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From the NB Blog - Hard Cider Made Easy

Hard Cider Made Easy

Don’t let the name fool you. At its core (see what we did there?), making Hard Cider is even easier than homebrewing. And the flavors – refreshingly complex, ranging from dry to sweet – are enough to tempt even pur die-hard homebrewer, Jeff Merriman, out of the brew cave and into the orchard. Ready to sample the forbidden, fermented fruit?

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Thanks for the article Jeff. Pretty basic, nice and clear. Sort of like cider now that I think about it.
I do have to point out one little problem- while the easiest way to get a sweet carbonated cider is indeed to keg, it is possible to do it other ways. One way is to stabilize with Sorbate and Metabisulfite, then backsweeten. Another way is to sweeten, then pasteurize when it’s ready. Takes more attention to details, but when you don’t keg, it’s doable.

And a third way is to back-sweeten with a non-fermentable sugar like sucralose, stevia, or xylitol (xylitol is very flavor neutral to those of us who can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners), then prime with sugar and bottle condition. Works great!

@jimrmaine i think the idea is if you want sweet AND carbonated those won’t work without a keg. @porkchop makes a valid suggestion but I’ve heard artificial sweeteners are hit/miss.

Agreed, but I’ve been really happy with the results with using xylitol. I wouldn’t bother using any other non-fermentable sugars! Only possible issue is that some brett strains can ferment it, so it’s important to know what’s living in your cider.

Jim’s suggestion of bottle pasteurizing will make a sweet carbonated cider, but you absolutely have to catch it before it over-carbonates as you can end up with too much pressure in your bottles. But as long as you don’t forget about the bottles, it works great! I’m too lazy for that, though…

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Yes, a good article. Simple so I didn’t glaze over after four paragraphs of technical stuff.

My first try a hard cider was a long time ago. Had the opportunity to get raw cider right from the orchard. Not having any idea what to do I just used the cider, some table sugar and champagne yeast. Dry did not come close to describing the end result. Mixing it with some fresh cider or apple juice in the glass fixed it enough so it was enjoyable and still packed a wallop.

It’s too bad that it must be cheaper to add chemicals than to Pasteurize cider. Makes it difficult to find. I’m not sure how the orchards would feel about selling raw cider these days.

This has sparked my interest in making some hard cider. A nice refreshing summer drink or fall by the campfire warmer.

Agreed. What I do is bottle one in a soda bottle. When that is hard, the rest are ready to pasteurize. My 1st time it was 4 days, 2nd time took 7. I also agree with loopie on using xylitol to backsweeten. I did the NB ‘Bastard Son Ginger Beer’ and after doing a bit of research decided to use xylitol rather than the packet of sucralose that came with the kit. Worked very well.

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Good story on Hard Cider Made Easy. I am going to try this in te fall when the apple harvest in is in. I have the basics for beer brewing now to branch out into a crisp Hard Honey Cider

I brewed my first hand cider last September. 5 gallons from a local mill. I just started cold-crashing with gelatin this week. I’ve been trying to decide how I want to serve it. I think I’m going to split it up to see what I like best.

  • some dry and flat in wine bottles
  • some dry and carbed in beer bottles
  • some back-sweetened and carbed in a keg

Hopefully an easy question - how much yeast (volume/weight) do you use for a one gallon batch?

My local organic grocery sells fresh, no preservative ciders and juice in one gallon jugs. I was thinking it’d be super easy to pitch in some yeast in the same glass container, but most of the yeast packets are intended for 5-gallon batches.

Pitch about 1/4 of the yeast and discard. Or, buy 4gals and use all the yeast in each container.

Awesome - I wasn’t sure it if was that simple, or some other math involved; I think I can handle that though!

Thanks for the extremely quick response too!

You’re better off slightly over pitching than under pitching by even a little.

4, 1gal batches could be a great opportunity to experiment.

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