Hi I'm Tricia, an organic gardener I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Hard apple cider is a traditional early American and European drink thats easy to make I'll show you how.
To make hard cider you're gonna need the following two glass gallon jugs or polyethylene buckets, a stopper, an airlock, four to six feet of plastic tubing, an auto siphon, brewing yeast and brown sugar or honey. Optional tools to have on hand would be a wing capper and a hydrometer. This beer brewing kit contains all the equipment that you'll need including the optional equipment If you want to make cider with your own apples check out our video on making sweet apple cider for details on processing apple's and blending the flavors.
Making hard apple cider can be really easy or it can be as technical as making a fine wine. Today we're going to use a process that's a little bit middle-of-the-road but where the cider still tastes really good. Everything that comes in contact with your cider must be cleaned and sanitized use an iodine rinse-less sanitizer like this Star San. Iodine is more effective than bleach and it won't give your cider an off flavor make sure and follow the instructions exactly. The old fashion way to make cider relies on the native yeast already present on the apple's but that can yield inconsistent results and sometimes your native yeast taste great but sometimes it doesn't We will be using this Nottingham ale yeast to make our cider taste great.
To start out you'll need one gallon of apple juice without preservatives and if you can find one from a local farm stand thats even better if it's not pasteurized you'll have to pasteurize it. You can pasteurize your homemade sweet cider by heating it up to one hundred and sixty degrees fahrenheit and then cooling it. Don't let it go over one hundred eighty-five degrees fahrenheit because that will give it a cooked apple flavor. The Nottingham is a dry yeast so I need to rehydrate it before adding it to my cider. Add one ounce of yeast per gallon of cider to four ounces of warm water. To liven up the yeast let it sit for fifteen minutes. Now that everything's clean and sanitized this is the time that your hydrometer can help you brew. If you've pasteurized your juice once its cooled you can check the specific gravity it should be between 1.045 and 1.050 if its lower then 1.045 it won't be stable you can add 2.25 ounces of brown sugar or honey to bring it up to five points. This gives you a cider with about six percent alcohol. Pour your cooled and pasteurized sweet cider with the yeast into your primary fermenting container. Try to aerate the juice as much as possible at this point putting your air lock and stopper that you filled with sanitized water. After putting the airlock stopper in it's time to let the fermenting begin the yeast will do its job. Just store the juice for about two and a half weeks in a cool even temperature location. Our cider has turned into hard cider so now it's time to rack it into a secondary fermenter and this is going to be done at 1.005 on the hydrometer.
A few days ago I put my cider up on the counter to make sure that I don't get any sediment when I rake the cider. Make sure you clean and sanitize everything that youre gonna be using for racking. Attach your tubing to the auto siphon and then put the other end into your sterilized fermenting jar. Start the siphon and watch carefully leave about an inch of cider above the sediment don't be greedy or you could ruin the whole batch and put a little in a glass to taste. You also want to set some aside so that you can test the alcohol level. After sterilizing the airlock and stopper your gonna put it in the secondary fermenting jar. At this time give your cider a taste it should be strong and bitter at this time it's gonna go through lactic fermentation to mellow without all the sediment. You can let it mellow for one to two months or you can rack it again after that and let it age for three to four months. The minimum before bottling is three weeks.
When it comes to bottling you have options you can leave it as a still dry cider like I'm gonna do or you can add a sweetener and carbonation and there's instructions on how to do that on our blog. Sterilize the bottles that you're going to use you can use beer bottles as long as they're not the twist of twist on type. If your doing a still cider you can use these nice swing top bottles. You wanna rack your cider one more time and don't worry if it's a little bit cloudy that's just natural apple goodness. Once you've finished racking the cider fill your bottles leaving one inch of headspace. Plant a pear or apple tree, make some hard cider and grow organic for life!