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Hard cider made easy

by Alberta Rager
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Hard Cider Made Easy

American brewing holds a long tradition of producing hard cider. Cider production is fast, fun and easy. So what do you need? Mostly apple juice, but not just any juice. Most store bought apple juice has been treated with preservatives to prevent yeast growth. Read the labels carefully and avoid apple juice which has been treated with sorbate, sodium benzoate or sulfite. Pasteurized juice is fine. Select natural apple juice. Fresh juice is best.
 

Depending on the variety of apples used the sugar and acid may need to be adjusted. A blend of bitter and sweet apples will provide the best results.

The gravity of apple juice is often below the recommended starting gravity of 1.060. When making cider a variety of sugars including cane (table) sugar, brown sugar or honey may be used for the gravity adjustment. The titratable or total acid should be adjusted to .5%.

One Gallon Apple Cider Recipe

1 gal. fresh apple juice or 14-16 pounds of apples, crushed and pressed

Sugar to 1.060

1 ½ tsp. Benotnite (dissolved in warm water)

½ tsp.   Pectic Enzyme Powder
½ Campden Tablet per gallon.
            Acid Blend to .5% (approximately ½ tsp.)
¼ tsp.   Wine Tannin
¼ tsp.   Yeast Energizer  or ½ tsp Fermaid-K
1 Duofine (for 3-6 gallons)

Starting Specific Gravity 1.060 Total Acid .5%

*Note: Use 1 Wyeast #4766 Cider Yeast or Cider House Cider Yeast for up to 6 gallons or use 1 packet Lalvin 71B-1122 or EC 1118 for up to 3 gallons. All other ingredients are multiplied by the number of gallons being produced.
 

Procedure:
Adjust the sugar and acid. If using pasteurized juice, add all remaining ingredients except the crushed Campden tablet(s), attach fermentation lock and allow must to ferment for 3-5 days until the specific gravity is 1.020. If using fresh juice or apples, add ½ crushed Campden Tablet per gallon, Pectic Enzymes and Tannin. Wait 24-36 hours, then add Yeast Energizer or Fermaid-K and rehydrated yeast. When the specific gravity reaches 1.020, siphon into clean and sanitized gallon jug or carboy and attach fermentation lock. Rack in approximately 3 weeks when the specific gravity reaches 1.000 or less. If making 3-6 gallons, add Duofine following the instrucions on the packet. If producing a still cider, add ½ crushed Campden Tablet with ½ tsp. Potassium Sorbate per gallon. Allow to clarify and bottle in sanitized beer or wine bottles.

If producing a sparkling cider, omit the addition of Campden Tablets and Potassium Sorbate. Make a syrup by dissolving 1.5 oz. per gallon of corn sugar in a small amount of cider. Add the sugar syrup making sure it is thoroughly disbursed. Bottle immediately in beer or champagne bottles, cap and allow to condition for three weeks at room temperature.
Enjoy!

This article was published on Thursday October 22, 2009.
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