Luke Cyca .com

Home-Brew Apple Cider

My first four experiments in home-brew apple cider...

Batch A

  • 1.89L of Simply Food 100% Apple Juice ($3.79 at Shoppers)
  • Remove 150mL (1.742L remain)
  • OG: 1.041
  • Add 1/2c corn sugar, new OG: 1.056
  • 100mL tannin solution (strong Lapsang Suchong black tea)
  • 1/2tsp Lalvin EC-1118 (champagne yeast)
  • Shake a bit, wait 10 minutes, shake some more
  • After 12 hrs: Cloudy, foam on top, airlock bubble every 20-30s
  • After 3 days: Bubble every 10s
  • After 5 days: Bubble every 15s
  • After 8 days: SG: 1.004 (4.86%ABV)
  • After 15 days: SG: 1.006 (wut??)
  • Bottled in one glass and one plastic bottle with 0.5tsp corn sugar each
  • First tasting after two weeks
  • Light, a tiny bit sweet (but mostly dry), subtle apple taste, light carbonation, needs a bit more
  • Second tasting after another month
  • Chilled the plastic bottle and force-carbonated it
  • Delicious! I would pay money for this

Batch B

  • Same as Batch A except...
  • Safale S-04 (ale yeast)
  • OG: 1.056
  • SG: 0.996 (5.91%ABV)
  • First tasting after two weeks
  • Tastes darker, not bad, smell is rubbery and not great, not enough carbonation
  • Second tasting after another month
  • Getting better but still has a funny rubbery smell

A month or two later...

Batch C

  • Same as Batch A except...
  • No tannin solution added
  • SG: 1.003
  • Racked with 1tsp corn sugar in plastic juice container
  • Waited a month - couldn't wait any longer
  • Chilled and force-carbonated
  • Tasted like Batch A - pretty good but could probably use more time

Batch D

  • Same as Batch B except...
  • No tannin solution added
  • SG: 1.003
  • Racked with 1tsp corn sugar in plastic juice container
  • Waited a month, chilled, force-carbonated
  • Tasted like Batch B - still rubbery but even younger and more yeasty
  • Put most of it down the drain

Key Learnings

  • Don't use ale yeast
  • Allow plenty of time to age
  • Bottle-carbonating is neat but force-carbonating is easier to get right
  • Don't bottle-carbonate in juice bottles — they bulge like crazy
  • It's remarkably easy to make an okay-tasting cider

References

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