Note (8/30/2016): It's hard to believe it has been almost a decade since I first published this Instructable, and I am continually amazed by how active of a resource it remains for many first-time cider brewers. This is a great community of makers and I am happy to have made a useful and long-lasting contribution. If you have any questions, chances are they have been asked and answered in the comments.

Since publishing this Instructable all those years ago, I followed my passion for making things, became a professional blacksmith, went back to school and began a career as an Industrial Designer. If you are interested in my other work, please visit my website www.abandazian.com. Thank you!


Now that it's fall and the apples are ripe in my neck of the woods (New Hampshire), I thought I'd share a recipe for home brew hard cider. It's a very simple first-time home brew and it's very rewarding. I've never liked the taste of beer or any other alcohol for that matter, but a good cider is hard not to like.

Firstly, this Instructable will explain the process for producing all natural, organic, 100% hand made hard cider, an alcoholic beverage made through fermentation of apple cider.

This is for instructional and educational purposes only and should not be attempted by anyone under the age of 21. State laws may prohibit home brewing in your are. Brewing cider involves the use of active yeast culture, which may cause some food allergies and, as always when home brewing, there is always the possibility of contamination. Sterilize all containers and tools and use only fresh ingredients. And always drink responsibly.

Now that that's out of the way, let me explain the basic process. First you get a lot of apples and juice them/press them, etc. or buy a lot of apple cider (this recipe is for 1 gallon of cider). There are two basic methods after you've procured fresh, unpasteurized apple cider:
1. Put the apple cider into a container with a vapor lock and let the wild yeast that occurs naturally in apples ferment the juice into booze. (This takes a very long time and yields unpredictable results, but if you want simplicity, it doesn't get much easier than this. My instructable will deal mostly with option 2)
2. Pasteurize the apple cider with heat or Campden Tablets and then add brewers yeast (champagne yeast works well) with yeast nutrient and put it in a container with a vapor lock (takes less time to ferment and will yield a more stable cider)

In addition, just to clarify, there are 3 primary apple beverages that will be discussed here (not including applejack or apple brandy)

Apple cider - Unfiltered apple juice that contains oxidized pulp, resulting in brown coloration. Comes in many pasteurized and unpasteurized varieties.
Hard Cider (Or just Cider) - Alcoholic beverage fermented with yeast from Apple Cider
Apple Juice - In this country, Apple juice refers to ultra-filtered apple-cider that has been watered down and supplemented with other sweeteners (Such as Motts, Juicy Juice, etc.)

Terminology varies from place to place, which is why it is important to specify.

Step 1: Ingredients and Materials


Apples (about 20 lbs, preferably of several varieties)
Champagne yeast (from a homebrew market or online shop)
Yeast nutrient (homebrew shop)
Campden tablets (optional)
1 cup Brown sugar
1 cup White sugar


-Juicer or apple press (if you don't have either, just buy fresh cider from a local orchard)
-Glass Carboy/fermentation tank (I used a 1 gallon jug of Chianti left over from a party)
-Vapor lock (You can use a length of tubing and a cup with water, but I recommend just picking up the real thing for 1.25)
-Rubber stopper to fit your jug
-A large stock pot
-rubber hose

