I was having trouble finding a good hard cider recipe for fresh apples. Using a modification of Yooper's crabapple wine prep and after consulting several cider recipes, I concocted the following recipe to make hard cider from some fresh apples picked on my wife's family farm. The apples were Liberty, and are very tart, but do have good residual sweetness as well. They make a great pie also, which I just feasted on for Thanksgiving The apples really are the key here, so make sure you get some good tart ones.
I made a 3 gallon batch, but modified this recipe to 1 gallon so you can adjust to whatever batch size you want.
SOUTH 40 CIDER
Yeast: Lalvin EC 1118
Yeast Starter: NO
Batch Size (Gallons): 1
Original Gravity: 1.065- 1.070
Final Gravity: .998
One gallon recipe
6 pounds tart apples (I used fresh-picked Liberty apples)
2 cans organic apple juice concentrate (I used Cascadian Farm brand)
1 campden tablet
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrients
Lalvin EC 1118 yeast
1/3 lb light brown sugar
1/6 lb honey
1. Wash and freeze the apples.
2. One day before you are ready to begin, remove apples from freezer and place in the refrigerator. 24 hours later they will be wrinkly and soft to the touch.
3. Place a mesh liner in your fermentation bucket, then add the apples. Using an empty wine bottle (sterilized inside/out), crush the apples, but do not cut or crush seeds. You will end up with what looks like fresh apple sauce with skins, seeds, and stems throughout.
4. Add enough water to cover apples in primary. Add 1 crushed campden tablet. Stir well. Cover loosely with a towel.
5. 12 hours later, add pectic enzyme and stir well.
6. At least 24 hour hours later (I waited 36 hours), dissolve the brown sugar and honey in water and add to the primary. Add the two cans of apple juice concentrate. Stir well and check gravity. The gravity should be around 1.065 - 1.070. Make sure there is enough water to bring just above one gallon in the primary, then add nutrient and wine yeast.
7. Stir daily for 5 days. You need to keep knocking down the cap that forms from all the apple debris. Keep the primary bucket loosely covered with a towel. Use a rubber band to keep the towel secure if you're paranoid.
8. On the 6th day, strain the apples by squeezing the mesh bag to get all the goodie out of the apples. Remove the bag and discard the apples.
9. Rack the cider into a secondary and top up to one gallon with water. Rack as needed every 30-45 days for desired clarity.
10. After at least 1 month in the secondary, bottle the cider. You can bottle flat or add a measured amount of priming sugar for sparkling cider. I'm considering priming half with brown sugar and leaving half flat, depending on how the taste is at bottling.
They cider should ferment to dry, which will leave you with a pretty stout cider.