First you’ll need your vessel. I use a 3 gallon glass carboy, but if you’re wanting to do a smaller batch you can use a 1 gallon “jug”. Both are available at homebrew shops (I got mine at Barley’s, where you can score a deal on an entire homebrew starter kit with your CAMRA benefit).
I use SunRype Apple Juice for my ciders because I haven’t yet learned how to work with actual fresh pressed, unpasturized juice. I’m sure I will someday, but for now I’m content with SunRype because it’s the purist I can find in stores. If you have other suggestions (and they aren’t pricey) feel free to share in the comments.
So before you add your juice to your vessel, make sure you’ve sanitized! Infected apple cider is gross, so prevent it! I’m a fan of StarSan because I can spray and go. Once you’ve sprayed down your vessel, add the juice and after that, the yeast! I use Safale 04 because someone told me to. I haven’t had any issues with it so I keep using it. One day I’ll learn more about different yeast, perhaps at an upcoming CAMRA Class?
If you want to keep your cider simple, basically at this point you’re done. Throw your bung on and wait! Once it stops bubbling you’ll have some cider (That might take around 10 days).
I, however, do not keep things simple. I starting cidering because I had cranberries in the freezer and didn’t know what to do with them. So before I add the yeast, I add my fruit. I’m a fan of throwing whatever you’ve got into the vessel and seeing what happens! To date, I’ve done peach, cranberry, raspberry, oaked raspberry, cinnamon apple, caramel apple, salted caramel apple, and just two days ago I started a blueberry! So far they’ve all been pretty good, so if there’s a flavour you want to try I say go for it! It’s not a giant financial commitment IMO, so have some fun!
I also prefer my hard cider to be sparkling. So after the 10 days of sitting in the vessel having fun with the yeast, I add some dextrose (sugar) and bottle. Then the waiting game happens! A minimum of a month should give you some carbonation, but I’ve been known to wait longer to guarantee some nice fizz.
Simple, minimal equipment and delicious! Give it a try sometime.
Any suggestions for me? Am I doing something wrong? Want to share cider stories, or you just want to teach me more? Send me an email!
CAMRA BC – Vancouver Branch