Hard Apple Cider Recipe
Apple Cider: A Brief History
Hard apple cider is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on the planet. The first written history of cider begins with Julius Caesar himself in 55 B.C. It was recorded to be one of his favorite drinks. However, apple cider did not gain serious popularity until the 1600s, when William Blackstone came to the Americas and planted the first apple orchards (English settlers were disappointed to find only crabapples upon arrival). It continued to be a staple beverage with early colonial Americans until it exploded in popularity in the 1800s. The Industrial Revolution saw many fresh water sources became contaminated, and for a time, hard apple cider became safer to drink than water. Then by the early 1900s, cider all but disappeared as prohibition picked up speed in the United States. Cider was nearly forgotten in the United States until the 18th amendment was repealed, and did not come back into popularity until the early 1980s.
Hard apple cider can be found again at your local grocery store from a variety of different breweries and in a variety of different flavors. However, the best apple cider is the kind that you make yourself. Fall is just around the corner, and there is nothing better than a crisp apple cider around the bonfire in September and October.
1 gallon fresh apple cider (NO PRESERVATIVES ADDED)
.75 lbs. White Table Sugar OR 1 lb. Brown Sugar
1 packet Red Star Champagne Yeast
½ tsp. Pectic Enzyme
½ tsp. Yeast Energizer
1 Campden Tablet, Crushed
¼ cup Corn Sugar
1. Pour your cider into your primary fermentation bucket. Be sure that is free of sorbates or other preservatives as this will instantly kill any yeast it comes in contact with. 2. Add your crushed Campden Tablet and the Pectic Enzyme to prevent discoloration (browning) of the cider, and to aid in clearing. 3. Add sugar and yeast energizer. 4. Stir well. 5. Draw a sample and use your hydrometer to take a specific gravity reading. Record and save. 6. Cover your primary fermenter. WAIT 24 HOURS. 7. After 24 hours, uncover your primary and add your yeast. Sprinkle on top, no need to stir. 8. Reattach the lid. Ensure the lid is airtight. Attach your airlock. 9. Stir daily. Continue to check the gravity with your hydrometer. When the gravity reaches 1.040 (3-5 days), its time to rack into your secondary fermenting jug. 10. Siphon liquid off layer of sediment into sanitized jug for secondary fermentation.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION: 1. Continue to check gravity. After 2-3 weeks in the secondary fermenter, the gravity of the cider should reach 1.000. Fermentation is now complete. 2. Siphon your cider off the layer of sediment and into a second sanitized glass jug. 3. Cover with a #6.5 drilled rubber stopper and attach your airlock again. 4. Repeat the siphoning process until you achieve the clarity you desire. 5. If your cider is still cloudy, you can use a clearing agent such as Isinglass or SuperKleer.
1. Dissolve ¼ cup of priming sugar (corn sugar) in ½ cup of warm water. Add to jug.
2. Cover gallon jug with a polyseal screw cap.
1. Siphon cider into bottles of your choice and use a capper to apply crown caps.
2. Place in a cool, dry, dark area and wait for carbonation to complete (2-3 weeks).