Style of the week: Cider!

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September 26, 2014 by fhsteinbart

Hard Cider

Making hard cider at home is easy AND fun!

While strictly speaking not a beer, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) considers Cider to be a beverage that Judges can evaluate as per the 2008 style guidelines. Although Cider is a fermented product of the juice of Apples, it can vary greatly with the cultivar of Apples used, and the yeast used in fermentation. Typically the only distinctions between Ciders is the level of sweetness, which can vary from dry, to off-dry, to sweet. As this is mostly a function of residual sugars, the yeast are usually prevented from further fermentation to halt the process where the brewer wants the finish to be. Typically, Cider is served either still, without carbonation, or sparkling, with a good amount of carbon dioxide gas, just like that found in most beers. The only exception here would be the Champagne like effervescence found in some Ciders. Below is a recipe that will make you a gallon of delicious Cider, and can be scaled to whatever volume that you have to work with, usually one, three, or five gallons, and sometimes much more.


15 lbs. Apples

1 Campden tablet

up to 1 ¼ lbs. sugar (optional, used to balance Original Gravity)

¼ tsp. Yeast Nutrient

½ tsp. Pectic Enzyme

1 packet Yeast (Champagne, Wyeast 1968, Wlp002, SafAle S-04, or other white wine yeast)


Day 1 Sanitize all equipment (everything that will touch your Cider!)

Crush or chop the apples and press out the juice.

Crush 1 campden tablet and add to juice, along with yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme.

Take a hydrometer reading and add sugar to bring reading up to 1.045 (up to 1 ¼ lbs.)

Because of the amount of naturally occurring sugar in your apples varies, it is important to take a hydrometer reading before and after adding sugar.

Cover with a loose fitting lid or a lid with an airlock and let sit for 24 hrs.

Day 2 After 24 hrs. sprinkle yeast on top of juice, or rehydrate in boiled water that has cooled to room temperature, and let sit at 65°F to 75°F.

Day 3-4 Fermentation will start and the mixture will bubble vigorously. Put on a tight fitting lid with an airlock.

Day 6-9 Fermentation will begin to slow. Siphon the juice into a gallon jug and attach an airlock.

1 month Rack (Siphon) the wine off of the sediment (lees) into another container. If wine is clear you can bottle, if not repeat this process for another month or until clear.

Bottling After fermentation and clearing, add 1 crushed campden tablet and ¾ tsp. Potassium sorbate per gallon to help stabilize wine prior to bottling. If a sweeter wine is desired, add sugar to taste after wine is stabilized. Put into bottles and age for 3-6 months for best results

Adding Carbonation (optional)

Dissolve ¾ cup sugar (per 5 gallons) in a pint of boiling water, cool to room temperature and mix well with cider. Adding a fresh yeast packet is recommended to ensure re-fermentation. Bottle in EZ-cap bottles or beer bottles. DO NOT use regular wine bottles as the pressure from the carbonation will push out the corks or explode the bottles, unless they are Sparkling Wine bottles, or Champagne bottles.



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