Clay's Cider (SIMPLE!)

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slcmorro

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Hey guys,

Although I'm very new to brewing and making my own stuff at home, I thought about putting together a quick tutorial type thing about how I'm making hard cider at home. I'm not one for buying expensive equipment or trying to complicate things, so this is how I do it right out of the original bottles you buy the juice in.

My techniques might not be the most advanced, nor even the best out there (undoubtedly someone will disagree with some or even all of this at one point or another), but this has worked for me so far. The beauty of the way I'm doing it, is it's very simple, very quick and not very scientific at all. No hydro readings, no exact measurements, nothing hard. I even let these sit on a table in the study at ambient temperature. Our house stays around 20c all year round, so it's perfect in my opinion. There's not even any sterilisation to worry about at this stage. Just make sure the juice you buy is preservative free.

Any advice I give is just that, advice. Be safe, be careful and if you don't know what you're doing - ask!

I got these for $2.25 per 3L bottle from the SPC outlet here in Ballarat. Winner!


I'm using a dry yeast called Lalvin EC1118 which cost me $4 from my LHBS. It's only a 5 gm packet, yet as you can see in the pictures above and below, I've used it for 21L of apple and pear juice. It works, trust me. This stuff ferments out in around 5 days if you like your cider sweet, 7 for mid and 9 onwards for dry.


All I've done, is taken about 150ml out of each bottle. Then, I've sprinkled on top (yes, you can rehydrate if you want, but it's easier to sprinkle in this case) carefully measured out equal quantities of the yeast onto the surface of the liquid in the original bottles. When I say carefully, my eyes are brilliant. Promise.

Then, I've replaced the caps, Michael J Foxed the buggery out of the bottles and removed the caps. Finally, all you need to do is cut small squares of cling wrap to fit over the bottles and put an elastic band around it so it stays in place (I steal the missuses really small hairties). Give the bottle a small squeeze to see if you've created a decent seal. The cling wrap should bubble upwards. After that, a small pin prick in the wrap and they're good to sit in my study for about a week. We like ours not sweet nor dry.



Further, for those that want to complete the process, it's as simple as adding in some more sugars at the end, once you're happy with your cider in terms of the fermentation. I used powdered dextrose, mostly because I have a very very good supply of it. Be careful when you do this. The bottles will fizz up mega fast, so be ready with a cap (not too tight, just enough to seal but let air out) to throw on before it spills everywhere. Same principle now applies in terms of letting it carbonate. I usually leave the lids slightly unscrewed overnight and then tighten them in the morning. Once the bottles are pretty tight, I then throw them in the fridge to put the yeast to sleep, and that's that!

Do NOT leave these lying around at anything above 6c. The yeast will start re-fermenting the added sugars (or remaining sugars if you stopped it short of using them all) in the juice and things will start getting very messy!

You can go into the secondary fermentation process and rack/bottle off the original if you want to, but I'm too lazy. You can drink it right away once it's carbonated to your liking, or you could even drink it flat and warm (some ciders, especially in winter, taste awesome warm!) as is... or... you could add in a secret ingredient like I do... I'll share it with you. $6 a bottle from the SPC outlet again, this stuff is the best.


Spiced Apple is basically apple and cinnamon cordial (excellent though) and the Ginger speaks for itself.

I hope this was of some use to someone. Happy brewing! :)

P.S - I have used Just Juice Apple and Pear (as seen above), Apple, Apple and Raspberry and Apple and Mango with good results.
 

Airgead

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I'd be real careful carbonating in those juice bottles. They aren't designed to take pressure. Your PET softdrink bottle is a masterpiece of modern materials engineering. It will take 100PSI. Those may look similar but they aren't engineered the same way. They will end up going foom. And you will end up with cider everywhere.
 

slcmorro

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I carbonate in them with the lid slightly unscrewed overnight as it says above, and then when I'm able to watch them the next morning and the bottles are where I want them in terms of pressure, they go in the fridge. I'll edit the above to include that. Thanks :)
 

grantsglutenfreehomebrew

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If you can get an Oztops packet from your brew shop they come with lids for these bottles and soft drink type bottles that allow the cider to ferment but carbonate at the same time. You can stop the fermentation at anytime you taste buds like. Australian Fresh cloudy apple makes a great cider about 3 days into the ferment.
 

bum

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slcmorro said:
No hydro readings, no exact measurements, nothing hard.
**** this thread.
 

