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Oct 18, 2013 03:53 PM

Hard Cider

I made my own hard cider using apples from an orchard, I added yeast to a sanitized 3 gallon bucket I added a gallon of apple juice and a gallon of water and a pond of sugar and 2 spoons of yeast, I drank some 2 weeks ago and it was sweet( its 3 and a half weeks old now). Now it is very strongly alcoholly flavoured almost like ethylene alcohol. Its been in glass jars 2 weeks letting the rest of the yeast finish its work. Is this flavor normal? Its still very dry but no longer sweet. Did I wait to long to refrigerate, can I still drink it, should I add fruit juice or just dump it and start over?

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  1. So long as it isn't vinegar, it's fine. Also a fermentation time of few weeks (3 to 4) isn't anywhere near long enough.

    Your initial fermentation should run at least two weeks, and then your secondary should last for another couple.

    After that you can rack the cider into either an oak barrel or bottles, and then you can let them age for up to a year before you crack 'em open.

    Also what type of yeast did you pitch into your apple juice? The yeast tends to be the greatest contributor to the dryness of the cider. Plus the aging process can take that raw alcohol edge off of the cider.

    If you pitched a high tolerance yeast into the batch, like Lalvin or Red Star champagne yeast, your cider should turn out pretty freaking dry (I've gotten up to 16% to 19% ABV with the Red Star).

    IMO, if you wish to sweeten it, stir a bit of water and sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup and pitch it into the mix and let it sit for a few days.

    You'll probably reactivate the yeast once you pitch in the syrup, but that shouldn't be a problem.