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Fall means Hard Cider

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by pen, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    We used UV pasturized cider instead of raw from a local orchard so we haven't used the tablets to start, I just buy the sodium metabisulfite in a bulk bag and use an ounce per gallon of water for sterilization purposes, and 1/4 tea per 5 gal or so to end things when the time is right.

    For wine, beer, etc, many folks use a hydrometer to decide when what is what. For our purposes, we just taste things when we feel it time to rack and make a decision based upon that since cider varies so much from year to year.

    Of the first tastes while racking, we found the raspberries added to the cider to be the best addition. A classic addition is raisins. However, after sampling a few ciders other folks have made with them, I wasn't impressed at all (ended up with a plastic like taste IMO). Maybe it was their method, don't know, I love raisins, but it just didn't work for the ciders I've tried.

    That first batch pictured in this thread from '10 had no added yeast, I just raw cider and honey. It wound up OK. The taste was tart, which I liked, but gave me heartburn after just a few onces. However, everyone's tastes differ, my cousin and wife who make their own wine LOVED that first year batch and mock me for straying from it. That said, the regulars who also try our experiments, like the changes we've made from the first year. To each their own.

    pen
    ScotO likes this.

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  2. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Looks great, Pen. I'm way jealous at that beautiful dark cider. Apple cider is scarce and costly in Wisconsin this year, due to a late freeze wiping out much of the apple crop. I was so desperate that I bought a $6 gallon at Costco. I planted three apple trees this spring at our new property, but it will be years before I'll see my own cider.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, it's inspiring. I'm going to get some gallon glass bottles and start playing around with some smaller batches this winter so that by next summer I can take advantage of our bountiful fruits.
  4. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    We love making hard cider over here, but this year had been a poor year for apples. We got a cold snap in Spring during the blossom, it was too cold for the bees to get out and do their stuff.

    Makes you realise how important bees are for a lot of foods and drinks........
  5. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    That's a great approach. I drank a bunch of cheap Carlo Rossi wine (12.99 for 4 liters) to get the glass jugs. You can even use store bought cider if you like, just make sure it does not contain any preservatives. Being pasteurized is OK though, even though the sugars will be changed a bit by heat pasteurization, the yeast don't care.

    I have a buddy that makes a killer wine out of Welches Concord grape juice :eek: Once you start playing, the sky is the limit so long as a few basic tenants (mainly related to the lack of preservatives, sterile technique, constant temp) are met.

    pen
  6. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    I enjoyed mine very much last year, and was able to give a bunch for the holidays. This year I started graduate school and all fun stuff is on hold ;hm Enjoy!
  7. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Know I know what kind of sauce brings out the the Cows, Sasquashes and Baboons !
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hey Kath, that's great that you also made a batch. Some of the best homemade I every had was by a biology prof at Western WA State. It was dandelion raspberry and delightful. I want to try a few different yeasts out too. Kath and Pen, what are your favorites for fruit ciders/wines and why?
  9. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Looks good.nice work pen.
  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Some years back, I had some great homemade elderberry wine. My grandfather used to make dandylion, and rhubarb wine as well. Each were very good, the rhubarb wine I remember having a numbing effect on the mouth which was a bit odd, but didn't take away from the drink.

    pen
  11. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    what sort of temperature do you let that ferment at?
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I have thought about this. I read somewhere about back-sweetening until you get the taste you want, bottling and letting it sit for a day or two, then checking carbonation levels. After you have the carbonation you desire, the bottles are then warm pasteurized to stop bottle conditioning and avoid bottle bombs. I remember reading about this, but I don't remember where. It would also allow a sweeter finished product. I don't know how much I would like a dry, sparkling cider.

    Just bottling it is a crap shoot. You don't know what fermentables are left, and you may end up with stuff that is way over- or under-carbed, if nothing blows up.
  13. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    which is better Woodchuck or Hornesby?
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Angry Orchard
  15. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I don't believe you. Send me some so that I can see for myself.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have an angry orchard hat. Mmmm, good stuff.

    Ferment at 70 just like non-lager, beer.

    I use nottingham ale yeast. I dno't like wine and want the cider to burp like a beer.

    To avoid the bottle bombs, you let the cider ferment until dry and then add a non-fermentable sweetener plus the appropriate amount of corn sugar to get carbonation. I use Xylitol.

    Follow these directions.

    http://makinghardcider.com/
  17. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I have a half gallon of cider in the fridge that cost 7 dollars ! I guess i am gonna be a lightweight and drink it non alcoholic ;em

    Pete
  18. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Great post. Takes me back to my cider making days in college at an orchard near Shippensburg, PA. Chipped, pressed and delivered a few thousand gallons before the pasteuriztion rules changed. :mad:

    Fermented some with spectacular results in first batch, but crappy wild takeovers in 2 others. Think I remember using campden tablets, and champagne yeast maybe. Got a well-producing summer rambo / Gdelicious / Gsmith tree. Gotta get me a fruit press.
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I didn't particularly like Hornesby . . . I found it a bit dry and bitter vs. Woodchuck (regular stuff) which is more sweet. I haven't had an Angry Orchard yet.
  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Several have asked - no added temp. necessary to get cider going - just like wine. I put crushed up campden tablets in mine for 24 hours prior to adding additional fermentables and yeast. If you search my posts you'll find some recipes I have used in the past. I have one batch going now with a dumpload of brown sugar and honey - using a Champagne yeast. Will keep one warm in the winter ...
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hey tim, I will dig up your old thread. I did the same with the campden tablets. Though I may be going conservative, I was told to not try for high alcohol volume on the first batch because the results can end up not tasting so hot. with that caveat in mind I added 2.5 cups of corn sugar to bring it up to 1.060 sp gr. from 1.057, also using champagne yeast. It's merrily perking away in the carboy at room temp, passing about a bubble every .5 secs., so the yeast seems happy. When bottling I think I will do some still and some back carbonated. I'm also going to make a smaller 1 gallon batch with garden raspberries based on Pen's recommendation.
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    begreen - please report out on the batch with raspberries - sounds very tasty.

    Last year we had a neighbor who let us gather as many pears from his two full-size pear trees as we wanted - my family gathered well over 100 pounds (ate fresh, made freezer jam, all sorts of pear muffins/cakes, etc.). A coworker also gathered in excess of 100 pounds and made Perry - it was awesome. So, all of you folks reading this thread might consider trying Perry as well. Same idea as cider, just use pressed pear juice.

    I've also read about "Peachy" - again, same concept but from pressed peach juice - anybody try this?
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There is a commercial hard pear juice beverage available in my area. I think it is "Spire" brand and is very tasty and crisp. Pear juice is a great base.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good to know. We have lots of pears.

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