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This year has been generous and gave us a great apple harvest. There is even a surplus of them so, I would like to ask you, how to make a cider from apples?

Thank you in advance.

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migrated from cooking.stackexchange.com Aug 25 '11 at 16:40

This question came from our site for professional and amateur chefs.

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I think this question should be migrated to Homebrew. –  Chris Cudmore Aug 25 '11 at 15:12
    
Theres a Homebrew stackexchange? How awesome! –  Max Aug 25 '11 at 16:09
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@Max - There's a stackexchange for everything. –  Chris Cudmore Aug 25 '11 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

If you mean dry, french/english cider for drinking, then the most appropriate way in my opinion is:

Specialty equipment

  • Fermentation bucket sealed with an airlock and that has a tap.
  • Yeast - preferably good quality cider yeast from a brewing shop.
  • Racking cane / siphon.
  • Bottling tool for easily bottling the cider.

Go about it this way

  1. Collect apples. 18-20 kg gives 10l cider. If you have sweet apples, add 3 grams of tartaric acid or 4.5g of citric acid per liter cider. Tartaric is prefered but might not be available.
  2. Locate an orchard or similar which have equipment to "cold press" it. These places are pretty common in Sweden, but I have no idea if this is the case in other locations.
  3. Place your juice in the sanitized bucket.
  4. Pour yeast, which has been activated according to instructions sent alongside your yeast, into the fermentation bucket.
  5. After a day or so the airlock should start to bubble. Wait another week until the bubbling is slowing, and you can see dormant yeast as a layer at the bottom of the fermentor.
  6. (optional) Use the racking cane to transfer into a secondary fermentation bucket, and let the cider mature for one or two weeks. Otherwise, simply wait until bubbling has stopped completely, and yeast has settled.
  7. Use a priming sugar calculator to determine how much sugar to add for the level of carbonation desired (no more than 5 grams per liter). Mix thoroughly, and distribute to your bottles with the bottling tool. Take care to avoid any settled yeast. You will need to siphon the cider to another container, otherwise you cannot mix the liquid without disturbing the yeast. You will lose a bit of cider, but you don't want yeasty cider.
  8. Cap the bottles and keep at room temperature for two weeks.
  9. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This might seem like quite a process - which is because it is. If you want good, quality cider, you need to make an effort.
  • There will always be sedimented yeast in the finished drink if you want it carbonated - you can only decide the amount of that yeast and whether or not it is dead/burst yeast from the initial fermentation or only fresh yeast from the carbonating fermentation. Also, you don't want to shake the bottle prior to drinking. The colder and longer the bottle is stored, the harder the yeastcake at the bottom will be.
  • Making cider, wine and beer is fun. Take pleasure in the procedure instead of simply enduring it!
  • Unfermented cider happens to be THE best environment for yeast, and the next best for bacteria - which want a slightly more neutral pH. This is both good and bad - you cannot store cider for more than a few hours safely really. It also means that your yeast will be very happy though. Make sure to pitch the yeast into the juice as soon as you can. I won't make any guarantees and since this is a public site I will suggest doing so within two hours, even though I've been fine with five-six hours aswell.
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cider yeast is not necessary and the expense is rarely worth the difference in the final product. 35 5 gal cider batches in (mostly apple, pear, and specialty) and the $0.75 yeast produces as good a drink as the $7. –  drj Aug 26 '11 at 8:46
    
no need for tartaric or citric acid, the pH is just fine without them. No need for cold pressing, just use a juicer (they usually cost less than paying someone to press the apples). No need for secondary fermentation. Use a priming sugar calculator instead of the sugar amounts mentioned to avoid bottle bombs and control carbonation. And the last statement about bacteria is not accurate nor needed if you use campdon. Unfermented cider can be stored in cool temps for several weeks (think about what they did before refrigeration). –  drj Aug 26 '11 at 8:58
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@drj In my defense, this was posted at cooking.stackexchange which is where I answered it. If I had known it would be migrated to homebrew, if I indeed knew such a thing existed, I wouldn't have answered. That said, I have noticed a bit more pleasant taste to my cider after adding a bit of extra acid, depending on acidity of the apples. It still seems many people recommend secondary fermentation - which is why I marked it as optional. The environment should indeed be pretty pleasant to bacteria, if the apples are sweet, but probably more so to any wild yeast. –  Max Aug 26 '11 at 9:53
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@drj And I recommended cider yeast to avoid bread yeast. Again, this was intended for cooking.stackexchange and thus the post was geared toward that audience. –  Max Aug 26 '11 at 9:56
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was just adding that expensive cider yeast is not necessary and has little effect on the difference in flavor or carbonation. Your point about bread yeast is a good one, but some actually like the taste of the bread yeast fermented cider. No need to take defense (no offense intended), it all is a matter of personal preferences and expenditure once you get beyond the basics. –  drj Aug 27 '11 at 22:23

Cider is basically just unfiltered apple juice. Hard cider is that, plus yeast.

Here is a detailed set of instructions for creating hard cider. You can stop at the "add yeast" step. Here is a slightly more technical version.

In a nutshell however, smush the apples. Collect the juice. Enjoy.

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Wow, that's really helpful. Thanks! –  Arthur Aug 25 '11 at 13:50

Making cider is actually a pretty simple process—although there are a few steps and precautions to be aware of as well as a few items you'll need. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Acquire apple juice. Pasteurized juice is best as apples can be contaminated with various things that can make you sick. You can use your own juice but realize that if you don't pasteurize it there is risk of illness. This PDF has good information on the process of cider making as well as sterilizing your juice.
  2. Choosing and adding your yeast. The yeast is what ferments the sugars in your apple juice, turning them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
  3. Let it sit and ferment
  4. Bottle the hard cider

Search around online a bit and find a recipe that fits you. Some recipes call for 5 gallons of juice, which—to some people—can be formidable and expensive others are a little more manageable.

Those are the very basics of making cider. I recommend you give this site a read as it goes into much more detail than I am able to give here.

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I'll stop shy of a down vote, but drinking unpasteurized JUICE is not the same as drinking CIDER made from unpasteurized juice. In short, the acidic and alcoholic environment created by beer, wine and cider is very inhospitable to bacteria, including E Coli and Salmonella. The whole point of alcohol production in human history (besides the nice kick it gives you) is that its a safe way of preserving calories. If you could get E Coli from unpasteurized cider or wine, vast swathes of humans would have died from the drinks every year before Pasteur. That was not the case. –  Graham Aug 25 '11 at 18:12
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To add to Graham, we eat apples pretty much raw and don't get sick too. More over, I have had a couple really great ciders that were nothing more than freshly pressed apple juice and allowed to spontaneously ferment. Nature has a weird way of having just the right wild yeast on apples for fermentation, just like the grapes have the wild yeasts suitable for fermentation too. I am not shy, downvote. –  brewchez Aug 25 '11 at 20:11

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