From the HBD Archive
Subject: cider
Date: 1989-12-21 21:20:00 GMT

Date sent: 21-DEC-1989 16:07:56

I have some experience making cider and one of these actually won 1st place
in last years Mid Atlantic Regional Homebrew Competition.

Things to think about. Just like brewing good beer, it helps to have a
good reference book to start with. You should have something like "The
Complete Joy of Homebrewing" equivalent in the cider world. So after
ordering a good book on making cider, I made my first batch.

The book made a big deal about selecting the right apples and pressing them,
but as an extract homebrewer, this didn't appeal to me. So for my first
batch I ordered a can of apple concentrate from a winemaking store. The
final result was excellent. If I remember correctly, there are a number
of things that differ from beer making due to the chemical differences
between a beer wort and apple cider.

-Whatever cider you start with, it should be free of preservatives, otherwise
nothing will ferment.
-It is HIGHLY recommended to use add some good yeast rather than depending
on nature to supply it.
-Before adding the yeast, sulfite the juice to kill off unwanted bacteria.
-I've tasted plenty of cider that has "naturally fermented" and it tastes
awful, usually like vinegar. Actually there is a path of fermentation used
to make apple vinegar. This is not desirable if your goal is to make a
hard cider.
-Cider doesn't have the greatest nutrients to support yeast. Therefore I
think it is recommended to add some yeast nutrients. Also, a number of
other additives are called for, usually some acids to adjust the pH to
something that the yeast prefer.
-Also, cider does not have as much sugar as you would imagine. Large
amounts of honey were added to start at a decent gravity.
Final result: Excellent, and quite strong, gets better with age.
Excellent cold and also a knockout (literally) when served as a warm
mulled cider with the addition of spices and rum.
-Read a good book and it should have all of this info and more.

As a second batch I used some Red Cheek apple juice instead of the
winemakers concentrate. Not nearly as good. It almost tasted like
Berliner Weisse and I wound up drinking it with raspberry syrup.
Note: in the second batch, I didn't add any honey.

Good luck!

--- Andy Ross ---

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