Friday, November 13, 2009

A new blog topic for the off season

A while ago I watched a Good Eats program that was based on home brewing. It peaked my interest and has been something I have been thinking of doing every since. Recently I read a post @ Chiot's Run about making hard cider and decided this would be a great jumping off point.

I am using a recipe from Mother Earth News, which is a magazine I subscribe to by they way, great source of information. It calls for 5 gallons of cider but I adapted the recipe for 2 gallons. Here are a series of photos I have taken of the process thus far:

Here is my starter to get the yeast going. For the starter I used a bottle of pure apple juice with no preservatives in it. I simply poured off some of the juice for expansion room, added the yeast, shook it up and then added an airlock. I then let it ferment over night for use the next day. This photo was taken the next day after the airlock was removed. The yeast was certainly alive.

Here is one of the pots of cider heating. I decided to take the safest recipe approach and simmered the cider for 45 minutes to kill off any wild yeast/bacteria. During the heating I made sure the pot never fully boiled as this will set pectin's in the cider.

Lastly here is the Pièce de résistanc, the fermenter. I decided to cheap out and use a food grade pale. In retrospect I wish I went with a glass carboy so I could see what is going on it there. It is fitted with a bung & two piece airlock which allows C02 out without allowing germ laden air in. The airlock is filled with Vodka.

From what I have read it will take about 2 weeks to ferment and turn alcoholic. At this point you do a second fermentation for 1 weeks to further clarify and age the cider. It is then ready to drink or it can be bottle aged like wine. I will keep you all posted on the progress of my project, I hope it turns out well.

Once the hard cider is done I am going to try a Pale Ale recipe that was given to me by If you have not stopped by his page before you should, lots of good articles on beer, hydroponics & food. I am also planning on a trying a Vanilla Bourbon Porter at some point this winter. I am a bit obsessive compulsive about things by the way, if you have not noticed.... :-)


  1. Very interesting Dan. If you make a good brew it will go along way towards making those Canadien winters warm.

  2. Good luck with the cider! I've acquired a taste for hard cider this year. Hope it's yummy!

  3. I don't think I have ever actually had hard cider?! It sure sounds good though! ;D

  4. Wow, Dan - that's really interesting. I can't wait to read about how it turns out. I've always wanted to make my own fruit wine (watching Anne of Green Gables growing up left a lasting impression on me. HA!)

    I've never had carbonated hard apple cider. Do you add something later on to make it fizzy or just drink it flat?

  5. Tina - Winter is getting close that's for sure. Beer likes to brew in a cool environment and this old house sure is cold in the middle of winter!

    Amy - Thanks for the luck!

    KitsapFG - I have never had hard cider before either. I have read its taste rivals wine & beer though.

    Thomas - This will be my first time tasting hard cider, should be interesting. The cider can be bottled either flat or fizzy. The fizz is accomplished by adding a little sugar to the brew before bottling, it will then allow the yeast to grow in the bottle and produce the co2 bubbles. I think I will bottle it fizzy.

  6. Cool ! Can't wait to see the cider. Both the pale ale and Vanilla Bourbon Porter sound excellent too. Hooha !

    So Dan is a little OCD ? you don't say ! ;):P

  7. When I was growing up my dad used to make beer and my mom made wine. They didn't do it often, but occasionally. I've never tried it myself, but I remember the clear bottles fermenting away in the kitchen.

  8. Ooooh looks like a lot of fun! I have a few friends who homebrew beer here in Oz. Has been some hits and some misses but luckily no explosions! All the best.

  9. MMMM that looks good!

    Let us know how tasty it is!

  10. Hey Dan,

    It's a good thing you didn't have a glass carboy for primary fermentation because it isn't good for primary fermentation. "GOOP" sticks to it and dead yeast likes to stick to the bottom. The glass fermenter is primarily for when the junk has settled out for secondary fermentation.

    Thanks for the e-mails. You have inspired several pics and bloggins for the future.


  11. Hi Dan,
    There's an award for you on our allotment blog, we hope you will accept it!

  12. Mine's still fermenting away. I think it's just about done though. I agree, glass is the way to go. I enjoy watching it, I can still see a few bubbles rising to the top. I think next week will be time to siphon off and try it!

  13. Good luck with your cider! Seeing that fermenter takes me back to my home brewing days. The stuff has been in the basement gathering dust but my husband and some friends have been grumbling about taking it out again.