I’ve done some things on this channel about wine-making. But what I’m really most interested in are meads and ciders. My first attempt at mead was a complete flop, not because I made it wrong, but because the recipe was, um questionable (note to self, basil probably doesn’t belong in mead). But that’s another story.
So I wanted to move into ciders in 2016, but there really aren’t a lot of fresh, locally-sourced apples available in January. So, based on some posts by Jack Spirko at #TheSurvivalPodcast, I started looking at juices available at the grocery store. Based on the results I can tell you this can be done quickly, easily, and inexpensively, and it can produce fantastic results. You’re not going to get the same kind of product as you would if you had a perfectly balanced blend of cider-specific sharp, sweet, bittersweet, and bittersharp apples. But you can produce some tasty table ciders that I’m confident you’ll be very pleased with.
The recipes and methods are endless. But here’s what I did:
Regardless if you use the listed ingredients or not, follow the manufacturers’ directions so far as process and amounts to suit the batch you’re producing.
- 3 gallons Sam’s Choice Apple Juice (IMPORTANT: The brand of apple juice isn’t important. But it is VERY important that you choose a juice that contains only juice, and maybe some ascorbic acid. You don’t want something with preservatives that could kill your yeast).
- 2 Bartlett pears, seeded and blended
- 1 packet of cider house yeast
- 2 tsp yeast nutrient
Racked and filled with around a half pint of juice. Still pretty cloudy.
Racked into a 3 G. carboy
Prepared and added 1/2 C. of wine finings
Added about 1 c. of filtered water to fill
Specific gravity: 1.0
Bottled (2) 1 liter flip-top bottles with 1 tsp of priming sugar each for a carbonated, high-alcohol content cider.
To the remainder I mixed:
added 1/2 of this mixture to stop the ferment
Racked to another carboy
Added 1/2 gallon of Sam’s Choice Apple Juice
Bottled 12 750 ml bottles of back-sweetened cider. Clear bottles.
The result was two growlers of a very dry sparkling cider, and a dozen bottles of light,
fruity table cider. Don’t be afraid of this process. It’s not rocket science. And based on the price tag on commercial ciders you’ll be money ahead, including the cost of the equipment, on the first batch.