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Ever make hard cider?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by bpe5008, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. bpe5008

    bpe5008 TSD Blackbelt

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    Anyone ever make hard cider before? I plan on attempting it, and would love to hear your tips, tricks, and expieriences involved.
     
  2. Slackinoff

    Slackinoff

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    Made some earlier this evening. I used musselman apple cider and threw in a measure of everclear after it got down to drinkable temp. USMCsilver suggests tossin in a cinnamon stick for good measure. Just make sure your ratio of cinnamon sticks to everclear is one to one, that way you can keep track.:supergrin:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012

  3. Gonzoso

    Gonzoso

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    If you want to make real hard cider you have to ferment it.

    Go to your local orchard and buy 2 gallons or so of UN PASTUERIZED cider.

    Buy 1-2 pounds of brown sugar. Heat cider gently in a pot to no more than 130 degrees f. This allows sugar to dissolve, cinnamon sticks to add flavor without cooking and seperating the stuff in the cider.

    Let cider cool to room temp.

    Add brewers yeast.

    Put into a carboy or airtight container with an airlock on top(the brewers kind with water in it that allows air to escape)

    Put it somewhere out of direct sunlight and watch it begin to bubble and go crazy.

    Let it sit 2 months.

    It should be done bubbling.

    Take 4 half gallon wine or beer bottles with screw top lids and sterilize them.

    Add 1 tbsp of sugar to each jug and then add cider, shaking to dissolve sugar.

    Cap tightly and let sit >1 week. This will allow secondary fermentation of the cider, causing it to become naturally carbonated.

    The resulting brew will taste like apple cider champagne. There will be a hint of alcohol flavor to it. Don't let this fool you, this is a potent beverage. If you drink it as the taste leads you too consume it, you will soon be very inebriated.
     
  4. Gonzoso

    Gonzoso

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    Notes:
    Everything you use should be sterile. Use bleach and lots of water.

    Keep in mind some liquids can escape and make a mess during primary fermentation, put the vessel somewhere safe like on a tray, not over a cherished family heirloom quilt.

    Bottles can explode during secondary fermentation if you use a too thing bottle, too much sugar, or a damaged bottle. Store them for this accordingly. I store them in a shower. I've not had them explode, but you can't be too careful.
     
  5. bpe5008

    bpe5008 TSD Blackbelt

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    Thanks a lot for the info gonzoso! I will definitly take all of that into account. I do plan on fermenting, and I have a 5 gallon carboy but am thinking about getting something smaller to start off with so if I mess up I don't mess up 5 gallons worth of the stuff lol.

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    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  6. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

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    A super easy way to try it out is buy a 1 gallon bottle of cider straight off the press at your local orchard. Let it sit. The natural yeasts on the apples will kick it hard in a couple weeks. Or you can buy a gallon of Knudsens cider and pitch in some champagne yeast. No need to heat or sterilize anything since it's already pasteurized.

    What you wind up with won't be super epic though. Regular (non hard) cider apples don't have the proper balance of acid and tannins for the flavor to stand up to the alcohol and it tends to taste thin. Research "bitter sweet" and "bitter tart" cider apples to learn more about getting the best flavor.

    We used to brew about 10 gallons a week, beer, mead, several times we tried ciders. We eventually gave up on the ciders because we didn't have access to the right apples. The hammer heads back during prohibition went all through the country tearing out cider apple trees and only now are they making a come back. WSU has a big project to rediscover the old cultivars.
     
  7. Gonzoso

    Gonzoso

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    Yeast
    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/homebrewing-ingredients/beer-yeast/mead-cider.html

    Airlock(buy 2-3, they're cheap and fragile)
    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/airlock-3-piece-type.html

    Vessel
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Fold-A-Carrier-Water-Carrier-2-5-Gallon/dp/B001H3NIOY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1349761364&sr=8-3&keywords=fold+a+carrier"]Amazon.com: Reliance Fold-A-Carrier Water Carrier-2.5 Gallon (Clear, Small): Sports & Outdoors@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RgMDKDwLL.@@AMEPARAM@@41RgMDKDwLL[/ame]

    So for 25 bucks plus cider and sugar you can make a mean batch up.
     
