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What is cider?

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Michael_Currie

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I remember as a really little boy getting apple cider but not sure what it is really. Just apples brewed in heat or something?
 

Sarra King

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Yeah, sorta.

Kind of like a alcoholic apple juice but with a warmer rounder feel. There are quite a few to choose from so take the plunge and give it a whirl.

I like the variety called "Hardcore Cider".

Ciders are generally fairly higher in abv. than most regular beers in the supermarket.

If you don't like it you could always UPS it to me!
 

sause

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My brother likes woodchuck and i would like to make some for him do most local brew shops carry what is needed to make cider?
 
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Michael_Currie

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Yea are there any good websites out there for directions on how to make it and what is needed?
 

Janx

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It was an annual tradition to make cider with me and some friends of mine for many years. Here's what we did.

BTW, this refers to hard cider...fermented cider. Apple cider is just raw unfiltered apple juice.

We went out and found the best tasting, ripest apples we could find. You want a good part of your cider to be made up of sweet apples, which may not have the most interesting flavor. Golden Delicious is great. It's a really high sugar apple, even if it is boring. So, about 2/3 of your juice should be good high sugar apples.

Then we looked for apples with a really good flavor. Something like Jonathans always worked great for us, but we used Galas and basically whatever we could find in the many orchards around here. The remaining 1/3 was made up of these tasty apples, the exact ratio always determined by much debating and tasting of apples ;)

This little cider-making pamphlet we found once said you should rest the apples for a week or so. We sometimes did this.

Then we took them to a friend's house where there was an apple press. We usually had a full-size pickup truck completely full of apples mounded up. We'd spend the day pressing apples and collecting the juice. Also drinking tons of great organic apple cider.

We collected it into pre-cleaned, pre-sanitized fermenting containers. Then we took a starter made previously from a gallon of organic apple cider bought at the store (organic is important...sulfides or anything will kill your yeast) and a package of champagne yeast. No boiling. No other ingredients.

We dumped the yeast starter into the pressed cider. That was pretty much all of the "brewing" process ;)

We always made it during apple season here in Northern California, so that's late October or so. We found that at Christmas, it was a delightful, semi-sweet drink that was easy to put away a lot of fast. EVERYONE liked our cider at Christmas. We always had to set some aside so as not to drink it all.

After Christmas, it got a bit less tasty for a while as it continued to ferment and dry. By the age of about 8 months, though, it was an incredible, dry light beverage, with no sweetness, but the appley qualities of all the "flavor" apples came back out. It was potent and wonderful, and at one year was one of the best and simplest homebrewed beverages I've made.

To recap:
Apples - free in my case...maybe you'll need to buy as much tasty organic apple cider as you want to ferment.
Champagne yeast (with a starter made) - $.90

Add a couple of the funnest weekends spent in the year to pick all the apples, crush all the apples, and rack the 80-100 gallons we'd make, and I'd consider cider one of the simplest joys that the world of fermented beverages has to offer the homebrewer. The fun and simplicity of making it is great and the results are incredible. Especially if you have access to apples, make cider with some friends :)

Keep it simple...

Janx
 

the possum

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I'm really enjoying my latest batch of cider right now. I had one batch go bad on me, though. Still haven't figured that one out.

Janx-
It always seems my biggest problem is bottling. Since I work for a farm supply company, we get busy again (after harvest) just about the same time I need to tend my brew. I only made 5 gallons this time, and put it in 20 oz plastic soda bottles, and it took me all evening to wash them. Do you even bottle it, or just drink it right out of the carboy? I can't imagine washing enough bottles for 100 gallons! :p It's pleasant as a still wine too, but I prefer to trap the carbonation.
 

Brewman

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Wow....... this looks pretty easy.......

more new fermentation to play with this year! :)

I think I am giong to try this very soon to have for the summer or late year camping trips!

Ohh so could I just buy like a 1 gallon bottle in jug and add the yeast and put a trap on the top?
 

