From the HBD Archive
From: imagesys! (Shawn M Bilodeau)
Subject: Hard cider
Date: 1992-02-25 23:31:24 GMT

I apologize in advance for this not being specifically about beer, but I
thought that if anyone knew the answer to this, they'd probably be reading
this digest...

Just how does one go about making REAL hard cider? That's real as in
similar to the cider one can get in a British pub (as opposed to real hard -
I don't really require that it have a high alcohol content).

My step-daughter just got back from a semester of school (exchange
student) in England. She's not a real beer drinker (although she is
interested in trying the apple beer that I brewed recently), but she was very
impressed by the sparkling hard cider that she could get at the local pub. I
had a chance to try some of this at a transplanted British pub in Rochester,
NY (The Old Toad), and liked it myself.

After that I tried to make a batch of hard cider myself, based on a
method that a fellow brewer and I worked out (in complete ignorance of how it
should be done). I started with three gallons of (preservative-free) cider,
which I brought to a boil in my brewpot. I let it boil covered for an hour,
which brought the wort (well, maybe not wort, but I don't know what you would
call boiled cider) down to about two and a half gallons. I dumped the wort
into my primary fermenter, and let cool to pitching temperature (roughly 80
F), and pitched a packet of dry champagne yeast, added cover and air-lock, and
left it alone for a week.

At the end of the week I racked the cider to my bottling bucket, added
2/3 cup of corn sugar, and bottled. What went into the bottle was a very pale
yellow liquid with little resemblence to cider, or even apple juice. The trub
was a very dark rust red. The S.G. was 0.998 (and of course, I forgot to get
an O.G. - very annoying!).

I tried a bottle of it a week ago (this was nearly three weeks after
bottling) and what I had was "firm" cider. There is almost no apple taste,
and almost no color. There seems to be alcohol present, but I have no way of
telling how much, other than the fact that I didn't get smashed on the single
bottle. So, how do the British get such a deep yellow color out of their hard
cider? Not to mention a much stronger apple flavor? The only thing that I
have been able to think of is that I may need to start with more cider, and do
a much longer boil, with cover removed. That should concentrate the essence
of the apple before the fermentation, shouldn't it?

I'd appreciate any help, suggestions, pointers, etc. that anyone can give
me. I remember that someone mentioned having a book on making hard cider in a
previous HBD - does anyone remember if a title was supplied? Thanks in
advance for all of the help!

| Shawn M Bilodeau Shawn O'Dew |
| |

P.S - could someone please email me a copy of #831? The copy that we
received was cut off at the start of the recipe for the Surprised Frog Lager.
Thanks again!

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