  8. Gonzoso

    Gonzoso

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    This would be weak because you're not adding enough sugar to properly feed the yeast to make the alcohol. Also you're counting on good yeast being in there. For a few dollars you can get yeast and sugar and a fermenting container and do it proper. Otherwise just enjoy the cider alcohol free.:supergrin:
     
  9. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

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    Originally, back in the 17 and 1800's, whenever the literature referred to "cider" they were talking about what I mentioned in method 1. Low alcohol & naturally fermented. It was a safe way to get fluids when the water was suspect. Different from the modern interpretation.

    My buddy worked for an organic cider outfit in Zillah. Part of his job was doing the 2x weekly deliveries and pulls. He got to take the "expired" cider home. :supergrin: A perfect drink with about 2-3% alcohol. Refreshing.

    Good airborne yeast is what has worked for thousands of years. It still works for Trappist monks and vintners everywhere.
     
  10. DWavs

    DWavs Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, that much brown sugar would take it out of the cider category and into the apple wine category. Anything over 6ish percent alcohol has left the realms of cider.

    Also, if you want to do any backsweetening, you need to add a non fermentable sugar like spelnda, etc or you will kick the fermentation back in. Unless you are gonna could crash it.

    That being said, I have 3 cases of hard cider and 4 cases of apfelwein bottled from last fall. It is just now starting to come around and tastes mighty fine. Some of it was backsweetened and some I left dry. I keep an ice cube tray of frozen apple juice for those who do not care for the dry type...add a cube or 2 and it sweetens it up a little.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  11. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

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    That seems like a pretty good morning routine.:whistling:
     
  12. Mrs.Cicero

    Mrs.Cicero Wayward Member

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    My dad used to leave a gallon jug of unpasteurized cider in the garage til the bottle started to swell. Then we'd drink it. It was fizzy and sweet. I liked it. This was back before helmets and car seats, too...
     
  13. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix Anti-Federalist CLM

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    Cool. Something to think about. I've done nothing since my Mr. Beer kit in Germany in the late nineties.
     
  14. bpe5008

    bpe5008 TSD Blackbelt

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    All great info guys! I just set up a 2 gallon jug this afternoon and it was starting to bubble by five. I'm really looking forwad to see how it turnes out. If its good then ill fill up the 5 gallon I have. :supergrin:


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  15. JohnBT

    JohnBT NRA Benefactor

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    "Ever make hard cider?"

    Yep, my grandparents farmed 1500 apple trees back in the mountains.

    If you want your cider what they call sharp, but not hard, leave it with the cap loose in a cool dark place for 2 or 3 days.

    Cider vinegar is better than white vinegar, too. It's healthier and it tastes better.

    John
     
  16. JohnBT

    JohnBT NRA Benefactor

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    "If you want to make real hard cider you have to ferment it."

    That's apple wine, not cider.

    Johnboy
     
  17. Hummer

    Hummer Big Member

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    There is plenty of room for confusion among the terms, cider, hard cider, and apple wine, but hard cider refers to fermented apple cider or juice, just as apple wine is fermented apple cider or juice. So, hard cider and apple wine both contain alcohol as the bi-product of yeast fermentation.

    In North America, the term cider refers to the unfiltered juice from pressed apples. Hard cider is a fermented cider containing alcohol. Commercially, apple juice refers to filtered (unfermented) cider. In parts of Europe, the term cider refers to a fermented juice, and hard is not used as an adjective to describe it as alcoholic.

    The difference between hard cider and apple wine is not always distinct, but generally, hard cider is fermented with less sugar and using brewers yeast to alcohol levels between 5-10%. Apple wine is made with more sugar and with wine yeast to alcohol levels between 10-18%.

    Also, most but not all hard ciders are carbonated. Apple wines generally are not, unless they are made as sparkling wine. Carbonation can be done several ways but that's another subject.

    Beer yeasts don't tolerate high alcohol levels, wine yeasts do. If you use low alcohol tolerant yeasts with a high brix/high sugar content juice, residual unfermented sugars will produce a sweet cider or wine. For instance, I used a sweet mead yeast on a Gewurztraminer which produced a delicate sweet wine. The same Gewurztraminer grapes paired with a high alcohol tolerant yeast made a fine dry wine.