Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stumbling into my 1st Hard Cider

Plus the beer on the left that you have to be quaffing while making a cider

Over the years I've heard that making Cider is easy compared to brewing but I've always ignored Ciders for some reason or the other.  To be honest, I don't even know if I really like them, it's always been a rocky relationship between us.  Maybe the root of the problem is the Apple terminologyin the USA and Canada.

  • Cider (USA and Canada): Is used to describe a cloudy unfermented beverage for sale at farmers markets and groceries.  Basically Apple Juice with a different name.
  • Hard Cider (USA): Any Apple product that is fermented and contains alcohol.  
  • Cider (The World): Any Apple product that is fermented and contains alcohol.
  • Sweet Cider: The common name of unfermented apple juice in the USA and the world, mostly used by Brewers.
  • Pressed Cider:  The juice from Apples extracted at the orchard.
  • Apple Juice (USA): The same as cider really, as I can not find any legal difference for selling the product in the USA.
So over the years mixing the names and not really caring about what is what really lead to a small confusion about the overall Cider making process.  Only recently a fellow homebrewer and good friend brewed (ok, it's not brewing, it's mixed/mixing or better yet, fermented a...) cider.  I was kind of jealous of this fact, to be honest.  I really don't know why, I don't drink them, neither does my wife.  Something down deep told me I had to create a Cider, or err Hard Cider and attempt to enjoy it.

Starting with two gallons of Apple Juice/Apple Cider (Organic) from a local farmers market placed into my old extract stainless pot.  Increasing the heat to 175 degrees (I think you can skip this step personally, but its a hard to break tradition) Then adding two cups of white table sugar and mixing it into the juice.  Then adding half of a gallon of ice cold water into the pot and racking it over into the carboy.  Sitting it outside overnight, letting it cool down without any chillers or submersion techniques. 

The next morning I added Pectic Enzyme into the must (wort).  Letting it work its magic while it was placed into the fermentation chamber at 63 degrees.  12 hours later I added 71B Wine yeast (which is my personal favorite for anything Mead or Fruit related) My starting gravity was 1.060, right in the zone for Hard Ciders according to the BJCP.  Along with an ample amount of Yeast Nutrient I was set for a good fermentation.

Part 2: Coming up next will be my attempt in back sweetening and carbonating the bottles without creating grenades. 

Midnight in the Orchard
Other Specialty Cider/Perry
Type: All Grain Date: 9/29/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 2.50 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 2.60 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 0 mins Equipment: Lewys Tower
End of Boil Volume 2.60 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 2.50 gal Est Mash Efficiency 0.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): TBA
Taste Notes: No "Tasting Notes" have been created for this recipe yet.
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
15 lbs 9.5 oz Apple Juice (3.0 SRM) Sugar 1 94.1 %
15.6 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 2 5.9 %
2.0 pkg Lalvin 71B-1122 (Lallemand - Lalvin #71B-1122) [23.66 ml] Yeast 3 -
1.00 tsp Pectic Enzyme (Primary 12.0 hours) Other 4 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 0.002 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.9 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.2 %
Bitterness: 0.0 IBUs Calories: 197.3 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 11.3 SRM
Carbonation Profile

Carbonation Type: Bottle
Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 1.96 oz
Carbonation Used: Bottle with 1.96 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F
Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage
Storage Temperature: 65.0 F

Created with BeerSmith

Part 2: Covering Back Sweetening and Crash Cooling


  1. I made a cider a while back, and it turned out pretty good. All I did was throw some champagne yeast into a few gallons of unfiltered apple juice--I didn't heat it or add any extra sugar or anything like that. It still came out around 8%, and tasted fine--maybe a bit too simple in flavor, but definitely crisp and refreshing and easy to drink. I'm thinking I'll try blending in other juices next time--maybe 3 to 1 apple juice to grape, or something--to try to add a little complexity.

    1. Marcos,

      Yeah, thats kinda my thoughts also. I really don't drink ciders, but its just another sugar that needs fermentation. So why not, right?


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