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Hard Apple Cider Recipe

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It's not beer and it's not wine, but making hard apple cider is always fun. You can do it the old fashioned way by pressing the apples or you can purchase the apple cider. If you purchase the cider, just make sure that there are no preservatives in it. Personally, I buy the apple cider from a local fruit market.


The recipe I found is from Sallys-Place.com and will make a 5 gallon batch. There is also an interesting history of hard cider on that site that is worth reading.

Enjoy the recipe and the reading.


Cidermaking is easy and fun. Here is a basic recipe for a Farmhouse Style cider (ingredients for five gallons):

5 gallons of fresh pressed sweet apple juice (known today as apple cider)
5 cups of sugar
1 package of Wyeast liquid lager brewers yeast (available at homebrew supply stores)

Transfer the juice and sugar using a sanitized funnel or food grade plastic hose into a sanitized glass or stainless-steel container at room temperature. Allow the sugar to dissolve and then pitch the lager yeast and affix a fermentation lock atop the carboy It will soon begin to bubble away releasing carbon dioxide as the yeast converts the sugars into alcohol. Allow the cider to ferment and mellow for at least two months before transferring it with your sanitized food grade hose into bottles, a keg, or any vessel you prefer. Then enjoy. Any homebrew supply shop can get you started with the proper advice and equipment.



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37 comments:

Steve Mills said...

Hi Ben

Cool Blog, I have been home brewing for 5 years. It's great that there is now so much info on the internet and great blogs like this to encourage more people to give it a go

Ben said...

Thanks Steve. In the early days it was a chore to find info but thankfully things have improved.

thumbzilla said...

...Razzberry Hard Cider. basically same recipe, but add 5lbs. fresh, crushed rasberries. i like to briefly boil my cider to kill off bacteria and wild yeast. after the boil add the berries, steep and strain. it is fantasmic! i would bathe in it if it was socially acceptable!

Thomas said...

Thanks for the great jump off point! I took your recepie and decided to add a kick, so I used champgne yeast and added some pear juice into the mix. turned out great (havent bottled yet) but i think i may distill it and make myself a good brandy type drink for thanksgiving:) Once again, thanks for the start

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if apple cider will ferment without adding yeast? I heard that natural yeast occurs in the environment and it will ferment naturally without adding anything.

BurleyBrew said...

yes natural yeast will occur. just put a lid on it and leave standing @ room temp for 2 days then slap an air lock on it and u should be good 2go. as for the razzberry hard cider, that sounds delicious. do u add the razzberries and take out the sugar? or just add the razzberries to the overall recipie? i haven't made hard cider yet, looking to start a batch or 2 asap but i am making a 1 gallon batch. i will not have to wait a month for the fermentation process to complete will i? i heard it'll only take about 2 weeks, then bottle for a month and enjoy. not sure if this is correct so any info will help. CHEERS

Dennis said...

I've had a 2.5 gal jug of pure apple cider in the fridge(in the basement)for about a year. Just transferred it into two ceramic jugs. Left sitting in room temperature for two days so far. One with a balloon attached to it with a pin hole in top and the other with out. Going to let it ride out till Sunday and then pour into a bigger bottle with cheese cloth on it to strain it. I'll do that a coupled times and the put back into the ceramic jugs a place in fridge for another month or so and see what happens from there. No sugar or yeast included in it.

Anonymous said...

k, just started a sm.batch w/ sugar and yeast...can I just cover it w/ a balloon, or do I need all the fancy stuff?

Ben said...

You could use a balloon, but an airlock and stopper should only cost you about 3 bucks.

sam said...

what prevents the cider from ending up tasting like vinegar if you use the natural yeast? I used to let cider go hard by itself but if left too long it would end up vinegar. I can see how the boil and then addition of a better yeast would give satisfactory results.

Ben said...

Usually the wild yeast contains yeast that will turn your cider into vinegar. Best to sterilize the cider and add wine yeast.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that if your apple cider or juice has been pasturized then it will not ferment on its own. I've made homemade wine with frozen grape concentrate, sugar, and yeast. I'm now trying the same approach with cider. It's been a week and its still fermenting. Can't wait to taste it. Check out youtube for some informative vids about all this homebrewing.

Anonymous said...

What kind of Wyeast Lager yeast?

Wyeast American Lager 2035
Wyeast Bavarian Lager 2206
Wyeast Bohemian Lager 2124
Wyeast Budvar Lager 2000
Wyeast California Lager 2112
Wyeast Czech Pilsner 2278
Wyeast Danish Lager 2042
Wyeast Munich Lager 2308
Wyeast Oktoberfest Lager Blend 2092
Wyeast Pilsen Lager 2007
Wyeast Urquell Lager 2001

Ben said...

I don't think it matters which one you use, though I would tend to use the American Lager yeast for this recipe.

Bsj said...

I'm pretty sure pasteurisation will kill any wild yeast present in the juice and preservatives such as vitamin C will slow or prevent yeast from working properly, so check the ingredients on your juice before using.

I personally prefer to use a specific cider strain of yeast or a champagne yeast, because wild yeast can work brilliant or horrible.. it comes down to luck of the draw, whether the strain is good or not.

I brew cider using dextrose for the sugar (because its better processed by the yeast than sucrose/normal sugar) and champagne yeast is good.

Another good use for champagne yeast is mead, I can't fit the recipe in here but it should be online, i love it!

