How to make Hard Cider
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Thread: How to make Hard Cider

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    How to make Hard Cider

    We have an orchard up the street from us that presses some pretty tasty cider. They do pasteurize it (they "flash pasteurize" by passing the cider through a "hot spot" momentarily) but will set aside batches of unpasteurized cider if someone asks for it.

    I'd like to make some hard cider but haven't done it before. When I was about 20, my buddy and I tried to make some watermelon wine and that was a disaster! He and I did make beer many years ago, but I've long forgotten all of the particulars. I figure there's no better place to turn than the fine folks here at GTT (even if some of us are boxed wine drinkers! ) to get some instruction on turning out some great hard cider.

    I wouldn't mind making a few smaller batches of stuff if it's not a lot of trouble to do. Can I make the hard cider right in the plastic jugs that the cider comes in? Or should I do this in 5 gallon batches?

    I am also looking for specifics on what kind of yeast to use. Someone in another thread mentioned champagne yeast makes a dryer cider. I wouldn't mind some of that, but would also like some traditional hard cider as well.

    What about bottling? Do I need to start saving wine bottles (instead of drinking out of the box!) or can I use canning jars?

    Sorry for the dumb questions, but like I said, it's been years since I've done any of this. So, let's let the learnin' commence!!

    THANKS!!
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    2LaneCruzer's Avatar
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    No help here, but did find this 1934 agriculture bulletin on cider making. You might find it interesting just from the historical perspective. FWIW, I read an article a while back that indicated that hard cider was a staple in this country up until the last few decades. Seems most rural farming families had small orchards and loved their cider and drank a lot of it!

    Cider Making on the Farm
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    GTT's Pilot in Command (PIC) farmgirl19's Avatar
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    mark02tj; You buy the expensive alcohol and I'll drink it! Go back thru enough threads on this forum, and you'll see where I drank MD 20/20, on a fun afternoon/evening 2 years ago.

    I've also had "rot gut" from Mexico, when I was in college, along with "Trash Can Punch" made with Everclear. So yes, I've had boxed wine. In fact, it might have been one of the more sane things I did for my liver, when I was in college!
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    Learning to make hard cider is easy....lots of help online.

    But the trick is finding apples or juice that will make GOOD cider. Real hard cider apples are very rare--varieties like Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Harry's Master Jersey. The other kind of apples are desert apples--what we eat and make pies with. In a pinch you can make some interesting cider out of Newtown Pippins, Winesapps, and some of the older varieties. Most of the new varieties a just big bags of sweet water. You can experiment with desert apple juice mixed with small amount of juice from crab apples.
    Once you ferment all the sugar out of the juice and turn it into alcohol your cider will be very dry. Most people will want something not quite so mouth puckering. Blending the fermented cider with some unfermented juice or pear juice or a touch of honey will get you something drinkable.
    Find a beer making supply store and they'll have the equipment you'll need for hard cider. Good luck. It's fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmgirl19 View Post
    mark02tj; You buy the expensive alcohol and I'll drink it! Go back thru enough threads on this forum, and you'll see where I drank MD 20/20, on a fun afternoon/evening 2 years ago.

    I've also had "rot gut" from Mexico, when I was in college, along with "Trash Can Punch" made with Everclear. So yes, I've had boxed wine. In fact, it might have been one of the more sane things I did for my liver, when I was in college!
    Expensive alcohol?? You got me all wrong, FG!! I do generally spend a little more than what a bottle of MadDog runs, but I'm certainly not out buying $50 bottles of wine of 40 year old Scotch! My usual shopping strategy for wine is to go in the wine department at Kroger's and look for bottles that have the highest percentage off the regular price for their sales price. In other words, I'll look for a $25 bottle that's marked down to $7.99. I've found some good wine that way, but also plenty of not-so-good wine. And, I've drank more than my fair share of wine in a box!

    I don't think that the Mexican rot gut made it this far north, but when I was in college we did the Trash Can Punch with 'shine from KY & TN. My liver and my brain cells appreciate that I don't do that any more!!

    BRIANSIMS - THANKS for the tips on the different apples!

    Anyone else make their own hard cider?
    '05 JD 3520 Open Station w/ 300CX FEL
    Grandpa's '52 Farmall Cub
    A couple of old Gravelys
    Help a Vet and his dog

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    GTT's Pilot in Command (PIC) farmgirl19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    Expensive alcohol?? You got me all wrong, FG!! I do generally spend a little more than what a bottle of MadDog runs, but I'm certainly not out buying $50 bottles of wine of 40 year old Scotch! My usual shopping strategy for wine is to go in the wine department at Kroger's and look for bottles that have the highest percentage off the regular price for their sales price. In other words, I'll look for a $25 bottle that's marked down to $7.99. I've found some good wine that way, but also plenty of not-so-good wine. And, I've drank more than my fair share of wine in a box!

    I don't think that the Mexican rot gut made it this far north, but when I was in college we did the Trash Can Punch with 'shine from KY & TN. My liver and my brain cells appreciate that I don't do that any more!!

    BRIANSIMS - THANKS for the tips on the different apples!

    Anyone else make their own hard cider?
    I don't think it made it north of the Rio Grande. Well, it did, but it was because I bought it in Mexico and carried it across the border. (Yep, had to pay 50 cent tax for each bottle, and there was a limit to how many bottles you could cross with. Quota wasn't a problem, because it didn't take much to do the job.) And if you splashed rotgut on a car, it would strip the paint down to bare metal. Guess how I know?
    If man had enough horse sense to treat his wife like a Thoroughbred, she'd never grow into an old nag.

    If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride!

    Happiness is contagious; Be a carrier!

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