Note: To avoid confusion on this blog post, remember that Europeans think of cider as being a fermented apple drink, and it is only due to Prohibition in the United States that the term morphed to mean “cloudy, unfiltered apple juice.” When I say cider in this post, I mean the alcoholic version.
For a detailed description, the hand out I give my students can be found here. Otherwise, this is the a general outline of how to make cider:
If you have apples to crush into juice:
- Gather and sort ripe apples, removing all moldy ones.
- Rinse the apples to remove dirt and other debris.
- Proceed to crush the apples into pomace.
- Press pomace to get the juice – stop here and pasteurize juice if wishing to consume juice and not cider.
Once you have juice, or if you do not have apples but instead area starting with juice:
- Test the sugar amount in the juice using a hydrometer to determine the alcohol potential.
- Check the acid content and the pH, adjusting if needed using either other juice or acid blends.
- Add sulfites using either the package instructions or the pH to guide you.
- Allow to sit for 24 hours.
- Pitch the yeast.
- Once the juice is fermenting, add yeast nutrient.
- Rack after three weeks.
- Rack after another one to two months.
- Rack after another three months.
- After about eight months or so, blend – combine different apple ciders, add sugar, juice, water, etc. Use sorbates if more sugar or juice is added.
- Bottle. Is it going to be bottle conditioned if dry?
- (Optional if dry, or still but sweet with sorbate ; Required for carbonated sweet) Pasteurize
For a detailed description including fermentation issues, the hand out I give my students can be found here.
- “The Science of Cidermaking.” Andrew Lea.
- “How to make cider.” UK Cider
- WSU had a research station in Mt. Vernon, where they studied apple trees for cider making. They have a booklet which can be purchased for $8, and their website also shows their research results. They also have links to a weeklong cider making class that is offered near their facility twice a year with cider consultant Peter Mitchell.
- Ben Watson. Cider: Hard and Sweet.
- Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols. Cider: Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider.
- My blog: https://candlewineproject.wordpress.com/