Instructables

Home Brew Hard Cider from Scratch

Featured

Step 7: Primary fementation

Allow your brew to sit undisturbed in a dark area at about 70 degrees F. for about two weeks. You will notice it start to bubble in the first few hours. Check in periodically. Once bubbling has slowed to about 1 bubble per minute, your first fermentation cycle is complete.

Now you'll want to "rack" your cider, which basically means that you want to remove the fermented cider and dispose of the apple sediment and yeast that is still at the bottom of your tank. You can use a rubber hose to siphon liquid from the top (remember, you only want the cider, so don't siphon the silt on the bottom) into another sanitary container. Then after you've washed out the apple pulp from your carboy, siphon it back in

Cork it and affix the vapor lock and allot it to finish fermenting (about a week or two). This will improve the flavor and help make your cider less cloudy.

 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
bcull2 years ago
I have noticed a number of questions regarding how to get sweet cider versus dry cider. Added more refined sugar (white or brown) is NOT the answer. The issue is whether the type of sugar is fermentable or not and refined sugar ferments completely meaning that there will be no sweetness left after the yeast does its work.

You need to add an unfermentable sugar. When making beer we do this by adding adjuncts that contain sugars that yeast can't ferment. Two unfermentable sugars that we beer brewers us are: Maltodextrin and Lactose. Both will be available in extract form from your local homebrew supplier. The latter, Lactose, will provide a light sweet flavour, akin to what you would taste in milk. You'd want to stay in the 10% range (estimated from your specific gravity readings) and experiment from there. Hope this helps.
I'm making one-gallon's worth of cider, used a package of yeast and, as one commenter also found, the initial fermentation completed by the fourth day. Now that I've racked and am waiting for fermentation to finish and for the taste to (presumably, I haven't tasted yet) get better, can I go ahead and just start tasting every day and decide when to bottle based on the taste?
This is far too late to be posting a reply but for others you can't go by taste at this point. The taste will change quite a bit for the finished product. Your best bet to see if its done fermenting is to get a specific gravity gauge (looks like a floating thermometer) and once you have 3 days in a row where the reading hasn't changed your good to go. You can either bottle of Keg it at this point. Enjoy!
mazahouse3 years ago
AAAAAH need help!!!! My vapor lock keeps bubbling over with cider? each time i pull it out, disinfect it and pour out some more cider liquid then re-insert the vapor lock. How full should I have filled my carboy?
pyrosparker3 years ago
I see a lot of people with trouble getting out the sediment, or having it take about a month or so.... so here's the best and simplest way, (also includes tips for making the hard cider taste less "off ") as it ferments, whenever you see dead yeast piling up on the bottom, siphon of the liquid portion into a sterile container, remove dead yeast, and replace liquid. After doing this multiple times over the fermentation process, once the liquid is producing about 1 bubble a minute, place in fridge overnight. The cold will kill the yeast, and if you leave it in for an extra 1-2 weeks, the cider (once siphoned off from the dead yeast in the bottom) will become as clear as store-bought non-alcoholic apple juice.
mitchlu3 years ago
I stored about 12 liters of cider for two weeks and I just finished transporting the liquid into bottles. All the sediment was at the bottom and there were no bubbles after two weeks. I decided to let the cider age in corked wine bottles.

The problem is that my cider tastes quite tart after two weeks and I am afraid it will turn into vinegar. Is this common? Will the cider get sweeter with time? Is there anything I can do? I did put about 7 cups of brown and white sugar into the cider before fermentation.
bradwerd3 years ago
Is it really necessary to siphon it back into the first carboy? Would just one siphoning into a fresh carboy be good, or is there residual goodness in the first one that's being utilized?
actsofsubterfuge (author)  bradwerd3 years ago
Bradwerd,