And if you are lazy, we have NZ Black Rock Cider, cans of concentrate and yeast - Nice stuff :-)

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to try making hard cider for some time now, and finally just got my first batch done and bottled. Its 10% alcohol and really doesn't taste too great. I followed a slightly different recipe but its basically the same ingredients. Can anyone help me out? I heard it will get better with age but its pretty hard to swallow as it is...

Ben said...

I usually rack it over and then add a few cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. After about 2 months,I rack it again taking the cinnamon sticks out and then let is sit for about 4 to 6 months.

Anonymous said...

another thing you can add is red hots (the candy) it gives it a cinnamon bite to it...

Rodney said...

Would anyine be able to tell me how long the second or racked cider can sit. it was pland after the primary. I read a few notes stating it will mellow with age. Does the juce have to be all the way to the top of the carboy? I have approx six inches left at the top

Anonymous said...

your recipes sound like the one I found for "Apple wine'. iT WAS GREAT

Howard said...

Terrific website - and a lot of interesting people reading! I (a beginner) really appreciate your sharing your knowledge - same goes for everyone else. I've got my first four batches in different stages right now, and I never would have had the courage to give it a shot without people like you.

By the way (with a hint of novice pride), all four batches are coming along quite nicely!

Anonymous said...

Cool blog ... I can hardly wait to try this. I would definitely want to be specific about the yeast. A wine yeast will have higher alcohol tolerance and therefore thrive better in the high-sugar environment of cider vs. an ale or lager yeast meant to make beer. Lager yeasts would come out cleaner I suppose, but don't they do better at cooler temps? I think I'll try the champagne yeast. Question: I have heard that boiling apple cider causes the pectin to react. How do you get around that problem?

bear said...

The most important thing with cider making is to use proper cider apples, they tend to carry their own yeast naturaly, simply crush and press, put aside under airlock and wait.

Anonymous said...

got 6 American/5 European gallons going now. 5 gallons fresh (love the tart apple bite a Macintosh gives it) apple juice, 3 pounds extra light DME, 1 pound invert sugar, 4 sticks of cinnamon and 3 cloves nutmeg. by autumn should have something to write home about.

Anonymous said...

Why are you going through all of this trouble to attain the same results? Buy a gallon of apple cider, bring it to just below a boil in a large pot or kettle. Add 1 cup of brown sugar, some cinnamin sticks, a large box of red hots, and stir. When the red hots have all disolved, add everclear alcohol to taste, and refrigerate. This produces some of the quickest, and best tasting "Hard Cider" that you will ever taste! And MAN!!! What a Kick!!

Anonymous said...

I just started a couple batches of cider, I noticed during the first stage, that they started to smell a little eggy but not too bad, just wondering what I could do? I sanitize everything pretty good. Not sure why its like this. Last year I made some and I dont remember this smell.

Anonymous said...

I was told that you can take a plastic hose. Tape it to the top of a apple cider bottle so that no iar can get out. Then put the other end in water and wait thirty days. Does this work? Is there more to it?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about cider but with wine if your getting an eggy smell it's because your yeast are starving for nutrients. Also called a stuck fermentation. Try adding some yeast nutrients.

Anonymous said...

Do I need to add any other ingredients (yeast nutrient, acid blend, pectin enzyme, etc) for this cider recipe?

Anonymous said...

Does this recipe require yeast nutrient, pectin enzyme, acid blend, etc?

Miller said...

I'm interested in the creation of ciders and fruit wines without the addition of sugar. I would imagine that the earliest recipes of the stuff, not to mention the stuff that currently gets turned into Calvados, is made with just apples and yeast? Might anyone have any recipes or insight for this sort of "purist" approach?
Thanks.
Miller

C.FJ. said...

We just tried this recipe and as soon as we pitched the champagne yeast, we realized that the apple juice was really cold (we had kept it refrigerated)! Do you think our yeast are DOA? If so, can we warm up the cider/sugar mixture and try again? Thanks for any advice.

tyler said...

I made two gallons of hard cider with just bringing honey to almost a boil then adding it to the gallon jugs and adding some champaigne yeast, adding frozen rasberrys and rasberry crystal light to one and pulling a balloon over the tops. I just bottled mine into mason jars and it has a dry almost white wine taste to it, supposedly it will get better but its not bad as is.

Lee said...

If you don't want yeast try White rice
4 gallons cider
5 lbs white suger
2 lbs rasins
1 cup white rice

Nmy said...

Can someone help a rookie wishing to make "something alcoholic" from my work I get surplus materials apples whole unclean, I also get various vinegars and red & white cooking wine, I also have 16 gallons of rice syrup, 4 gallons of coconut syrup, I also able to make in a 55 gal. barrels i get from work, can someone help me create barrel size project with some or all of these ingredients? Thanks

Nmy said...

Can someone help a rookie wishing to make "something" from my work I get surplus materials apples whole unclean, I also get various vinegars and red & white cooking wine, I also have 16 gallons of rice syrup, 4 gallons of coconut syrup, I also able to make in a 55 gal. barrels i get from work, can someone help me create barrel size project with some or all of these ingredients? Thanks

Benjamin Shaffer said...

I just picked up some fresh cider non pasturized and am going to simmer it (not boil) to kill off the bacteria while it simmering add some honey and brown sugar because the yeast feed better off those which will lead to a higher alc. content ;-)

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