Apples, I know you like them.

Who doesn’t like apples? Well I actually do know a few people who don’t but for blogging purposes lets just say everyone does.  I know for one thing my wife absolutely loves apples, well at least the kind you have to be 21 to consume. Yes I am talking about hard cider, the delicious adult beverage that surprisingly has some very limited offerings.  If your to lazy to brew your own and have no idea what I’m talking about there are basically 3 offerings on the market. At least out here in the Midwest, You have  Hornsby’s, Woodchuck,  and  Hardcore Cider. Each has its own character and each is good in its own right. I happen to like Hornsbys Amber because its dry and my Wife loves Woodchucks granny smith just in case your wondering. Anyways the only thing apple that I have made so far is some apfelwein, which to me (correct me if I am wrong) is a high ABV, dry German version of our American “hard” cider (apple jack) in the states. Its pretty much Apples, and champagne or wine yeast, something that will allow the brew to reach a higher ABV state before getting scared quitting.  American versions tend to use a lower tolerant yeast which will leave a session able, usually sweeter beverage. I made something that was in between last year and it turned out pretty well.

Heres the recipe, I picked it up from JayHuff from the homebrewtalk forums, thanks Jay!

2 Gallon Juice / Cider – No Preservatives (except Vitamin c / asorbic acid)
8oz Crystal Malt 10L
4oz Chocolate Malt
Wyeast WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast

First thing you gotta do is steep the grains, bring 1qt of water up to 154’F. Using a muslin bag let the grains hang out in the pool for 20 minutes. While this is going on in a second pot bring another 1qt up to 170’f. After the 20 minutes is up gently pick up the bag and dunk it into the second pot. Dunk the bag gently up and down in this water for a full 5 minutes. This process is referred to as “sparging” however its a very down and dirty method to do so. You can of course steep and sparge the grains the standard way if you wish. After this is done, dump the apple juice / cider into a carboy and top off with both pots of water from earlier. Take a temp reading, if your down below 80’f you can pitch the yeast. I am thinking its going to be easier if I toss the juice in the fridge first. Add the yeast, nutrients if you bought any, pop on the air lock and let her go.

That’s pretty much it, its a very easy process and highly customizable. It should take a few weeks to ferment out, however do not even mess with it for a month. Apple juice / cider when fermented gives off a sulfur smell (rotten eggs) at first, if you let it sit a month it will go away.  Since this is a 2.5 gallon batch you will need about 1/2 cup of corn sugar to bottle carb it.

So I hear this stuff tastes VERY similar to Woodchuck granny smith. Since as mentioned its my Wife’s favorite she will be the best critic when its done. I will post the results as soon as they come in, in the mean time give it a try, its cheap and easy to make.



4 Responses to “Apples, I know you like them.”

  1. Do you have a recipe for HardCore Cider?

    That is my wife’s favorite.


    • I do not, I also love Hardcore. Although Hornsby’s is by far my favorite I am really liking the newer offerings around her from Woodchuck. 802 and Amber are both delicious! Do not replicate the above recipe if your looking for a clone of woodchuck as I posted later it didn’t turn out as suggested. I would defiantly omit the chocolate malt if anything.

  2. Its a shame that we dont have more homebrewers in the cider scene.

    Have you had a chance to tinker with the recipe?

    Even If I had another brand’s clone I think I would be the hero.

    Last time I made cider it was very dry. So i tried tinkering but it never same out right. 😦

    • Have you checked out by chance? They have a cider area and there are a bunch of guys working on recipes.

      I have not had a chance to retry it, honestly I think it missed the mark way to far and I have had better luck with just apple juice and yeast. The dry situation is one everyone battles with. The two solutions are to use a lower tolerant yeast along with much more sugar that will cause the yeast to freak out and give up. Hence leaving residuals although it will be higher ABV. The second is the back sweeten, either by trying to halt the yeast, (camben tablets can help) and keeping it cold for safety reasons. This works but also risks restarting fermentation, even with the camben. Or you could back sweeten with something like Splenda, but to me that kind of adds a weird profile to it. However if you halt the yeast and back sweeten you will not be able to bottle carb, no problem if you have a kegging setup of course. But I don’t like still cider, only mead. Check out the site, my user name is Aleforge on there if you wanna add me to your buddy list. Its an interesting community!

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