I recently had some startling success with an apple cider and figured I'd share with those out there crippled by space or Mr Beer syndrome.
I ready the "Basic Apple Cider" thread and being a fan of experimentation and cider I started musing a bit.
I dont have a lot of room for brewing and I've never brewed outside the Mr Beer universe. I'm all about "on the cheap" and "do-it-yourself" and got an idea on how to brew some cider with limited expense and space.
When I brew Mr Beer batches I always buy a 2.5gal jug of spring water, the one with the built in spigot. Got me thinking that theres not much difference between that and the Mr Beer fermenter. I have a batch of King's Nectar going which is alleged to be a recipe based off the spectrograph analysis of clay beer vessels in King Solomon's tomb. Without a fermenter and a desire to make a cider I put 2 and 2 together. I would use the leftover water jug as a fermenter.
So I drilled some holes in the handle of the 2.5gal water jug and used that as the air lock. Any dust that gets in should, more or less, settle IN the handle rather than the brew. If it fails, meh, lost some apple juice, lol. Then I cut a 3"x5" hole in the top so I could pour in organic apple juice in (my wife's influence).
I would do my experiment in a 1 gal batch, no sense in going for more without guaranteed success. I boiled about a cup of brown sugar into a quart of apple juice and added that to my new fermenter and emptied the rest of the juice in. Then I I added a pack of ale yeast that I got from Mr Beer for 79 cents (on the cheap experiment remember). Duct tape the plastic cut out of the hole in place and voila! MacGuyver's apple cider project begins.
My trials and tribulations of resurrecting my cider from the brinks of apple vinegar probably belong in a different thread but suffice to say it work like a charm. Ten bottles of some mighty fine cider. I'm so proud!
So if you've got some wacky idea for a brew, limited budget and space this is a pretty good method. If it fails chuck the whole thing and smile that you learned a thing or two. If not, share!
To your health! Slainte!