Easy Way to Make Hard Apple Cider

Have you ever wanted to explore the hobby of home brewing? There is nothing quiet like making your delicious, alcoholic beverages for a fraction of the cost of commercial products. Maybe you are concerned about chemical additives common in commercially brewed beverages. Well, you are in luck. You have found a article and information to brew your own hard apple cider, easy.

First, let’s clearly state that you need to find out what’s the legal drinking age in your city/county/state where you live. This can varies greatly from place to place. It would also be wise to check what the laws are regarding home brewing where you live. This, too, can vary. Lastly, with any form of alcohol, especially the tasty stuff, you have to drink smart, be responsible. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started making your own, home brewed, apple cider.

Home brewing can be as complex and expensive as you choose. It can also be simple, inexpensive, using supermarket ingredients and whatever equipment works. Hard apple cider is one of the easiest home brews for the inexperienced home brewer. It can also be done cheap and easy. The ingredients are flexible. There are many variations of hard apple cider, and once you have made your first few batches, you can begin learning how to add spices, make it sweeter or dry, and even make it more alcoholic or less. The possibilities are endless.

Ingredients and Equipment

*  One gallon or four liters 100% apple juice.

*  One half packet of active dry yeast (or preferably one half packet of cider, white wine, or champagne yeast from a home brewing shop, if available.)

*  Fermenting vessel, a one-gallon or five-liter plastic jug with a screw-top lid works well, especially handy if the apple juice comes in a container like this.

*  Sealable bottles for finished cider, 20 oz. or 500 ml soda bottles are easiest.

Basic Instruction to Brew Your Hard Cider

1. Clean everything to be used thoroughly with soap and warm water, paying close attention to clean the mouth of the fermenting jug, the yeast packet, and the container(s) of apple juice. Set everything on a clean surface like a just-washed dinner plate. Most experienced home brewers use sanitizers to minimize the risk of unwanted microorganisms infecting a batch, but careful and thorough washing will suffice for this simple recipe. If you will be using juice that came in a suitable fermenting jug, there is no need to clean the container- the juice and container are already pasteurized.

2. Add room temperature juice to the fermenting vessel and sprinkle in the yeast. The yeast granules will slowly absorb the juice and begin to ferment.

3. Seal the cap tightly and shake the jug vigorously for about thirty seconds. This process mixes the yeast granules and aerates the juice. Aeration helps the yeast grow and ferment more quickly.

4. Slowly unseal the cap just until air squeaks out when the bottle is squeezed and leave in a dark, room temperature place to ferment. The yeast will produce a great deal of carbon dioxide gas while fermenting, and if the cap is sealed tightly, the fermenter will burst. If the cap is too loose, the batch may be infected by microorganisms in the outside air.

5. Ferment the juice for about one week. Bubbles should start to form in the juice after about 24 hours and will gain intensity quickly. Do not open the juice while fermenting, as this risks contamination. Visual spot checks are fine – and encouraged! Gas should be squeezing out of the almost-sealed jug lid. If not, loosen the lid very slowly just until gas can be heard escaping. The vigorous fermentation should die down in about three days. After that, the juice will still be fermenting, but now much more slowly. The juice should start to clear out as dead and dormant yeast cells settle to the bottom of the jug, which should have a visible layer of tan or brown sediment. The cider is ready to bottle when it is almost totally clear.

6. Bottle the cider carefully in freshly-washed plastic bottles using a clean funnel. The cider is ready and safe to drink right away, but can be improved with some bottle aging, called conditioning. After about one week in the bottles, each bottle should be clear with a slight layer of (completely harmless) yeast sediment. Some carbonation may occur during this phase, and the bottles may become slightly stiff to the touch. This is nothing to worry about unless the bottles begin to feel rock hard, at which point you can carefully and slowly let some gas out of each bottle.

7. For the best-tasting and best-looking cider, chill overnight before serving. The cold temperature causes any lingering yeast cells to sink to the bottom, leaving a crystal clear drink. Open the bottle and slowly pour into glasses, being careful not to disturb the sediment in the bottom of the bottle. This yeast sediment is harmless and can be consumed, but it is not visually pleasing.

This is a very basic cider recipe, but will make a refreshing, intoxicating apple beverage. Fermentation and bottle conditioning time will vary depending on the yeast, juice, and the ambient temperature. If possible, upgrade to cider or white wine yeast as this will make a better tasting final product.

After making this first batch of cider, try some variations. Some brewers add ½ cup of brewed black tea to the juice before fermentation to give a sharper taste to the final product. Some brewers add additional sugar, honey, or other fruit juices to increase the alcohol level and alter the final character.

There is endless variety in home brewing, and the home brewer has complete control over the whole process. Once comfortable with this small batch cider, look into some beer or wine kits that include special equipment and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

Now, if you enjoyed this article on a alcoholic beverage, check out Absinthe – The Green Fairy


Hard Cider Recipe

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