Airgead

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Yeah... the one problem with the ad hoc approach to cider making (bung some juice and stuff together and go for it) is that it may well make a great cider but it may well equally make something awful... and you won't know why. Even more importantly, you won't know how to do it again, or not do it again if it was awful.

A few hydrometer readings aren't exactly hard and the equipment isn't exactly expensive. Its a tiny investment in time and equipment for a huge improvement in consistency. In fact anyone who ever bought a home brew kit already has a hydrometer somewhere.

And before anyone says that we made cider successfully before hydrometers, just bear in mind that we have also been using primitive hydrometers in brewing since the 1500s. Interestingly, an egg was used to indicate the gravity of worts and musts for brewing. There were also a bunch of interesting techniques around measuring temperature without thermometers and stuff like that. We got scientific about brewing very early on and for good reason. We may not have had modern instruments but we were certainly making use of a consistent and repeatable process.

With the easy to use measuring equipment we have nowadays there really is no excuse (other than I couldn't be arsed) for not using them.

Cheers
Dave
 

bum

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It's not just the hydrometer thing though (which is important). It's the whole attitude - "Doesn't matter. You'll still get pissed."

They sell shitty alcohol at the shop, guys. Lots easier.
 

bum

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bum

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That's no' how you make porridge.
 

Bribie G

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At first I thought "just juice?" the guy's been ripped off. Then I saw the price, good buying. I wonder if you can get that apple cordial Australia Wide?
 

Airgead

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bum said:
It's not just the hydrometer thing though (which is important). It's the whole attitude - "Doesn't matter. You'll still get pissed."

They sell shitty alcohol at the shop, guys. Lots easier.
You are 100% correct. They sell flagons of sherry or a 4l cask of goon at dans for a couple of bucks. If pissed is what you want, do that. Its way easier and you don't have to wait for a few days while it ferments.

If you want to make cider (or anything for that matter) why not invest a tiny amount of time, energy, care and giving a shit to make something that tastes really good as well.

Cheers
Dave
 

slcmorro

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Thanks for the super helpful, constructive feedback guys. No really, I appreciate it.

I'll be sure next time to not bother trying to put something together, I mean why bother right?
 

Damien13

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hey slcmorro. For what it's worth I thought the quite angry response to your thread sucked donkeys balls. Would I use your technique.... probably not, but I like the fact you kept it extremely simple. you even prefaced the whole thing by reminding everyone of the fact it was a simple 'how to'. You're all good in my books bud. Wish some people would chill out a little on this forum to be honest. Don't take the criticism to heart ok!
 

slcmorro

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Thanks Damien13. I never purported this method to be perfect, good or even up to the lofty standards of it's many critics and I pretty clearly labelled myself a total beginner. Just a shame that people can't see it for what it's worth and actually provide something constructive rather than drawing from the levels of a 10 year old in their replies. Plainly, it's just free advice on the internet. Take it or leave it, either way you've only wasted a little bit of time and money if it doesn't turn out to your liking. This works fine for me, and I'm happy with the result so I thought I'd share my self-taught technique.
 

slcmorro

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Bribie G said:
I wonder if you can get that apple cordial Australia Wide?
Just read the bottle mate, and there are some details for the company on it.

Murray Breweries
29 Last St Beechworth VIC
www.murraybreweries.com.au
1800 990 098

Hope that helps! :)
 

Damien13

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all good buddy... haters gonna hate
you sound like such a helpful chat. Thought you might like this vid.
 
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bum

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slcmorro said:
I never purported this method to be perfect, good...
But hey, that won't stop me from writing a tutorial on how to do it.

slcmorro said:
I pretty clearly labelled myself a total beginner.
But hey, that won't stop me from writing a tutorial on how to do it.

slcmorro said:
actually provide something constructive
Dave's tutorial posted only a few days ago was pretty constructive. I hope people read that one instead.

People read these things. People follow the things written in them without considering them for even a second.

Now apparently people write them with the same level of care.
 

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