<p>OMW, just got the container, a special plastic one with the vapour lock, 25L of volume and a tap at the bottom. Yeast and Campden tablets.<br><br>Now I only need the apples, I would prefer Spanish cider appels, it's a special primitive variety with a very characteristic flavour, but these aren't sold anywhere, so that I am going to try with our common Dutch varieties and maybe Granny Smith for acidity.<br><br>We will see in a month ;) </p>
<p>P.S. How do I control the alcohol level, maintaining it at 8%?</p>
<p>Thnks!</p><p>This is, by miles, the easiest recipe to follow that I've come across (with pictures and all). Step 5, however, complicates it. Additionally, other versions make mention of a hydrometre and filtered/unfiltered cider. Therefore, kindly write a recipe for filtered non-sparkling (hard) cider that involves the use of a hydrometre.</p>
Can one save some starter out and somehow keep it alive to use it for future batches? If so, how?
I have a question for anyone who has experience with this. What's the ending alcohol percentage if you do it from juiced apples, pasteurised? And if I want it stronger can you do another yeast treatment to it, if so how long should I let it sit?
<blockquote>@keith.garner.77 -- <br>What's the ending alcohol percentage if you do it from juiced apples, pasteurized?</blockquote><p> I've found from my experience that ending result can be from 3%-8%. its not because the yeast is not doing its job, its because the yeast does not have enough sugar (its food) in the liquid to keep fermenting (or eating) -- so the colonies of yeast either go dormant or die. (from what I've read online.) <br>So adding yeast shouldn't do much of anything except make more 'lees' (the sludge at the bottom of the bucket) when you siphon out, or 'rack' the juice into another bucket.</p><blockquote>And if I want it stronger can you do another yeast treatment to it, if so how long should I let it sit?<br></blockquote><p> So here is where a 'Hydrometer' Comes in handy. you should have one even if you're a hobbyist, or just want to start. I tried my first batch without it and i had so many questions about my result i was upset that i decided to skip the purchase. (they're cheap, and you'll use it all the time) -- also make sure you get a 'graduated cylinder' while im thinking of it, if you drop your hydrometer right into your bucket you could be asking for all kinds of off flavors, or could even turn that awesome cider into apple vinegar.. (i hear its good for you.. but not our main focus here)<br><br>In order to find out what your end result will be, you honestly need to test the cider juice before you put in your yeast. that reading will give you a very close estimation on to how booze-ish your drink will be. <br><br>for example: the hydrometer reads 1.050. drop the yeast in, etc etc.. then when you go to 'rack' it, take another reading. people say cider usually will finish around 1.010 - 1.000. I've let mine sit for a month and its hit 0.980 before. </p><p>So to back up, if your original reading is 1.050, and you KNOW its going to hit 1.010 (or you will wait until it does) -- use a handy calculator online: <a href="http://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/" rel="nofollow">http://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/</a> and check the result. if you want a higher ABV%, then you need to increase the sugar at the <strong><em>START</em></strong> of your cider, increasing the buoyancy of the hydrometer and giving you a higher starting number.. the higher the starting number, the higher the ALC% will get. </p><p>I bet you can rack it, add more sugar, and some B-complex nutrients and more yeast and get it a much higher alc%. i just have not done it myself.</p><p>The time that you wait after the fermentation is done is purely for taste.. the balance in the liquid is usually off after fermentation and it takes a while to equalize. I usually taste high acidity at the start, after a week or two it will go away and the sweetness will slowly return. (also google back-sweetening if you need it.)</p><p><br>I'm still a novice at this, and all i have learned is through trial and error and the internets (and you all know how that can be.) -- so if I'm missing something please let me know too! </p>
You mentioned vitamin B. I'd that just any tablet form or do you somehow crush it first?
<p>i'm just guessing on these numbers going off of my level of drunkeness and the guidelines i've found...3-5 days is about 5-7 percent. Once i forgot about some apple and left it for a week+....it was super dry, but that made me feel classy. I think it was about 10%...depends on how much sugar, yeast, and time...</p>
Was wondering can you bottle the cider with sugar as you would with beer to give it fizz
<p>can i do this without the yeast Nutrient<br>it is realy7 expencive were i live</p>
<p>baker's yeast still works...</p>
<p>Check Amazon - I got a 2oz bottle of Yeast Nutrient for $6.50 - http://amzn.to/21eo4Or</p>
Mine's going well without nutrient, though i did do a starter with some pulped apples and brown sugar
