Today, we want to share with you our Hard Cider Kit for brewing one gallon of fresh, tasty, delicious hard cider. Are you already a home brewing master? Share the love of brewing and send one of these kits to someone special to get them on the cider train too - we ship worldwide. Grab the hard cider kit here.
Wash and sanitize your equipment prior to beginning. Follow instructions on your pack of PBW sanitizer on mixing and get a good hard cider book to guide you on sanitation.
Mix a small batch of PBW sanitizer in a stainless steel bowl following the instructions on your PBW packet. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE THE ENTIRE PACKET OF PBW FOR THESE FIRST STEPS. You should only need to mix about a quart of sanitizer for the first 2 steps of this process. Save some sanitizer for later steps and for future batches of cider!
What is the difference between washing and sanitizing?
Sanitation is of vital importance during all steps of the brewing process.
Even brief contact with the air can result in contamination from dust and wild yeasts. For that reason it is especially important to do all bottling and racking procedures in as clean an environment as possible.
Make sure the area you are working in is clean, and try to limit air flow as much as possible; no open windows nearby and no fan, no sweeping or vacuuming in the same room as your brew during any part of the process.
Sanitize all of your equipment before you need to use it.
For the racking and bottling procedures, this will mean swishing a sanitizing solution, such as Star-San or Iodophor, around inside the carboy, as well as running the same solution through the siphon hose.
Let the juice come to room temperature. Pour 1 gallon of apple juice into your glass jug. If you have store bought apple juice already in a 1 gallon glass jug you can leave it in that container. If you have freshly pressed your apple juice or unfiltered store bought juice and you prefer a clear cider, add 1 tsp. of pectic enzyme at this time. Save the rest of your pectic enzyme for future batches of cider.
At this point proper sanitation is very important. Bacteria can begin to grow in 3 hours. Add a crushed Campden tablet to your juice to kill any bacteria that exist at this time. You will continue to sanitize all of your equipment with your powdered sanitizer solution anytime it comes into contact with the cider from this point on. Campden tablets should not be used to sanitize equipment.
Add ¼ teaspoon of Champagne yeast into your juice. Allow the yeast to float on the top of the juice for 2-3 minutes to rehydrate it. Then gently swirl the bottle to mix.
Sanitize your cork and airlock (pictured previously). Fill the airlock with sanitizer solution to the fill line. Place the airlock in the musting cap and then place the cap on the jug.
Stick the thermometer onto the side of your jug.
Store your jug in a warm place. Ferment at 55 °F-74 °F for 30 days. In the first 5-7 days your cider will become very foamy and your airlock will be bubbling actively.
After 30 days your cider should be barely bubbling. You can check this by watching your airlock for 5 minutes. If you see 1 bubble or less in 5 minutes your cider is ready to bottle. You will want to determine what type of bottles you want to use and if you want your cider carbonated or not.
If you are using our kit, bottle caps and a capper are included. These work perfectly on beer bottles so you can recycle!
Swing top bottles are also an excellent choice for bottling cider. They look beautiful but are more costly than re-used beer bottles so if you plan on giving your cider away they might not be a good choice. Just make sure your bottles are meant for carbonated beverages if you plan on carbonating your cider.
If you don’t plan on carbonating your cider, skip this step. If you want carbonated cider you will need to add a corn sugar solution to your cider before bottling.
Boil your corn sugar in ½ cup of water for 5 minutes in a small saucepan to dissolve. Cool the sugar solution to 70 °F and poor into your 1 gallon jug of cider using your funnel.
Gently swirl to mix well. Try not to disturb the sediment in the jar too much.
Sanitize 10 bottles and caps, your AutoSiphon, Bottle filler and plastic tubing and a funnel.
Rinse all bottles in sanitizer, and soak the caps in a bowl of sanitizer before applying them - unless you're using swing top bottles of course. Cap each bottle as soon as it is filled.
Remember, always consult a recipe and a trustworthy home brewing book when brewing anything at home, and always make sure to sanitize well and often!
Attach one end of your plastic tubing to the AutoSiphon and one end to your Bottle Filler. Place the tip of the bottle filler inside your first bottle. Place the rubber end of the AutoSiphon into the 1-gallon jug of finished cider. If the sediment on the bottom of your jug is higher than the rubber at the bottom of the AutoSiphon, hold the bottom of the siphon in the clear portion of the cider to start as illustrated on the AutoSiphon instructions. Follow instructions on the AutoSiphon and Bottle Filler to fill bottles. (It is good to practice this with water first before trying with your brew to avoid wasted cider).
Cap immediately to avoid contamination. Follow instructions on the bottle capper.
Bottle, cap, label and store your cider in a cool, dark place for at least 4 weeks before drinking. Hard cider is best when aged for 3-6 months, especially when carbonated. Make sure you note that you have added sulfites to your cider (Campden tablets). Some folks can have an allergy to sulfites.
Refrigerate before drinking.
A note on using a hydrometer: If this is your first try at hard cider you might want to skip the process of using a hydrometer. You use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of your juice and determine the alcohol content of your finished cider.
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