NUCC98

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Brewman said:
Wow....... this looks pretty easy.......

more new fermentation to play with this year! :)

I think I am giong to try this very soon to have for the summer or late year camping trips!

Ohh so could I just buy like a 1 gallon bottle in jug and add the yeast and put a trap on the top?

Just make sure it's not pasteurized...cider from an orchard or roadside stand work best, I think.
 

Janx

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Brewman said:
Ohh so could I just buy like a 1 gallon bottle in jug and add the yeast and put a trap on the top?
Yep. It makes brewing beer look like quantum physics ;)

A buddy of mine used to add a bunch of sugar to his and then serve it sweet around Haloween time. It already packed a punch and tasted great, but what a hangover. I'll take all apples in mine ;)
 

Janx

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the possum said:
Do you even bottle it, or just drink it right out of the carboy? I can't imagine washing enough bottles for 100 gallons! :p It's pleasant as a still wine too, but I prefer to trap the carbonation.
Kegs...lots of kegs.

I prefer it fizzy, myself. We would just keg it up as needed, storing it in the carboy until then. Bright it up just like beer, and you're all set.

We did bottle some on an as-needed basis to take to friends and family and such, but we just used a counterpressure bottler off the kegs to do a few at a time whenever we needed to.
 

smoothak

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I have never made cider before. Lets say I have a one gallon jug of unpasteurized cider. How much yeast do I put it? What type of yeast do I buy? Can I just open the top, dump it in, and put the top back on, or do I need a special container? How long do I let it sit? Is there a certain location (out of sunlight, etc.) that matters? Temperature?

Thanks for your help.
 

thorgrimnr

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smoothak said:
I have never made cider before. Lets say I have a one gallon jug of unpasteurized cider. How much yeast do I put it? What type of yeast do I buy? Can I just open the top, dump it in, and put the top back on, or do I need a special container? How long do I let it sit? Is there a certain location (out of sunlight, etc.) that matters? Temperature?

Thanks for your help.
1- 5 gram pouch of champagne yeast.
1- rubber bung
1-air lock assembly

Total Cost excluding juice $3.00 maybe

Take the lid off the juice, to decompress the bottle. Put the lid on. Shake the juice jug for about a minute to oxygenate the juice. Take the lid off and pour your dry yeast on the juice. It will form a tiny floating island and sink into the juice in about 3 minutes. Put air lock on. Let sit at 78 F or 22 C for:

2 weeks for super dry 9% dead 'ard cider. Less time fermenting will yield a sweeter cider if that is your preference.

Providing you selected the 2 week option. You can now bottle the stuff.

You like sparkling or still cider?

For sparkling, add 1/2 teaspoon of corn sugar or white sugar if none other is available to each bottle. Add about 1/2 ounce of cool boiled water to each bottle and swirl it around to dissolve the sugar. Syphon the juice out of the little carboy into each bottle filling it about an inch an a half from the neck.
Shake each bottle and let stand for 2-3 weeks untill plastic bottles are hard and cannot be squeezed. After about 6 weeks the cider will drop clear or just go for it now, like traditional English farmhouse cider.

Still cider is just a matter of bottling it without the sugar primer.

This is the dead basics.

At any rate you will want to move the cider off the "lees".Lees is the finished yeast cake you see sitting at the bottom of your jug.

Doing this will ensure your finished cider doesn't get polluted from the spent yeast, but you could leave it sit there for about 3 1/2 weeks before you need to worry too much about it.

Moving cider off the lees and letting it sit in another glass car boy is called putting your cider into secondary....if you already brew you know all this and I'm just being annoying....SO.....

let us know how it goes and if you have any more questions.
 

lacopa

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thorgrimnr said:
1- 5 gram pouch of champagne yeast.
1- rubber bung
1-air lock assembly

Total Cost excluding juice $3.00 maybe

Take the lid off the juice, to decompress the bottle. Put the lid on. Shake the juice jug for about a minute to oxygenate the juice. Take the lid off and pour your dry yeast on the juice. It will form a tiny floating island and sink into the juice in about 3 minutes. Put air lock on. Let sit at 78 F or 22 C for:

2 weeks for super dry 9% dead 'ard cider. Less time fermenting will yield a sweeter cider if that is your preference.

