.080 or higher, then use wine yeast to bring it down to 1.000 or lower. Then you can take that, and put it in the freezer, then drain off the concentrate. Expect to lose around 1/2 of the volume. You can do this multiple times if you want, this is called freeze distillation. And you are making Apple Jack. You can easily get it around 20% ABV or higher doing this.
I think the idea of freezing the must (not the hard cider) is that if you allow the juice to begin to thaw and collect the liquid as it thaws then you are collecting a far higher concentration of the sugars (because much of what remains frozen is the water). In other words, while it is true that you are increasing the sugar content of the must you are also, gallon for gallon, increasing the apple flavor. If you simply added sucrose to the must to increase the sugar content, sure you can increase the ABV but you have done nothing to intensify the apple flavors. I have experimented with a tiny sample of apple juice and I was able to increase the gravity by almost 50 percent by freezing and drawing off the first liquid to thaw. But you "lose" a great deal of the volume of the juice.
This of course has nothing to do with distillation. You are freezing the must not the hard cider.