<p>So, without completely disregarding the preparation of the apple part, could bottled apple juice have a similar result? It would be thinner but easier and slightly artificial i expect.</p>
<p>Yes, like Becvardan I too have used store bought apple juice with success. Like he said you want to make sure there are no preservatives in the juice, specifically &quot;Sodium Benzoate&quot; or &quot;Potassium Sorbate&quot; as these will hinder fermentation. </p>
<p>no preservatives allowed...</p>
<p>Regular apple juice works awesome! I think it's even better than natural, home squeezed juice. What's more, you have to get ALL the organic material out of the juice before you try and ferment it. That must be a pain in the butt...buy the cheapest apple juice you can get, add sugar and yeast and enjoy...hard to go wrong i've found</p>
I have had success using store bought apple juice, just need to be careful and read ingredients carefully. Make sure there are no preservatives
What are some opinions on switching out the sugar with honey?
<p>i have used both sugar and honey at the same time before...it worked well. the honey dissolves really easily. It could've been a coincidence but it seemed to start really quickly and the alcohol level was surprisingly high after 3 days...go for it and err to the side of more sugars!! (it equals more alcohol)</p>
<p>our brew has nearly come to a stop as far as bubbles in only 5 days??? was bubbling so fast it sounded like a peculator...there are just tiny beads in the air lock .. should we do something or still leave it sitting for 2 weeks. has not bubbled in an hour</p>
Once bubbling slows significantly, you are ready to rack your cider to a new jug. It's always easier to tell if you had a hydrometer. Pretty cheap a any home brew store.
<p>Debbie, I'm still no expert, but generally when the bubbles have stopped, it means the yeast has eaten all of the sugars. I found a recipe out of a book and used that, when the bubbles have slowed or completely stopped the taste seems a little more wine like and less sweet. </p>
<p>Hey I'm thinking of using a store bought cider to ferment, but it has Potassium Sorbate. Do I need freshly squeezed apples to make the starter? </p>
<p>The potassium sorbate is a preservative and your cider won't ferment. I suggest you squeeze fresh.</p>
Hi , it was great reading your experience with the Cider.<br>I am a beer lover and want to brew a good All Grain Apple cider using Barley Malts and dry Yeast from Fermentis . Can you advice on this.
<p>I found you can get the yeast on Amazon for about $.50 and packet if you buy 10 at a time. Here's the link </p><p>http://www.amazon.com/Red-Star-Champagne-Yeast-10/dp/B00434CB74/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1434835753&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=champagne+yeast&amp;pebp=1434835751005&amp;perid=0CHXMMRBB7YV2T3ZJB39</p>
<p>You might enjoy this. </p><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/search?q=Jack%20hargreaves%20cider" rel="nofollow">https://vimeo.com/search?q=Jack%20hargreaves%20cid...</a></p><p>The really traditional methods of making cider in England.</p>
<p>Thanks for these easy instructions. Is the final product carbonated? I've been thinking that perhaps aging in sealed bottles for a few months will increase the carbonation. Is this true?</p>
<p>looking at beer instructibles, it seems that additional sugar is added before bottling to cause the carbination. Mind you, you need to get the right amount of sugar so as not to burst the seal</p>
<p>I greatly appreciate your detailed instructions! My husband and I are making our first batch of hard cider. We purchased bottled juice &amp; cider that only had ascorbic acid added. We are making 5 gallons. We used Star San to sterilize all of our equipment before, and throughout the process. We put the juice in a 6+ gallon plastic sterilized container and added 5 crushed Campden tablets. We let the mixture sit for over 24 hours. The following evening I sterilized a 2 cup measuring cup, then added about 1 cup of water. I microwaved it to boiling, then allowed it to cool to about 100 degrees. I added 5 teaspoons of Fermax yeast nutrient and our package of Cider House Select yeast. I let this mixture sit for over an hour and saw no evidence of the yeast activity. I finally just added it to our juice, stirring it in well. I covered the bucket with the lid (should have paid better attention to instructions not to use the lid just yet) and an airlock. This morning I excitedly went to check on it and.... nothing is happening, or at least it sure doesn't look like it. The juice smells good but there is no visible activity of the yeast. We have the bucket in a closet where the temp is pretty constant at 69.4 degrees. When I realized I shouldn't have the lid on the bucket, I exchanged it for a clean towel secured around the top to keep it from falling in and to keep unwanted stuff out. So, my question is, what do we do now? We had checked with the hydrometer before starting and I checked again today. The reading has not changed. Help! I am afraid we won't get answers quickly enough and our juice will go bad. I don't have any more of the special yeast, but I do have a good supply of baker's yeast. There's a brew store about 20 miles away though if I need to pick up more yeast or anything else. Thank you in advance!</p>