Providing you selected the 2 week option. You can now bottle the stuff.

You like sparkling or still cider?

For sparkling, add 1/2 teaspoon of corn sugar or white sugar if none other is available to each bottle. Add about 1/2 ounce of cool boiled water to each bottle and swirl it around to dissolve the sugar. Syphon the juice out of the little carboy into each bottle filling it about an inch an a half from the neck.
Shake each bottle and let stand for 2-3 weeks untill plastic bottles are hard and cannot be squeezed. After about 6 weeks the cider will drop clear or just go for it now, like traditional English farmhouse cider.

Still cider is just a matter of bottling it without the sugar primer.

This is the dead basics.

At any rate you will want to move the cider off the "lees".Lees is the finished yeast cake you see sitting at the bottom of your jug.

Doing this will ensure your finished cider doesn't get polluted from the spent yeast, but you could leave it sit there for about 3 1/2 weeks before you need to worry too much about it.

Moving cider off the lees and letting it sit in another glass car boy is called putting your cider into secondary....if you already brew you know all this and I'm just being annoying....SO.....

let us know how it goes and if you have any more questions.
I'm trying to make my first batch.

This quote was very helpful to me. I'm following it as closely as I can except that I already started before I found this forum. Next batch will be as per these instructions.

So far I've gotten a bottle of juice and dumped bakers' yeast into it. Then I let it sit with the cap on loosely for a long time. I tasted it and it seems to be fermenting slowly, and carbonating. Any suggestions now that I've skipped all the important stuff? Will it kill me to drink it?

Where can I get a rubber bung and airlock? I live in the hicks, so a mail or internet order is ideal.
 

thorgrimnr

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lacopa said:
I'm trying to make my first batch.

This quote was very helpful to me. I'm following it as closely as I can except that I already started before I found this forum. Next batch will be as per these instructions.

So far I've gotten a bottle of juice and dumped bakers' yeast into it. Then I let it sit with the cap on loosely for a long time. I tasted it and it seems to be fermenting slowly, and carbonating. Any suggestions now that I've skipped all the important stuff? Will it kill me to drink it?

Where can I get a rubber bung and airlock? I live in the hicks, so a mail or internet order is ideal.

Well if you haven't yet found an online supplier of an air lock or rubber bung, I have heard of people using a clean bit of cotton wool sort of propped in the opening of the jug. What you really want to do is allow gasses out and not have any free floating nonsense getting in. The cotton wool will work because the force of the gas leaving the bottle can pass through the air in the cotton fibres and stuff can't fall in. It's not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

You will want to watch( taste ) your cider fairly closely. As feremntation slows and it's open to the atmosphere, it will eventually become apple vinegar. So if you're cider tastes very sour, like vinegar, well I'm afraid it's vinegar.

I've also not used brewers yeast so don't know much about the results, but others in this forum have some experience...

Look under the link called BREWING ACCESORIES. I've not ordered from these folks but it will give you some idea.

http://www.homebrewheaven.com/
 

kid mode

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NUCC98 said:
Just make sure it's not pasteurized...cider from an orchard or roadside stand work best, I think.
Hi, I'm new here. I only brew cider and though pasteurized juice might not be as good, you're gonna have an impossible time finding unpasteurized juice in the store. As long as there are no preservatives, it will ferment and make a nice beverage.
Also, in responce to the earlier thread of carbonating with just apples. I just fnished a batch where I primed the bottles with fresh juice and it turned out just right. I was very pleased. I never got consistent results with added sugar.
 

kilroy

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Hmmm Fresh apples to prime the Carbonation - very interesting idea. will have to try that in my next batch.

Thanks

Also - an online reseller that I have had decent luck with is www.homebrewit.com , also just ordered some stuff from wineandbeerfactory.com

Try them.

Andrew
 
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