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> [Cider] Making a Basic Cider, Contributed by ScottS
post Sep 14 2005, 02:47 PM
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Q. How is a simple cider made?
A. The following instructions will illustrate the basic cider making steps.

5 gallons apple juice with no preservatives, preferably fresh pressed sweet cider
1 package White Labs English Cider Yeast (WLP775) or Wyeast Cider Yeast (3766), unless you have unpasteurized sweet cider and want to make a naturally fermented cider

WARNING: Wild yeasts that produce naturally fermented cider can be unreliable in their fermentation characteristics. I highly recommend trying it, as a good wild yeast will produce a final product significantly better than any commercial yeast. Keep in mind though that a drinkable final product is by no means guaranteed.

6.5 gallon plastic primary bucket, with lid, & airlock
5 gallon glass carboy, stopper, & airlock
A glass container for your starter (~ ½-1 gallon), stopper, & airlock
Long handled mixing spoon / paddle
Racking cane and transfer tubing
Sanitizer: Such as: Star San, PBW, et. al.
750ml wine bottles & corks or 12 oz beer bottles & caps

1) If you are using commercial yeast, make a starter using one quart of cider to one package of yeast. Allow this to ferment for 2 to 3 days before moving on to step 2.

2) Remove the sweet cider from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. In the meantime, sanitize your primary bucket and all related equipment.

3) Pour the apple juice or sweet cider into the primary bucket.

4) If using commercial yeast, dump the entire contents of the yeast starter into the primary bucket.

5) Stir the contents of the bucket for 2-3 minutes to aerate and to thoroughly mix in the yeast.

6) Install the lid and airlock on the primary bucket.

7) If you are using commercial yeast, expect a 24 hour lag time and completed primary fermentation in 7-10 days. If you are using natural yeast, expect a slightly longer lag time (2-3 days) and a longer primary fermentation (14 days).

8) Once primary fermentation is nearly completion (SG 1.010 or less), rack the cider to a sanitized glass carboy. Over the next few months expect the cider to throw lots of lees. Rack every two or three months until lee production stops.

9) It is highly recommended to bulk age your cider for approximately 9 months. That is when it will approach it€™s peak flavor, and when lee production is more or less finished. You can bottle earlier if desired, but you will likely get significant amounts of nasty tasting lees in the bottles.

10) Near the end of this aging period, taste the cider and decide if you want to drink it dry or sweeten it. If you desire a sweeter beverage, add 2.5 tsp of potassium sorbate [sorbate] to stabilize the cider and sweeten with sweet cider or apple juice to taste.

CAUTION: if you are using unpasteurized sweet cider adding sorbate alone will cause your cider to smell like geraniums, IF a malolactic fermentation occurs. This can be avoided by adding 2.5g (scant ½ tsp) potassium metabisufilite with the sorbate, and waiting ~7 days before sweetening.

11) Bottle in wine or beer bottles. Enjoy!
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