Hard Cider made easy with this hard cider recipe in our DIY video. All you need are a few items from a homebrew supply store, we like to use Midwest Homebrew, click here to visit their site. Watch our how to make hard cider video and then let us know your questions and suggestions below.
The key to making hard cider
When making all fermented beverages everything must be clean and sanitized. You can use a mild bleach solution or one of the commercial sanitizer products. I prefer B-Brite, but you can use any of them. Bleach can cause problems with your clothes if you splash the sanitizing solution on them. Keep a quart of sanitizer solution nearby as you make hard cider. Rinse your bottle or carboy in the solution and rinse, along with anything else that will come into contact with the cider.
If you are going to use fresh cider from a mill or some that you made yourself - watch us make our own cider in this video here - you will need to kill off the wild yeasts and organisms in the cider before adding your cultivated yeast you bought from the homebrew store. We use campden tablets. Crush one tablet per gallon, toss in, mix well and let sit for 24 hours before pitching the cider yeast.
Read the instructions on the yeast package. Liquid yeasts with a burst pack need to be activated a few hours ahead of time. It can be tricky to burst the little pack that is inside the yeast package. The yeast package does not have to be bulging to pitch the yeast. Be sure to sanitize the scissors you open the pack with and the yeast package itself when pitching the yeast.
When fermenting small quanities of hard cider, use a jug that is twice the volume of the cider you are brewing for the initial fermentation that lasts a few days. This keeps the large foaming of the yeast from clogging the airlock. After the first few days of activity, siphon or rack the cider into an container sized for the amount of cider you are brewing. So for a half gallon of cider, you would start it in a one gallon jug, and then transfer it to a ½ gallon jug. Do your best to keep the sediment from the initial fermentation from moving to the second jug. The sediment can impart off-flavors, and its easier to pour from bottle with less stuff in the bottom of the bottles.
We will post a how to bottle cider and beer video soon. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts below: