Hard cider


No I haven’t tried that. I did try stevia once, never again!


You might want to get some to try, this is much better than stevia IMO, stevia has a nasty aftertaste. You can order 2.5lb bags from amazon for around $12 shipped I think. Me and the wife try to stay fairly low carb and use quite a bit of it.


I could join a brewing forum and ask lots of silly questions but I like it here better and we have this thread. I have two separate gallons started now using cider from the store. It seems like sometime late winter early spring I should be ready to make a few bottles. I understand that you can kill the yeast with a Camden tablet then you can back sweeten to taste. Instead of using the camden tablet could you back sweeten with apple juice that has potassium sorbate in it ? Would enough yeast be dead at that point and would the preservative in the juice inhibit it from further fermentation?


Be careful not to make bottle bombs! Most commercial producers will use a filtration system, and also pasturize with either heat or chemicals(sulfite, sorbate, etc) after back sweetening. You could also try keeping the bottles in a fridge as most yeasts will be inactive at 34F . Another tactic uses multiple racking and cool Temps to remove sediment and deprive the yeast of nutrients in order to stall fermentation so that there is residual sugar. I wouldn’t advise relying on sulfite (Camden tablets) alone to kill off yeast if you back sweeten with (even sorbated )juice… nature finds a way. Dry and still cider can be really great stuff if made with proper cider fruit, and that process is quite simple.


If you want to avoid using sulphites, you can back sweeten the cider and then pasteurize after bottling. I would Google the pasteurization method since it involves heating up bottled cider and is potentially dangerous if not done correctly.


Thank you both for quick detailed responses, I’m just starting to dabble with this and would like to avoid any disasters.


@JesseS Im putting together this years fruit tree ordering list and plan to add a couple of apple trees for cider making. Would you say it’s pretty important that I add a bitter apple to my list? will my hard cider end up overly tart without a few in my blend? I’m hesitant to order anything bitter as it would be strictly for cider and I lean towards dual purpose apples. Right now I’m leaning toward golden russet, Harrison, and possibly chestnut, but probably just 2 trees for this. Thank you for any advice.


Your three picks will make fine cider. Bitter sweet varieties are not strictly necessary, but will add a layer of complexity and mouth feel to the finished product. A nice dual purpose (culinary and cider)crab is Hewe’s Virginia Crab. It is a American heirloom bittersharp, great pollinator, and showy blooms. I’ve made cider, jelly, apple butter with that variety and it works well. Best to blend it with other less acid types for a balanced cider.


My first gallon batch of apple wine is turning out so good that I took the plunge and repeated the recipe in a three gallon carboy. I will pitch the yeast in it tomorrow.


nice, juice source? apple variety?


Lil late to the party but to stabilize:

You should add BOTH sulfite and sorbate, not just one or other.

Note that is to stabilize; i routinely stabilize and sweeten. I also routinely bottle still-sweet, unstabilized wines. They carry risks. Your best protection is to carbonate to desired then refrigerate, and/or drink like keith richards and keep an eye on carbonation…but anything bottled sweet requires some diligence. Stabilizing by sorbate/sulfite and/or cold or even alcohol tolerance vs available sugar helps but it will always carry some risk


I don’t have any apple trees big enough to provide me with cider apples yet so I am stuck using cider from the store. I used musselmans cider, the wine came out very clear and gold colored. It is dry , I may try and back sweeten it slightly, I have potassium sorbate on the way from amazon


Store cider makes a poor hard cider post-ferment usually…wrong apples for the job. The easiest ways to “fix” that is to add things: a quart of crabapples in a gallon, a bottle of ribena, a cup or 2 of blk raspberry jam, a can of concentrate apple cranberry, etc.

Most of those would require or at least benefit from treatment w pectinase, but give added sugar and character


I have read the same several places, fortunately my palette is dulled with time and possibly those darn scorpion peppers I grew and most wine tastes good to me. But I would like to graft some crabs that would add to a nice hard cider.


I stabilized and bottled my first gallon of hard cider/wine. It seems ok, a bit watered down but that is no doubt due to using grocery store cider. Maybe some day I can graft and grow apples specifically for cider. This will have to do in the meantime.


we have lots of wild crab apples around here . i may have to try to make some next fall. made some 70 proof apple jack 3 winters ago. that stuff was damned potent but tasted awesome. just leave apple wine outside in -30f weather and remove the frozen water off the top every 5-6 hrs. until it won’t freeze anymore. no distilling needed. :wink:


Freeze distillation process used for Apple jack leaves behind a lot of nasty stuff(wood alcohol, etc) that can be the cause of serious hangovers…


i have to agree. :wink: probably not make it again but it tasted very good! also takes 5gal. wine to get a half gal. apple jack.


Racked the three gallon batch off the lees and put in a three gallon carboy with airlock, probably just let this one set for as long as I can stand it now.


Every single batch of hard cider made we made using winemaking techniques where we killed the wild yeast and added back selected yeast types and sugar produced poor tasting cider. 4 yeast types and various sugar rates - 16 different tests in 1 gal glass jugs with airlocks and I did not drink any of it

Every single batch of hard cider we made by just putting the cider we pressed into a sanitized bucket with airlock worked great and made something drinkable . Single varieties of Va Winesap, Goldrush and OF Winesap. Hope to bottle some and put some in Cornelius kegs with light Co2. Not sure about the alcohol levels in the hard cider since I cant find my hydrometer but I started about 15 brix so no more than 8% alcohol.