(Basic How To) Hard Cider Thread - Home Brew Forums
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:36 PM   #1
New2HomeBrew
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I am new to brewing and want to make a good hard cider. I noticed that there is not an abundance of information online on how to actually make hard cider.

I thought it would be good to start a How To thread for those us of who want to delve into making a cider for the first time, but have little to no idea where to begin.

Can those of you who have made great cider before help a brother out:

1) What are the basic steps?
2) Is there a boil required? If not required, has anyone tried boiling?
3) What is your experience with ingredients and different yeasts?
4) Where do you go to get your juice, and what are the pitfalls to look out for when store shopping for juice?

Share your expertise with the rest of us Noobs.
Cheers

Note to mod: this might be a good sticky thread




 
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:52 PM   #2
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1) What are the basic steps?

Buy quality apple juice - it can be from concentrate, but it CANNOT have preservatives added.

Buy some brewer's yeast. There are specialty strains for cider. White wine yeast, clean ale yeast, and champagne yeast will also work.

Sanitize all your equipment.

Pour the juice into the fermenter. A little splashing is ok (and even desired for aeration).

Stir in any adjuncts (additional sugar or spices). If you don't have a recipe to follow, skip this step.

Add the yeast and affix an airlock.

Wait.

Bottle or keg when the specific gravity stops changing (around 1.010 or less).

2) Is there a boil required? If not required, has anyone tried boiling?

None required. Avoid boiling juice. If you want to use heat to pasteurize the juice prior to fermentation, bring it up to 180 degrees F for 10-30 minutes.

3) What is your experience with ingredients and different yeasts?

I only make Ed's Apfelwein. It's quite tasty if you like a dry cider, and it's really easy: 5 gallons of apple juice, 2 lbs of dextrose, Montrachet dry yeast.

5) Where do you go to get your juice, and what are the pitfalls to look out for when store shopping for juice?

Sam's Club is a good place to get bulk juice. I buy the Maker's Mark brand (Sam's store brand).
NO PRESERVATIVES! Don't buy juice that has potassium sorbate, anything benzoate, or other chemical names you aren't familiar with. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is acceptable.


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Old 07-29-2007, 06:01 PM   #3
New2HomeBrew
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Why avoid boiling juice? be patient I'm just a noob. I am looking to make a sweeter cider kind of like Wyders.

This may be a silly question, but has anyone ever tried to hop a cider?

 
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:16 PM   #4
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boiling juice sets pectin which leaves a hazy final product.
i have used cinnamon in a cider but have no idea what hops would do.
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
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I make hard ciders but my wife does not like them dry. You want to ferment to dry and then you can back sweeten or carb it if you need to. If you want it still but want the sweetness you can use splenda and it won't effect the aging. Use the splenda at the end by the way.

There are several different ways to make the ciders. I like a touch of cinnamon for the batches that come off for the winter months, the hot hard cider is great! Check the cider receipes section and you can find some more info. Yuri_Rage is on the button. I use the Maker's Mark Juice also! Let the fermentation sit until clear just leave it alone until clear and then rack it and let it age a bit. It gets better with time also. I bottled in 2 months and trying to let it age but the bottles just keep jumping in my hand for some reason!
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:59 PM   #6
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Cider is never boiled for hard cider. It produces a 'cooked' taste. If you go the traditional route which basically relies on the yeasts and such that are on the skin of the apples to ferment the cider, then cooking would also kill those. So do not boil your cider.
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01
Cider is never boiled for hard cider. It produces a 'cooked' taste. If you go the traditional route which basically relies on the yeasts and such that are on the skin of the apples to ferment the cider, then cooking would also kill those. So do not boil your cider.
I always assumed it didn't matter because apple juice is boiled down to make concentrate -- or do they use a different method to concentrate it? I suppose they could freeze the water out as if they were making applejack ...

in my case it doesn't matter at all because my apple trees are so wormy right now I won't touch the stuff until it's been through the canner. Maybe next year, after I've been keeping the apples picked up and trapping the codling moths for 12 months, it'll be different, but for now, it's applesauce-flavored cider for me ...

--Finn

 
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:29 PM   #8
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All of these recipes call for Apple juice. What about making a hard cider from apple cider when it is cheap in the fall?
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrey
All of these recipes call for Apple juice. What about making a hard cider from apple cider when it is cheap in the fall?
Meaning fresh/flash pasteurized apple squeezin's right out of an orchard, right? As opposed to Tree Top Clear Amber Super Filtered Frozen Concentrate?

Anyway, it should be just the same, only better tasting. If it's unpasteurized, you could have more issues with rogue yeast cultures, tho.

I get confused by the terms "cider" and "juice" when applied to apple products, seems like everybody has a different def. In the cold-drinx case at Slaveway they have "cider," which is filtered apple juice, and "juice" which is unfiltered. Both taste the same, meaning they taste like red delicious juice. Bleah.

Cheers!

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Old 07-31-2007, 06:33 PM   #10
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Just to throw this out, pasteurization occurs (there are several methods) at the highest around 250 F for about a fraction of a second, lower at about 161 F for about 15 seconds and low at 145 F for around 30 minutes. Boiling is at 212 F. These two differences should be noted as they will indeed produce different results.

I make my cider from my apples and from a farm (I don't get enough off the one tree), I leave it unpasteurized and use Campden and then ferment with an Ale yeast.

Evaporation need not take place at very high temperatures and can be accelerated by the use of air circulation, although I do not know the entire apple juice process.


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