Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Easy way to make hard cider without all the thecnology

After reading several of the post on here and several books on making cider,I find myself
overyelmed with all of this scientific lingo…Did the oldtimes go through all of this bumble
jumble as well ?
I just want to press my apples and make some hard cider…So can someone on here tell me the
simple and easy way to make it without having a PHD .

Like for for example,yeast…I tryed the method of using natures on yeast on the apples and
raisens…I understand that the results may not be the same every time…So what is the best
yeast brand to use ?

I hear with yeast,It might not take as long as with the natural yeast…What about the raisens? Are they really needed?

Like I am trying to say…I want it simple…So tell me how to do it,please…John

Raisins have natural yeast on them, and they are no doubt manufactured fairly consistently, so they are probably as reliable as you can get using naturally occurring yeast. I have also used pitted dates in the past with very good success. Natural yeast on the apples themselves, on the other hand, is more of a crapshoot. So this is probably why people have been using raisins for hundreds of years - consistent good results. But you still won’t be able to predict exactly what qualities you’re going to get unless you pitch brewers/vintners yeast.

My favorite yeasts at the moment are US-05 (ale yeast) and Cote des Blancs (wine yeast). Both are extremely reliable and fast-acting yeasts, and both finish fairly dry. The US-05 provides a sort of honey-like flavor which I find very pleasant, while the Cote des Blancs is cleaner and simply expresses the apple fruit flavor better than anything else I’ve used to date. Dry yeast is easiest to use because all you need to do is sprinkle it on top of the sweet cider, and you’re done. Dry yeast is also cheap and extremely reliable. You can try pretty much any kind of dry yeast on the market. The only dry yeast I would stay away from is bread yeast – I’ve tried that as well and it makes the cider taste bready – go figure!

As you have asked and suggested, it can be very very simple indeed to make very good cider. The most important thing, I think, is freshness of ingredients, and if you are pressing your own, then you’ve got that covered. Truly, all you need to do if you want to keep it simple is to throw in a handful of raisins, or a packet of dry yeast, and you’re done. Pretty darn cheap and easy. And while addition of yeast is optional, the only problem is a little higher chance of contamination if there’s not enough natural yeast in the cider. Personally I would hate to have to dump 5 gallons of my lovingly self-pressed cider due to contamination later while knowing I could have made an awesome cider just by throwing in $3 worth of dry yeast. So I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry and just use a pack of dry yeast for every batch. And I’ve had no complaints from me or my friends so far on my finished cider.

Here’s what I do for a simple cider. Put all but a quart of the juice in the fermenter, heat the quart in a pan with 0.5-1 lb per gallon of the sugar of your choice (I like jaggery or piloncillo, for instance, but any kind will do, and you don’t have to add sugar at all if you don’t want the alcohol boost) until the sugar is dissolved, add a teaspoon of yeast nutrient to dissolve, then add to the fermenter. At this point, you either let it ferment with the wild yeast on the skin or you add some dry yeast, like US-05 as dmtaylor mentioned, to do the bulk of the fermentation. No need to aerate with the dry yeast, just sprinkle it on top and apply the air lock and let it go (or you can rehydrate the yeast if you want to get all fancy).
Once it’s done fermenting it’ll be really dry, so you may want to backsweeten it (I use apple juice concentrate) – if you can keg it, you’re fine as-is, just rack the cider to the keg and add some kind of sugar if you wish and keep cold so the yeast don’t start up again, but if you want to bottle it and backsweeten, you’ll need to kill off the yeast first, then bottle with the sugar (it’ll be still, not sparkling since there’s no yeast to make carbonation).

The raisins also are adding tannin to your cider. Some like it in there and some don’t. English ciders have a tendency to be more tannic. Some ale yeasts will also contribute a tannic quality.
+1 to the Cote Des Blancs. D-47, Wyeast 4766, and Wyeast 4184 are also great yeasts.

I appreciate your kind and imformative replys…So is this yeast you mention
the same as they use for wine making…I am not far from the place so I can get
things there…I see they have the artifical sweetener as well…
Now about the yeast…How do you know how much to put in…Like if I wanted
to just try a gallon for a trial run ? And another question is…Just because it is
not bubbling anymore,does that mean it is done? I know if I had some sugar after
it stops,it will start back up again…Thanks again…John

One packet of yeast is good for 5 or 6 gallons, but once you open the packet, it’s hard to save it, so you might as well use it all. The best way to know when it’s done is to use an instrument that tells you how much sugar is left. You can pick up a hydrometer at a brewing or wine making shop for about $6, if you want one. To keep it really simple, I’d just let it sit in the fermenter for 2 months and taste it to make sure it’s not too sweet. The yeast will keep working after you stop seeing active fermentation. If you add sugar at any point, the yeast will start fermenting the sugar until they have finished on it. If you want to add sugar, you can do it at the beginning or later on in the process. I suggest boiling the sugar with a bit of water to sanitize it, then cool the liquid before adding it.

Hey guys, I did a couple of searches, but didn’t find this: what is the top ABV of US-05? So far I’ve only used D47 on ciders, but I’m looking for other alternatives. Thanks.

I know it’ll go to at least 10%, and with a healthy pitch, you might be able to get over 15%. There are very few ale yeasts that won’t go to at least 10%.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com