Hard cider

I can’t believe how easy and cheap it is to make a batch of hard cider.
People complain about how much every goddam thing costs today, but aren’t willing to put in a tiny amount of effort to try to bring their costs down. This works for me.
I can make the equivalent of 65+ bottles of very passable, high alcohol beer for under $40.
It takes 3 weeks and about an hour of my time.
There was a bit of upfront time and money to get the equipment, but a lot of it was scavenged from FB Marketplace.
What I bought (all of this is reusable):

  • scads of bail-top bottles: people are almost giving them away because they aren’t into the ‘hobby’ anymore or found them in a basement or something. $100
  • a couple of 6 gallon glass carboys. $20 each
  • a racking cane auto-siphon (to get the liquid from one carboy to another). $20
  • a rubber bung and an airlock. $10

I buy enough pure apple juice (no nitrates or nitrites, citric acid is fine) to fill a carboy and add a packet of Mangrove Jack’s cider yeast. Depending on juice sales, this ranges from $40-$50.
Throw an airlock on it and just leave it for a couple of weeks, until it stops blooping.
Use the racking cane to move it to the other carboy, to separate it from the yeast piled on the bottom, and put the airlock back on.
After another week or so, it’s ready to bottle.
That’s about enough time for me to get through the last batch: 3-4 weeks.
Now, I have an electric bottling machine that I use for my vanilla business, so that makes things a bit easier. There are other gravity fed devices you can put on the end of the racking cane that will do pretty much the same. This is really the only labour involved.
Boom. Done.
You have to really like the taste of apple cider, though. Luckily, I do.
It really gets the job done. I’ve never tested it for ABV, but I’d say it’s somewhere north of 6%.

I’ve graduated from the glass carboys to a couple of 6 gallon plastic ones with much larger openings that allow me to get my whole arm inside to make cleaning easier. That was my decision based on my usage pattern and need for cleanliness. You can get devices that fit on the end of a drill that will spin around and clean a glass bottle, but I like that the plastic ones are much lighter, too. 6 gallons weighs quite a bit.

Everyone who has tried it, likes it. It’s a bit tart and has no carbonation. It’s nice at room temperature or chilled. I call that a success. I’ve made probably 20 batches now.

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I’ve done it, it’s awesome. And if it’s too rough, let it sit longer.

Funny enough, I was thinking of makening some apple cider myself…

Hmm… I like cider so much more than beer. And wine is hit or miss tbh

This is a batch for me.
Once the little yeast dudes eat up all the sugar and convert that to alcohol, they settle to the bottom and the bubbles stop. That’s when I decant to the second carboy and separate the yeast sludge. Let that sit for a week and I can bottle a perfectly clear cider, again leaving a tiny bit of yeast in the bottom.

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Yum yum

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