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How to Make Hard Cider

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Hard Cider

Hard Cider is pretty darn easy to make, and this recipe and process is quite simple.

*A typical recipe is five gallons, but you can change the recipe to make any size (less or more).

*Most raw cider will ferment out to about 5% ABV, so if you want to add sugar (brown sugar, honey, etc) to bring the alcohol percentage up… about 1lb of sugar will give you an extra percent of alcohol. For example, 7.5% cider needs 2.5lbs of sugar. We would suggest that when adding sugar to cider it should be dissolved in water (simple syrup solution) before being added. This ensures that the sugar is equally dispersed in to the cider, and prevents you from having to heat the cider.

1. Get 5 gallons of raw, unpasteurized cider from a a cider mill, fill into a sanitized carboy or plastic bucket. See recommended local cider mills at the bottom of the page.

2. Use Campden Tablets to kill wild yeast if you desire, but you can leave wild yeast in for some unique character. To use Campden Tablets, crush 1 tablet per gallon of cider, and put it into the carboy when you get home after filling it. Wait 24 hours to let the Campden do its job. One hour prior to adding the yeast add Pectic Enzyme if you want a clear, nice looking cider. Without Pectic Enzyme the final product will most likely be a little cloudy.

3. Pitch yeast. We recommend Wyeast Cider Yeast, but any dry ale or wine yeast will work. The type of yeast used will determine the body of the cider i.e. Dry or Not Dry. If you like a very dry crisp cider then use a champange yeast. If not, use an ale yeast.  Click on the “cheat sheet” pic below for yeast and additive options.  

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4. Ferment for about 2 weeks, and transfer to secondary. At this point, you can leave the cider in the fermenter for as long as 2 weeks or 6 months. We are usually not patient enough to wait, so I bottle or keg after about a month of total fermentation.  It should be noted that if you use an ale yeast, your cider could smell like sulfur for quite some time….that is normal, and wait for that smell to go away before bottling.  

5. Bottle or keg the cider. Enjoy!

*Recommended local cider mills:

Vandermill

Hill Brothers

Sietsema

Robinette’s