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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Farmers market cider or apple juice
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:01 PM   #1
Urkelbot
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Default Farmers market cider or apple juice

I am new to homebrewing and have brewed a couple batches of hard cider using unpasteurized cider I can get at the farmers market for 8$ a gallon. I have been pleased with the results so far. They freeze it and sell it year round. The cider is really good on its own better than anything you can find at the grocery store.

I see most recipes on here just call for apple juice or store bought cider.

Is there a big difference in the final product between a quality fresh cider or store bought apple juice?


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Old 07-22-2013, 09:51 PM   #2
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I've only used store bought juice, but I've tasted hard cider from a nearby orchard. I must say the stuff from the orchard is much better. The flavor is infinitely more complex due to the variety of apples he uses. So why do I continue to use store bought juice? Economics. At $4 per gallon, I can make twice as much.


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Old 07-22-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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I have used both and prefer real cider... I just tastes better IMO.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:37 PM   #4
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Fresh juice or apples from local farmers whenever possible.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:58 PM   #5
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I have experimented with several batches of "Apfelwein", only using store bought el-cheapo apple juice (about 4.30 USD per gallon). My obvservations have been:

- start at 1066 and cold crash at 1020, excellent apple taste: just as good as any commercial cider I've ever had IMO

- start at 1080 and cold crash at 1000, can't taste much apple but still not bad (better than most white wines from grape)

If you've got money to burn, I suppose there are a lot worse things you could spend it on than 8 bucks a gallon apple juice... But the fact of the matter is that neither one of these juices are so-called "cider" juices. Cider apples are not really tasty enough for human consumption; they are quite bitter and sharp. But they are supposed to make excellent cider. People don't grow them except for the sole purpose of fermentation, so you won't be finding them at the farmer's market or the supermarket. They can be found in special extract kits, though. One is called, surprisingly enough, "Make your own cider", from England.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:55 PM   #6
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I've recently done a batch of apfelwein and a batch of cider practically side-by-side. I used Montrachet wine yeast. The Apfelwein started at 1.066, and the cider started at 1.059. Both were fermented dry to about 0.998, then backsweetened when ready to drink. I have to say the cider keeps more of the tartness, and is just more of a complex flavour than the apfelwein when sweetened, and the wife like the cider much better as well, and I agree.

In my opinion, the apfelwein is better than the cider as a dry wine, and is much cheaper (One of the grocery stores near me has apple juice on for $3.50 per 3.5 litres...a buck a gallon...as their regular price). Because of this, I will continue to make it on a regular basis.

The cider is more expensive ($6.99/gallon), but my wife likes it better, so it will still be made, but less frequently. My father-in-law knows a guy that sells cider at $3.50/gallon in the fall if you bring your own jugs, so I'll likely pick up 15 or 20 gallons at that point!


Hopefully my cider-induced rambling can help someone!
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witz87 View Post
I've recently done a batch of apfelwein and a batch of cider practically side-by-side. I used Montrachet wine yeast. The Apfelwein started at 1.066, and the cider started at 1.059. Both were fermented dry to about 0.998, then backsweetened when ready to drink. I have to say the cider keeps more of the tartness, and is just more of a complex flavour than the apfelwein when sweetened, and the wife like the cider much better as well, and I agree.

In my opinion, the apfelwein is better than the cider as a dry wine, and is much cheaper (One of the grocery stores near me has apple juice on for $3.50 per 3.5 litres...a buck a gallon...as their regular price). Because of this, I will continue to make it on a regular basis.

The cider is more expensive ($6.99/gallon), but my wife likes it better, so it will still be made, but less frequently. My father-in-law knows a guy that sells cider at $3.50/gallon in the fall if you bring your own jugs, so I'll likely pick up 15 or 20 gallons at that point!


Hopefully my cider-induced rambling can help someone!


You're comparing apples to oranges. The higher the original gravity, the longer the aging time required; using expensive juice is not going to help you get better tasting booze faster.

Terminology: Unfermented, squeezed apples is apple juice, regardless of whether it's filtered or unfiltered - it's just apple juice. Unfermented apple juice IS NOT cider; fermented apple juice IS cider - black and white. That terminology will solidly serve one well on 95% of this planet, and the remaining 5% are not even in consensus with one another.

There is no difference between Apfelwein and cider. Apfelwein is a German language word that means cider (fermented apple juice) - nothing more, nothing less. The fact that Edwort sold the exotic term "Apfelwein" to the North American homebrew crowd does not make the result from the recipe anything other than cider, pure and simple. It's the same recipe that people have been making for at least a thousand years. Honestly, with billions of people on the planet, billions of apples, quadtrillion googlezillions of yeast cells, and refined sugar having been available for about 1000 years it would have required divine intervention for Apfelwein not to have occured until Edwort wrote a post on this forum circa 2007.

Of course you will retain more of a complex flavor when you start with a lesser gravity. You can ferment two batches of apple juice, side by side, one with half a kilo of sugar and one with a kilo of sugar. When they finish, the one that started with half a kilo of sugar will taste much better than the one that started with a kilo of sugar. That's true unless you are aging the higher gravity batch for several months - the higher the original gravity, the longer the aging time. That's why most beer only needs a few weeks aging, but if you make an 11% ABV doppelbock then it will need a few months aging.

Expensive apple juice vs el cheapo apple juice, no matter. You can ferment Amarone grapes starting at 1110, and Thompson red grapes from the supermarket at 1060, do a taste test right after fermentation is finished - of course the el cheapo Thompson wine will taste better.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:46 AM   #8
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A good quality blend of fresh is always better than any blend of cooked.


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