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Cider for hard cider

I know there are a few people here who make hard cider. I'm thinking of making a couple of gallons this year. Maybe one dry with English or champagne yeast and one sweeter.

Just looking for tips on where to pick up a couple gallons. Does unpasteaurized matter? Mix of apples? Any help on where to get the cider as well as tips on making it are appreciated.

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    1. I don't know about brewing. I do know about getting cider to ferment in the fridge (it usually takes 3-4 weeks with unpasteurized cider.) You cannot use cider with preservatives. Irradiated or pasteurized without preservatives can be fermented if you re-introduce culture saved from fermented cider (I've done this).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Karl S

        Naturally-occurring airborne yeast will start fermentation with unpasteurized cider closer to 3-4 days than 3-4 weeks if you keep it in a cool spot in the house. We've got a gallon from Red Apple Farm turning in the mudroom as I type. We usually pull it before it goes fully hard, though: more fizzy than boozy.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          Unfortunately, I don't get any stably cool spots until November!

      2. One Stack Farm in Stow sells unpasteurized and tastes great. It's off 117.

        1. Doesn't matter if it is pasteurized, but make SURE is does not have any preservatives.

          1. Thanks. I knew I could get pasteurized cider to ferment by adding yeast, but wasn't even thinking that some may contain preservatives.

            I remember hearing people say that certain mixes of apples are best for cider (maybe more sour apples from early in the season or containing some crab apples??). Since we are later in the season, I assume there will be more of a mix in the ciders being pressed now. I'll pick up a couple of jugs this week and see how it comes out.

            By the way, I'm pretty sure One Stack is where I got my unpasteurized cider last year.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Ali G

              Franklin County Cider Days are not far, and a wonderful time... Nov 3,4th 2012.

              http://www.ciderday.org/

              You can't imagine what you'll learn - and taste!

              1. re: Ali G

                Late season apples typically offer a far more complex flavor than early to mid season apples, which are more for eating than cidering. I am thinking Russet, Newtown Pippin, Baldwin, Northern Spy.

                Most supermarket cider has preservatives, btw. It's difficult to find them without.

                1. re: Ali G

                  It's not late in the season at all. We are at peak right now.

                  I like adding a nice all yeast myself so the cider has a good bit of residual sweetness. With white wine yeast it ends up too dry for my taste.

                    1. re: Karl S

                      He probably meant ale yeast. Ale yeasts would generally stop fermenting at a lower alcohol percentage than wine yeasts, thus potentially leaving some residual sugar. If you try to ferment your own cider expecting it to taste like the big commercial versions, you will likely be surprised at the lack of sweetness in the finished hard cider.

                      1. re: nickls

                        With an Ale yeast it maintains quite a bit of sweetness.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          The one time I was involved in fermenting some cider was over 10 years ago, so can't remember the details on what kind of yeast we used. I just remember it came out totally dry and we had to back sweeten it to make it palatable since we weren't into a dry, apple wine-type cider

                      2. re: Karl S

                        Sorry, Ale yeast as opposed to a wine yeast.

                      3. re: StriperGuy

                        I assume "all" yeast was suppose to be ale yeast. This is what I was leaning towards as well. My last hard cider attempt used a champagne yeast. Too dry.

                        I said late in the season since I had read several orchards were starting about 2 weeks early and getting less crop this year. However, we were at Tougas this weekend with the rest of Massachusetts and they had a lot of full trees roped off. I'll give it a few weeks and pick up some cider when I'm out that way again.

                    2. It might not be the fanciest cider (mainly because it uses cheap juice), but Apfelwein is simple, cheap, & delicious. Full fermentation takes many months. I use the cheap apple juice from any of the bulk stores (making sure that it has no preservatives or additives).

                      Here is the recipe:

                      http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/man-i...

                      1. http://www.brewingtv.com/episodes/201...

                        See the above video for some good tips on hard cider making. I have made several batches in the past from pasteurized cider as well as apple juice as mentioned in this thread. It does finish very dry with wine yeast, very much like wine. I am going to make a few batches this year since I can't really brew beer at my apartment like I could when I had a house. I am planning on trying a few different yeast strains that hopefully will not completely ferment out (Belgian Saison comes to mind) so it finishes a little sweet. One can always stop fermentation early, or backsweeten a couple different ways, some of which will complicate bottling if you are planning to do that. I'll probably just keg mine in my beer brewing kegging equipment, and do some experimentation with oak aging, adding some natural flavors (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc), who knows.