Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hard Cider 2007

I got some pals of mine to go in on a large batch of hard cider. Originally I was only gonna make 1 gallon of the stuff, but enough requests rolled in.

This was gonna be more of a communal thing, and I was going to have them bring by "their" jug of juice to toss in the carboy. But since I've got a busy season of brewing this Fall and Winter, I couldn't delay.

To simulate the combination of different juices coming from different people, I simply grabbed 3 different jugs of pure unfiltered apple juice. One organic apple blend and one organic gravenstien from Whole Foods, and 1.5 gallons of fresh apple cider from Trader Joe's. I've heard that blending apples for hard cider makes it come out better, so I hope this blend works well.

I had some Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast laying around for about 2 months just waiting for an opportunity like this. My friends over at the Brew & Grow also highly recommend using this yeast for ciders. A half gallon start was made, and the yeast took off right away.

I added some brown and white sugar to lend a fuller flavor. Adding the juice from one lemon will add some acidity for fermentation and aid in the final product. I was also thinking of adding a little ginger for an interesting tang, and some spice for spiciness, but since this is my first, I'll keep it simple.

All I did was dissolve about 2 cups of brown sugar and about 2 cups of white sugar into 1 gallon of TJ's Apple Cider and rose it to about 160 for about 30 minutes or so. Then cooled it. Then poured it into the carboy along with two more gallons of organic apple juice.

Brewed on 9/28/07
Winding down but still fizzing on 10/8
Racked: Just primary
Bottled: 10/23/07


Travis said...

I stopped off at a cyder mill outside of Ithaca the other day. I have to say, I am a fan. I might try a little of that myself.

Ted Danyluk said...

Hey Travis,

It looks like a lot of people I know are giving it a try this year. That's great. Gotta branch outta beer sometimes...right? I have to say that my experimental Cranberry Champagne turned out great, and now I have something unique to serve at appropriate times. I've been using it to toast to people and their achievements. I'll be opening another bottle tomorrow to celebrate my friend's graduation from MED-school.


Anonymous said...

Did you do that cider in a 5 gallon carboy? Or a three? How long do ciders typically keep?

Also, I'm waiting with baited breath to see what you guys do next at Half Acre.

Ted Danyluk said...

Yeah, I did fermented it in a 5 gallon carboy. During the height of fermentation there was only an inch of fizzy foam. It's finally settled down. Since I don't mind a cloudy cider, I will just let it continue to settle for a few more days, and then rack to a bottling bucket. From there I'll sample it to see if it needs to be sweetened. But from how it smells, I'll probably bottle as is.

I imagine hard cider can age for quite some time. I've read that some taste superb after a year in the bottle. Since hard ciders may become an annual tradition in our household, I will definitely hold onto a couple bottle till then. But it's meant to be drunk this holiday season, so I don't imagine it will sit around for very long.

Anonymous said...

I'm doing a version of this this weekend, as my wife is not a beer fan.

Do you carbonate this? If yes, what sort of sugar do you use? Also, do you use apple juice or cider for your yeast starter?

Thanks for the help. I'm a new brewer who's still trying to figure things out. I'd be coming to your demo on Sunday if I didn't already have a major house project already planned. I would love to see pictures of your setup sometime, as I'm looking to go all grain in the spring.

Ted Danyluk said...


Thanks for your interest in what I've been doing. This is my first hard cider, and to say the least, I hope carbonation helps it taste and feel better. We tasted it only 4 days after bottling. It came out quite thin, and lacking in flavor. So I probably wont mind blending it with some apple juice in the glass.

I used a cider starter, which performed very well. And then I just poured all of that into the batch. And I used both all-natural, unfiltered apple juices and cider. I added a good amount of sugar, but would probably double it. And I think my original ideas of ginger and spices would work well too.

At bottling, I used enough corn sugar to build a volume of CO2 at around 2.75. I wanted a lot of fizz.

You are more than welcome to stop by on any given brewday (about 2/mo.). Please email me sometime redted8 at yahoo.

Anonymous said...

I will for sure stop by some time. I would not mind seeing all grain in action before I start doing that myself. Thanks for the invite.

I ended up buying flipping your ratio of cider to apple juice. And it was the Trader Joes pre-spiced cider, so hopefully the taste will be a little fuller. That ginger idea does sound good, and my wife is crazy about Reed's, so maybe I'll throw a little in for good measure. We'll see.

Urban G said...

I just started a half-batch (11 or so litres) of cider about 4 days ago. Here is a quick description:

11 or so litres of unsweetened, 100% pure apple juice (origin: Kelowna, B.C.) Ingredients: 100% apple juice, vitamin c

1000 grams (1 kg) of dark brown sugar
(origin: Redpath refinery, Toronto, ON)

1 jar (approx. 230 grams) of liquid honey (type: Blueberry),
(origin: Thunder Bay, ON)

1 package of yeast,(approx 5 grams),(Type: EC-1118), (origin: selected Champagne regions)

After thoroughly cleaning every piece of equipment I carefully heated some apple juice to dissolve all the sugar and honey (very gentle with the amount of heat and lots of stirring!). You don't want the final temperature to be hotter than about 25 degrees Celsius if you can.

While you are doing this, read the directions for the yeast you bought. The kind I bought said to take 250 ml of warm (not hot!) water and sprinkle the yeast on top of it. Let it sit for 10-15 mins while the sugar/honey mixture is dissolving/cooling (if needed). Very gently stir the yeast after 10-15 mins.

The remaining apple juice went straight into a glass carboy while I was heating the sugar/honey mixture. The airlock went right on as I have been warned about exposing the cider to the atmosphere.

After adding the sugar/honey mixture to the carboy, I quickly felt the temperature of the liquid. By using my hands I could tell it was for sure less than 30 degrees Celsius, so-in with the lovely yeast! Go little guys, go! Do your work!

It's been about 4 days now and the airlock is still chirping away like mad! I can see it bubbling every couple of seconds.

I will wait until the airlock has stopped bubbling. After that, I will wait until the sediment in the cider has fallen to the bottom. I don't mind cloudy ciders so I may not wait too long.

I plan to then rack the cider into a secondary carboy with which I can bottle easier.

I'll let y'all know how it turns out! I might try another one with the addition of another fruit juice, such as raspberry.