Cider - where to start?

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MapleCrestBrew

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I am a novice brewer with four batches (red, summer wheat, Porter and pseudo-Oktoberfest ale) worth of experience. I have learned a great deal so far, but still have a long way to go.
It is autumn in Michigan and I have access to several local cider mills so I wanted to try making a hard cider. However, I really do not know where to start.

I have read many of the recipes, but not sure which is the right one for a novice. I originally wanted to have a cider ready for the holiday season, but based on what I have read it looks like fermentation and conditioning is recommended in terms of months rather then weeks. Is this true?

Any recommendations (recipe and steps) for a novice. Looking for a slightly sweet, crisp taste profile (would even go with spiced cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves etc. depending on fermentation time). I would prefer a carbonated cider, but again, looking for guidance from a seasoned vet.

Thank you
 

Pappers_

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The timeline depends upon the type of cider you want to do. A good online resource for new cider makers is www.makinghardcider.com

The quick ciders I make is a simple cider, what Ben Watson calls a 'draft style' cider - semi-dry (drier than Woodchuck but still with some apple sweetness), no additional sugars, and sparkling. http://www.singingboysbrewing.com/Apple-Cider.html
 

RobWalker

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Juice and yeast and not much else make the best cider imo. If you age for a good 2 months, you'll have a very drinkable cider. Stronger = longer. A nice 4-5%er will taste good quite fast. If you leave it longer, the taste will mellow and the fruitiness be more pronounced - dry ciders are great with a little time.

Make sure to campden your juice 24 hours before brewing to kill wild yeast. Aside from that, that's basically it!
 
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