No, technically this is not necessary. If you have multiple carboys, that is perfectly legitimate. I just tend to have all of my carboys in use at any given time so it's easier for me to siphon into another receptacle (such as a sterile 5 gallon bucket), clean out the carboy and then siphon back in.
bcarnaby5 years ago
1/2 Camden tab per gallon. Crush the tablet well as it does not readily dissolve. No need to heat the cider this way and better tasting stuff as a result. Leave in cider to sit for 24 to 26 hours. Stir like hell to drive off the sulfur. Pitch the yeast. Other notes: If you get fresh Cider, make sure it has no preservatives (or you wont get fermentation). Whole foods market has UV pasteurized with no preservatives. UV pasteurized is preferable to heat pasteurized as it drives off less of the volatile aromatics. If you want sweet slightly carbonated cider add a tablespoon and 1/2 of Splenda per gallon when you bottle. The maltodextrine ferments and gives you a bit of sparkle, and the sucralose does not and provides sweetness.
So, 1/2 Camden tablet for fresh squeezed cider made at home as a substitute to traditional heat pasteurization and no need for Camden tabs or heating if using store bought pasteurized cider, like the UV treated cider from Whole Foods?

If that's the case, with the UV pasteurized cider containing no preservatives, can you simply add the yeast and yeast nutrient and let the magic happen?

 someone correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe that UV pasteurizing kills e-coli and other harmful bacteria while leaving the wild yeast unharmed. so theoretically if your cider has no preservatives and was UV pasteurized you do not even need to add the yeast or nutrient and just let the wild yeast do it's job.

i myself am just starting fermenting so i'm really just parroting other information i've found. i have 2 carboys so i'll be trying one with just the wild yeast and one with champagne yeast (no nutrient though) in the next day or so.
Seeing this I just had to comment as I know a good amout of UV pasteurization. Here's is the scientific mechanism of UV pasteurization (I'll give a full story for anyone that cares): UV light is a high energy form of light due to shorter wavelengths, X rays have even shorter wavelengths and gamma rays more so. This is why these rays are progressively more harmful. UV light is known as mutagenic meaning it can cause disruptions in DNA creating mutations as certain molecules in DNA can actually bind or stick together. As most things on earth are exposed to this radiation most cells in turn have repair mechanisms to sort out this damage. This means that cells can tolerate a certain amount of radiation before they start to accumulate mutations. FACT: In the micro lab we often use short bursts of UV radiation to create mutations However excessive DNA damage causing an accumulation of mutations is usually detrimental to the cell and it is this mechanism that sterilizes things in essence mutating cells to death. Although yeast cells are considerably more evolved than bacteria they are however just as vulnerable when it comes to UV pasteurization. So you would need to still add yeast to your cider
victorseven4 years ago

Why must the cider be racked off to undergo this next fermentation? Could it simply be left for another couple of weeks in the same container? I am told you should not expose cider to air but at some point in all that I read it says to move it ,thus exposing the cider to air????

I'm trying to make an all natural cider and have a lot of questions , the more I read the more questions I have?

KateS524 years ago
I noticed that most of these comments are 1 year old but a few new ones...anyhow, I wonder if my cider doesn't bubble up and the yeast doesn't do it's job, can I re-cook it and do it again or is it a total waste and a run-on sentence? Has anybody tried this?
nworbekim4 years ago
good job on this!  i love apple cider...  i have a batch ready to bottle this coming tuesday... 

i'm not as scientific as you guys though... i'm using an old Mr. Beer keg i picked up at a yard sale for a few bucks, as my fermenting tank...   works great... already has the spigot so i don't have to siphon...

i'm thinking of trying some other fruits... an old timer down the road makes all kinds of different drinks using this method
dosher4 years ago
1.5 teaspoons of pectic enzyme in the must (unfermented cider) will also clear it very nicely - I did this last year and got a crystal clear, very tasty cider.
could i use a cloth or a very fine sieve to separate the sediment? thanks
xdomhnallx5 years ago
Ok, so I read very carefully how to do this and I am giving it a try. I added my yeast and yeast nutrient on Monday night, everything has been going great! Today I get home from work and it was no longer bubbling. Does that mean the yeast has already done it's job in 3 1/2 days??? I took my vapor lock off and cleaned it and put it back on and it seems that the little bit of movement of the jug got things moving again (1 bubble every 8-10 seconds). It was bubbling much more just this morning, does this sound normal? Would also like to note that a couple of times the foan created by the yeast acutually came up into my vapor lock. I was told that this can be normal.
:) I'm going to have to get some apples and yeast this weekend and give it a try. Love Cider :D thanks!
Sun Gear5 years ago
can you show some pictures for step six?
pbwingman115 years ago
You can also use a coffee filter to strain your cider and remove all sediment.