AUGUST 1, 2010
THE COUNTRY CORNER
HARD CIDER THIS FALL???
Steps in Making Hard Cider
Secure apple cider without preservative. Most apple cider for hard cider should be a blend of 3 or more varieties. Gathering your own apples and squeezing is the fun way to go!!!
Fresh cider should be in clean containers. Wooden barrels make the best hard cider as the wood breathes and gives the cider proper aging.
To the cider add 1lb. of sugar per gallon for a dry hard cider (not sweet) or 1 1/2 lbs. for a sweet drink. Honey can be substituted for sugar on a pound per pound basis. Sugar and honey should be dissolved by warming some cider and mixing the sugar and honey until completely dissolved; then mix with the cider.
Natural yeast in the juice will ferment the sugar to alcohol. Yeast need not be added, although it can without any problem. Some fermentation processes call for killing all the yeast in the pure cider with sulfur dioxide, waiting 24 hours and then adding wine yeast. For the homeowner this is not necessary.
Put air lock on container and keep at 60-70F for a couple of months. Lower temperatures take longer for product to change from sugar to alcohol.
After 2 months the juice should be decanted off (siphoned out of the container), the container washed, and the juice put back into the container. Do not use siphon hose closer than 4" from bottom of container as this is where all the sediment is resting.
After decanting, store at 40 - 60F in a wooden barrel and wait for proper aging -- 6 months to 6 years, depending upon desires.
Once juice is in container, the container cannot be moved as it will put sediment back into solution, and the results is a cloudy product.
Beet, grape, raspberry juice, etc. can be added for color.
Raisins can be added for sugar.
If cider is made in a 50-gallon wooded barrel, and you plan to draw it off over a 6-month period, a sulfur dioxide dispensing bung should be put on top bung hole once barrel is in use. This keeps the air space germ free and prevents off taste on the last used product.
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