Hello, ive actually been reading these boards for several years and now i feel i know enough to contribute instead of asking a bunch of newb questions, so ive decided to join.
i decided to put my introduction here since this is the only place ill look or post.
i started brewing beer probably 6 years ago and put ~250 gallons under my belt. used midwest extract kits at first then did mini mash kits for a bit then did kind of a hybrid technique where i tried to fit as much grain into my 5 gal brew pot as i could, keeping the grain in a sack, running water through the sack to rinse the grains till i made up the difference from taking the grain out then bumping up the gravity with a quart of extract. Its kinda like a mini mash but maximizing the amount grain you can use without going with a full blown all grain setup.
ill have to say that while the extract kits were very good, everytime i went for a better method my beers markedly improved. never did make the jump to all grain because i coudnt justify working all day for just 2 cases of beer, im lazy.
then about this time 2 falls ago a buddy brought over a sixpack of hardcore cider because he didnt like it, i tried it and liked it then marbles started rolling around in my head. there are literally tons and tons of apples that go to waste every year in my town. i figured cheap good booze, cant go wrong. so i bought 25 pound press, read all i could and picked a bunch of apples. brewed about 35 gallons. it turned out so good i will do it every fall until i die.
the main problem the first year was crushing the apples, i put a 10 pound weight on top of 2 2x4s and crushed them by hand. that was too much work, im lazy. so i built a grinder for the next year, cost me about a hundred bucks to build and worth every penny, it will grind a 5 gallon pail of the hardest crab apples in about 20 seconds, it took me 25 minutes to do the same the year before. ill try to put up a video of it after i get done making cider of it this fall. i expanded my carboy collection with 2 15s to 70 gallons last fall and am getting two more 15s this year. you can only make cider once a year the way i do it.
my methods are much different from the resident expert on this forum, i make a dry heavily carbonated cider from a huge variety of apples (20+) including lots and lots of crab apples, i use sulphite although im going to try some without this year and i bottle it all up.
well thats enough typing for now but im sure ill be posting here frequently.