Hello all, my first post here, just wanted to share my experience with this cider. I imagine this recipe appeals to first-timers because of its simplicity, so hopefully the below will be helpful. I do not claim that any of this is the best way or even an okay way to do things, but I'll tell you what I did, and what I got.
What I used:
5.25 gallons Great Value apple juice
Glass Carboy with stopper and water airlock
Funnel I made out of a two liter soda bottle
1 59oz bottle Simply Apple juice
~5.25 gallons worth of bottles, including crown top, twist top, Grolsch pop tops and .5-1 liter plastic soda bottles
Plastic pasta spoon
What I did:
Cleaned the Carboy, hydrometer, funnel, stopper and water lock with Easy Clean, letting it sit for about 30 min, then letting dry for a couple of days (I had to leave town, could have let dry for an hour or so)
Poured the juice into the carboy using the funnel, then pitched in the whole packet of yeast.
Put in the stopper, shook that badboy up for about a minute until the yeast was kind of suspended throughout the mixture.
Got an OG reading of 1.050 with my hydrometer (my apartment temp was 70F), then added the stopper and water lock (I used some Easy Clean solution in the lock).
Put into the closet and let sit for 18 days until the bubbles in the water lock were 15 seconds apart. The cider was extremely clear with about 3/4" layer of yeast on the bottom.
Filled bottling bucket with Easy Clean and used that to soak all the bottles, used my dishwasher as a drying rack. Also cleaned racking tube by priming with tapwater, then drawing Easy Clean into the tube and letting sit for a while in the bucket. Also cleaned spoon, turkey baster and hydrometer.
Took a baster-full of the cider and tasted, it was dry and champagney with a light apple flavor.
Racked the cider into bottling bucket and took reading with hydrometer, 1.010, approx. 5.25%. Added ~40oz of the Simply Apple and stirred with pasta spoon.
Primed the racking tube with tap water again to draw the cider from bottling bucket. Once full, added the "bottling button" (the thing that stops the flow from the tube unless you press down on the bottom of the bottle, no idea what it is called)
Filled up all the bottles including several soda bottles to periodically test carbonation. Put into closet to carb. It may take a few days for it to start, but when you start seeing a thin layer of yeast on the bottom, trust that it is carbing away. The plastic soda bottles are also easy to pinch and will become firmer.
Nice carbonation was reached 12 days after bottling. With a 16oz pour, there was a nice white head about an inch thick which quickly dissipated, but beverage remained sparkly and crisp until finished. Flavor was still dry, but had a more distinct apple flavor.
I would have made this slightly sweeter, probably by putting in the entire bottle of Simply Apple. I prefer dry cider, but this could have done with just a tiny but more
Clear soda bottles worked well (though I wouldn't use larger than 1 liter) and were and easy way to test the carbonation as it progressed.
I capped twist tops with a standard bottle capper without any problems. I only recommend that you make sure cap was secure by comparing the "teeth" to a capped crown top bottle.
I used Pappers' method
to pasteurize my bottles once they were finished. I found the cider to be just as nicely carbed as it was before, and I didn't have to cram my fridge or fear bottle bombs.
Thanks to BrewinJack for this slick and easy recipe!