Hard Cider?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JV, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. JV

    JV Well-Known Member

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    I have a good source for organic apple cider and was wondering if anybody has any experience with making hard cider. I have a supply of champagne yeast and yeast nutrients but nothing like camden or other things. Anybody done it, care to share their experiences?
     
  2. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi JV & Y'all,

    Yup, I've done it several times. Except that I've used Honey
    for the extra sugar that you need.
    That makes it a type of Mead, called "Cyser".
    If you add a lot of Honey, you can make a pretty strong
    "kick-your-butt-Brew". It still has the Hard Cider taste,
    along with the flavourof Honey.

    I NEVER use Campden tablets or Sodium Bisulphite, in
    Wine or Mead. However, when you make a Brew that way,
    you have to be really "Scrupulously Clean and Sterile".
    And, you have to get the Yeast in the "Must", and working
    as quick as you get it mixed.

    The reason I never use Campden Or Bisulphite is that a lot
    of Folks are very *Allergic* to it. It's what makes your lips
    numb, a lot of times, when you drink cheap wines.
    Some Brewers and the Brew-Stores will tell you you HAVE
    to use it. You really don't. I have never lost a batch, since
    I quit using it 15 years ago.

    Good luck, in your Brewing. There is just nothing like
    drinking your OWN Brew.
     

  3. JV

    JV Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply Old John- Do you suggest pasturizing the cider first?
     
  4. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi JV & Y'all,

    Nope, I didn't Heat it at all. I did use a bit of warm, not hot,
    water to assist in melting & mixing in the Honey.

    I just mixed it up, in my sterile Brew bucket.
    I'd have to go dig in the journal to be sure,
    but It was about:
    2 1/2 gal. Apple cider, no preservatives.
    1 gal.warm water,
    3 1/2 qts. Clover Honey
    yst. Nutrient.
    Mix well, put in 5 gal. carboy, add Yeast, Put on air lock.
    Working in 30 mins. I also never use 2 stage fermentation.
    It stays in the carboy 'til it's done. Then I Rack it.
    I have bottled with more Honey, to make it fizzy, like a beer.
    Or sometimes I've killed the Yeast with Sorbate & added
    more Honey, just to sweeten it.

    But Hey, I'm a Mead Maker. nearly everything I brew has Honey.
    I also love to Brew Good Brown Ales & Lagers, sometimes with
    Honey, but mostly not.
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    No! Don't pasteurize your juice, it will really affect the flavor.

    Using campden tablets or metabisulfite makes things easier, but if you're careful and keep things really sterile you can get away without using them. You might pitch extra yeast in the juice so the yeasts you want to use are sure to outnumber everything else. Most commercial cideries and wineries rely on metabisulfite to keep fermentations consistent - that isn't a concern when you're just doing this for yourself.

    Just let the juice warm up to room temperature before pitching the yeasts so you don't shock them. Make sure the carboy and air locks are really clean (note : Do NOT use Iodine or chlorine bleach! These will react with the tanins in the apple juice to produce off flavors and the strangest pink color you've ever seen). We ferment at 50* farenheight - takes a month or so before you can rack it off but a slow fermentation really improves the flavor profile.

    Cysers are awesome! They take a long time to mellow out but once they do you have something that's really wonderful. I'm drinking my way through a test batch of cranberry honey cyser right now - YUM! As soon as I can find a local bee man who can supply me with enough cranberry honey we'll get this into the production schedule.
     
  6. Cedar

    Cedar Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, what is the deal with pasteurized cider? The stuff I get is always un-pasteurized except when I’m somewhere not close to my sources and buy from somewhere else. I think stores may be required to carry the pasteurized stuff. There is something about the pasteurized stuff that always makes my stomach a little upset…nothing major. Kind of feels like a very mild heartburn. (I’m talking about sweet cider by the way)



    Also, isn’t cider suppose to be like a laxative or something? Some people will just flat out refuse it for fear they’ll blow up the toilet later on. I guess some seek this out as a colon cleansing.
     
  7. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    Way back in the last century when I was at WSU in Pullman one of the Ag clubs sold fresh cider. We put these out on the window ledges of our dorm rooms. In a few days it was nice and fizzy with a delicious bite. A lovely buzz, and we were able to save our money for later trips to Moscow.
     
  8. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Hmm. Many years ago when I was a teacher in Oregon, the kids would sell cider in one gallon plastic jugs this time of year to make money for their causes. I always just set it on the back step for a few days... Until it poofed out the container a bit. :D
     
  9. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Amen-just leave your unpasteurized cider in a warm place until the jug starts to bulge at the sides. Crack it open and enjoy a lightly alcoholic and fizzy treat.

    Amazing what you can learn when you're a little slow getting groceries into the fridge... :eek: