Apple Cider with Fresh Apples?

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SailorJerry

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Hey everyone

We have about 8 apple trees and it's getting to that time of the year that we are going to start picking and processing those apples (apple pies, apple butter, applesauce), and I'm thinking hard cider. But....but, I have no idea how to do it. Can someone give me a run down on how it works? I understand the brewing process, but I've never dabbled into cider. I see that it can be relatively easy with juices and such, but I think it'd be fun to try it with actual apples.

Is it too much work to hassle with or would it be worth our time?
Very firm apples, very sweet, pushing into a hair sour at times (which I love).
 

Mainer

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SailorJerry

SailorJerry

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A lot doesn't begin to describe how many apples we pick every year. I think we put up 50+ pies last year, and got tired after that and stopped. We could have put several more than that up but at some point you can only eat so much and we don't like to be wasteful!
 

jodell

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Wish I lived in Iowa now...im about to start making cider and would love to press them, apples are to expensive here though for me so I'll stick with juice
 

Chalkyt

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I understand your problem. We also have eight apple trees and started making cider to use the surplus. Beware! The cider has now taken over thanks to all the good advice from this forum. I just replied to Whitetail (above) re the process I go through, and the outcome is "ÿummy".

So far I have juiced my apples using a Breville heavy duty domestic juicer for 2 or 3 gallons in one gallon carboys. This involves coreing and quartering the apples (mainly to chop out any coddling moth bits), but next fall I am going to try grinding and pressing the apples.

Anyhow FYI, here are some of the numbers that I work with (in metric with the rough imperial conversions)

20 apples produce a litre of juice (about 100 for a gallon) with the juicer.
I may get more with grinding and pressing.

The SG of juice from different apples varies quite a bit and is generally high enough to make a powerful cider without the need for sugar. Mine are...
Crab Apples 1.080, Pippins 1.072, Red Delicious 1.060,, Granny Smith 1.055, Pomme de Neige 1.052.

My best results have been from EC1118 and Nottingham yeasts. Blends are better tasting than single variety (someone on the forum claimed that single variety cider is like listening to Beethoven played on a trumpet). I am not sure that I completely agree, but I did find that Red Delicious on its own was fairly tasteless. So my blends usually have a starting SG of 1.050+ which results in something like 6.5%+ ABV.

My current favourite is 2:1 Granny Smith/Pippin with EC1118 for a light summer drop.

Do invest in a hydrometer and autosyphon and treat your gear to frequent baths in PBW and Starsan or similar.

I bottle carbonate to about 2.5 volumes of CO2 which gives a nice "mouthfeel"without being too fizzy. Brewersfriend.com has an excellent CO2 priming calulator.

Enjoy the ride.
 

gregbathurst

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A good place to start is Claude Jolicoeur's book "the new cidermakers handbook". If you have 8 trees it would be well worth investing, he goes through the whole process.
 

Treeguy

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Hard cider can be extremely easy if you're willing to try wild yeast - it's more variable than commercial yeast, but easier, and can be quite good. Once you have fresh cider (grind & press apples), all you need to do is pour it in a container with an air lock and leave it until it stops bubbling and starts to clarify (usually 1-2 months). Add up to 1 cup of sugar (white or brown) per gallon of cider before fermentation to bump up the final alcohol content. Bottle it if you want (flavor generally improves with age!), or store it in the fridge and drink sooner. Enjoy!
(I like adding a bit of sugar to each bottle to carbonate it, but that's optional & more complicated... Some people also prefer to add some non-fermentable sweetener like stevia or xylitol, as fully fermented cider is usually quite dry, and other flavorings can help make it more apple-y etc. But I was trying to explain the simplest method - I've made several very drinkable batches this way!)
 
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SailorJerry

SailorJerry

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Well, we put up 46 apple pies and let a local winery take a few 5 gallon buckets full. I'll have to see what's left on the trees next time I'm out there.
 

Elfman42

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I have apples from a friend; so far I've got 5 Litres (quarts) of juice, using a Saftborn steam juicer. By the time I'm done I expect to have about 15L (quarts), which will go into my carboy with ale yeast. I've used champagne yeast in the past, using store bought juice but this will be my first go-round with 'fresh' juice. I'll share my results here as they happen. Cheers!
 
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