Brewing Hard Cider
Brewing is one of the things I’ve been interested in doing for a while. Now that we’ve moved to ‘The Ranch’ we are near Apple Hill so it’s appropriate that I try making Apple Cider. The great thing about it is that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or chemicals to get started.
I had a one gallon glass jug and an airlock from a beer brewing kit, so I started with that.
Here are the steps for the simplest possible Wild Yeast Cider:
1) Move to someplace in the country and close to lots of apple orchards. (optional)
2) Buy a gallon of fresh cider. We have a place near us that presses and sells fresh juice year round. In my first attempt I was making wild yeast cider, so I bought the un-pasteurized juice. Pasteurizing kills the wild yeast along with other things.
3) Fill your clean fermentation container with the juice. (glass jug in my case) If you have an air lock, put it on to let out the gas but keep out unwanted bacteria. I suspect this is not completely necessary, you could just cover the top with a piece of plastic and it will probably be fine. But an airlock and stopper with hole will only set you back about $3. Note I didn’t say anything about sanitizing. Some would say that this is absolutely essential. I don’t think so, since they made cider for centuries before knowing anything about sanitizers and web based stores that sell them.
4) Set in in a dark place and wait 3-4 weeks.
5) If you have bottles, such as the flip top grolch bottles that I splurged on, siphon the cider into the bottles, taking care not to get too much of the grub from the bottom. If you don’t have bottles, well then you could just siphon into some other clean container(s) or just drink it all right away. Drink responsibly.
6) Most would say wait some time to let the bottled beverage age- 4 to 12 weeks maybe. Not that patient here. I just chilled and enjoyed.
The above recipe is likely to come out differently depending on where you live, what kind of wild yeast was in the apples, and whether undesirable yeast or bacteria joined the burp party. But I like the simplicity and the slight gamble.