<p>I have been fermenting 3 gallons of apple cider in my basement over winter and now it is time to bottle. This is my first attempt at it. My cider looks lovely and I am just about to pop the airlock. I have reserved 2 litres of cider in the freezer to back sweeten the cider before bottling. To intensify the sweetness of the hard cider, I have boiled down the reserved frozen cider to about half its original volume as to not dilute my hard cider. I hope that will leave me with enough and that the sweetness of my final product will be adequate. My question is, would it be recommended to add an organic apple juice concentrate to my hard cider if needed to sweeten it more? Will the addition of my reserved cider that has been reduced and an organic apple juice concentrate add an effervesance to my bottled hard cider? I don't want to get to technical in the whole process since this is my first attempt as a newbie. </p>
<p>if you have been fermenting it for 3 months it's not hard cider, that would be apple wine. I think.</p>
<p>Sub the brown sugar, used maple sugar..... hopefully it will improve the taste.</p>
<p>Hi Can someone please tell me how much yeast (grams) is needed for say a gallon of juice? On all the directions I've seen people just say add yeast or add half the packet etc but I can only purchase in 9g sachets so I need to know exact quantity. Please Help?!</p>
<p>lorna.whyte.7: it's not that important to get precise. You just need to make sure you have &quot;enough&quot; if you put too much in, it wont spoil your brew, just waste the yeast. Typically though, yeast packets are sold in 5g packets (dry) or several oz for liquid yeast. That liquid yeast though generally has some sort of yeast nutrient or activator, which would add to the weight. If you're doing one gallon, you'd only need 1/5 of the packet - so if you're using dry yeast typically about 1g would do fine. Almost all of the homebrew yeasts are sold to pitch into 5 gallon batches. So read your yeast's directions, and if in doubt pitch the whole packet. Worst thing that can or would happen is that you'll have some extra sludge at the bottom that you'll need to be careful of when racking.</p>
<p>A couple of suggestions. Getting rid of the natural yeast is definitely recommended. Results are far more predictable. I'm not a fan of cooking the juice (in effect - pasteurising) as the flavour can change. As the wild yeast is only on the outside of the fruit, it can be removed by sterilising the apples before crushing. For all my brewing sterilisation I use a solution of 3 to 5 grams of active chlorine per litre. Liquid pool chlorine is usually 125g/l, so use algebra to work out how much you will need depending on the quantity of your solution. Should only need an hour or so, then briefly soak in CLEAN cold water to remove any residual chlorine solution. Yeast starters are a winner. A good method is 100grams of dried malt extract and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient per litre of water. Boil to sterilise and when below about 30 C, place in a suitable container and pitch the yeast. Seal with an air lock. You can use your chlorine solution in the air lock. I usually wait for about 2 days for the yeast to multiply. The yeast will form a sludge on the bottom and this is what you add to your juice. Get rid of most of the liquid above the sludge (by siphon) then swirl the sludge around so that you can pour it into your juice. </p>
So I know this is a rather old post but I thought I would mention this. This is my second year making cider now that I live in the PNW and am surrounded by such great apple and pear trees. Currently working on a 5 gallon batch of apple &amp; pear cider. Anyway, after my first wracking I was curious about the sludge at the bottom of my barrel, which smelled really, really good. So I decided to turn it into sourdough starter. So I mixed about 4 cups of the stuff with some extra durbinado sugar, whole wheat flour, dark rye flour, some spices and a little white flour. Covered the container with plastic wrap and then a towel and left it for two days by my wood burning insert for a bit of warmth. <br> <br>I ended up with a nice, fragrant, bubbly mass that I then used to make two loaves of bread with. The bread is amazing and didn't need any additional yeast for rising. It's dense due to the mixture of flours (again mostly whole wheat and rye..but wow..and it's amazing with some pear butter I made last month. So don't toss your sludge! :)
<p>Ya know, I've never thought of using it for a sourdough starter. But there's absolutely no reason it wouldn't work. It would be very interesting to see what the difference would be in the same recipe using a normal sourdough starter and the leavings from a brewing effort. I've got a couple 3-gallon test batches of cider about to be racked, so this is the perfect day for me to have read this comment. Thanks :-)</p>
hey can anyone help me, I'm trying to scale this up to 264 gal~ 1000 L (US), for an ible in the homebrew contest, do you guys reckon you could help me?
