Home-brewed apple cider

Home-brewed apple cider

After five or six brews, I produced a batch of apple cider that’s not just very drinkable but very good. The juice was pressed by a hobbyist in Victoria, MN and is mostly Honeycrisp with some McIntosh and Haralson.

Part of the trick was being patient – the apples were pressed September 18 and the juice sat without opening from the pitching of the yeast on September 19 to bottling on December 21. The yeast had settled leaving a clear body. An apple flavor dominated – only a surprise to those who haven’t tried making cider from store bought juice.

Half a cup of table sugar (boiled in half a cup of water) was added to the five gallon batch at bottling. An additional ½ teaspoon of sugar was added to half the bottles and apple flavoring was added to half of each group resulting in four groups of sugared or extra-sugared and plan or flavor boosted. I’ve not yet tried any of the bottles with flavoring – I intend to pasteurize most of them.

Additional notes: The juice was 1.040-1.045 SG. 5 caps of Campden were added when I picked up the cider, 2 packets of Red Star Montrachet yeast were pitched 30 hours later along with 4 cups of table sugar. 71°F ambient. Bubbling started 40 hours after the yeast was pitched. Ambient temperatures throughout fermentation ranged between 66 and 79°F.