Good info, have a press made hard cider ummm 7 years or more... if you like it sweet like said in brewers techno terms some what.. When fermentation is complete then pasteurize (maybe again).. pasteurize fresh press cider, add it to the hard cider.... mmmm not so dry any more and you have more of the cider taste. Or use any other type of sweetener (sterile) after pasteurized fermentation. Farmer-T
Apple Jack! And a correction to my previous post(checked my notes). For the 2- 5 gal. batches of hard cider made from the Mac's we used 3 lbs. of brown sugar. In the 5 gal. batch of cider made from Jonathans we used 2 lbs. <br>We racked all of it a week and a half before Christmas and added Super Kleer KC clarifying agent. The cider clarified very well to a beautiful amber. The Jonathan batch ended up at 7.5% ABV and the Mac batches at 11.75%. We bottled and labeled the Jonathan batch for Christmas presents. <br> <br>Last night the temperature dropped to -8 so we decided to try making apple jack from 2 gallons of the 11.75% batch. We set it outside in a stainless steel kettle. This morning I skimmed off the ice and the volume was reduced to 1 gallon. I didn't do an SG check, but I assume the ABV is now around 24%. The taste is excellent. You can tell it has a high alcohol content, but it is very smooth, but I also enjoy good bourbon and single malt scotch, so it might not be to everyone's liking. Just another thing to try if you live in a cold climate (or have a freezer). Apparently apple jack was common in the north country during colonial times!
I used these instructions for my batch of cider (2 1-gallon jugs) with these exceptions: Used organic apple juice (no preservatives) and a Nottingham beer yeast. I'm trying to get more of a sweet, beery cider than a high ABV apple champagne. My beer-brewing buddy suggested &quot;crashing&quot; (refrigerating the brew to stop the fermentation) after about a week, then racking it for another week before bottling/aging. Any comments?
This is our second season of hard cider making. Last year's batch went so well we decided to do 3- 5 gallon batches this year. Pressed mostly Mac's this year , but some Jonathan's and Jonamac's. Pasteurized at 150 for 45 minutes. Added 2 lbs.light brown sugar per 5 gal. Used 1 pkg. EC 1118 yeast per 5 gal. Started fermenting at ~65 degrees. Starting SG of 1.085. So far so good. <br>Fermentation rate was way slower than last year and after 4 weeks had pretty much stopped. Transferred to glass carboys, SG was ~1.030, or ~6.75% ABV. We wanted to end up with dry still cider at an SG of close to 1, so we added 4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient dissolved in boiled water per 5 gal. It kicked the fermentation into high gear and all the carboys have been bubbling away for a week now. <br>Just wanted to add this comment in case anybody's fermentation stalls halfway through.
Correction-just looked at my notes. We used 3 lbs. brown sugar per 5 gal.
Add a simple syrup based on the volume of cider you have, just prior to bottling. Proportions are available in most wine making/brewing guides.... Make sure the bottles and their caps (swing-top bottles work great for this) can deal with the pressure created from the additional gasses produced from the fermentation taking place after the bottling.
Ok, this is my 2nd year of home brew cider. Last year's was delish. I did everything the same way this year except I invested in a 5 gallon carboy and brewed it all at once. <br><br>This year it is soooo dry and &quot;alcohol&quot; tasting. I used the same champagne yeast both years plus it was the last pressing of the season...the cider was really sweet! I don't get it? I used 5 lbs of sugar for 5 gallons of cider. <br><br>We drank 2 of the 5 gallons over the holidays, it was 4 weeks old and had 2 rackings. It yielded a great buzz w/no hangover but we ended up making spritzers with sprite to really enjoy it.<br><br>Is there any way to sweeten it up at this point? It's done brewing (needs to racked again!) and ready to bottle. I'd appreciate any help here! Thank you! :)
Hello Fluffy Mae! <br>I would be interested to know how you did it last year w/o the 5 gallon carboy, since I am struggling to come by such a thing. Did you simply use a smaller volume carboy (something I already have) and adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly whilst keeping the ratio the same, or did you use a different container? <br>Thanks for your help! :)
We have a beer/wine making supply store right here in town, so I guess I'm lucky. I just bought the carboy right off the shelf. It was $35.00. <br> <br>I'm trying to choke down the last of the brew. :( Soooo dry! <br> <br>As for my process, I did low heat pasteurization for all 5 gallons. Slow and tedious but better than the Camden tablets in my opinion. To the last 2 gallons of hot cider, I dissolved the 5 lbs of sugar. Let it cool, then added the yeast. Topped w/the airlock valve and watched the &quot;party&quot; start. That's it. Rack it every 2 weeks and enjoy. <br> <br>I'm doing 10lbs of sugar this year. Hope it's better!

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