How to make cider

Picture of How to make cider

If you have access to a lot of free apples, you can easily make cider from them. Any apples will do, but they should be as ripe as possible. This instructable shows you a simple method that does not require any special equipment.

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Step 1: Collecting your apples

Picture of Collecting your apples

The first thing is to get some apples.  You will need quite a lot of large containers, because you need to collect about 4 to 5 times the volume of apples compared to the volume of juice you want to make into cider.  The container shown here is a 5 gallon (22 litre) fermentation bin.  

A sheet or blanket is also handy. Put your sheet under the tree, climb up the tree and shake it.  Lots fall off.  The advantage of this method is that generally the ripest apples tend to fall off, and seriously under-ripe apples stay on.  When you put them into the bucket, pick the apples up by hand, so you don't get all the twigs, leaves, earwigs etc.

Step 2: Containers for apples

Picture of Containers for apples
You need a lot of apples.  Here are about 20-22 gallons of apples, which made about 4 and half gallons of juice.

Step 3: Pulping the apples

Picture of Pulping the apples
To release the juice, you have to smash up the apples, then press them.  A long piece of timber is good for this (untreated with any sort of preservative!)

Step 4: Building a simple press

Picture of Building a simple press
Here, a press was made from 4" x 3" (12cm x 9cm) timber bolted together.  This forms a strong frame in which a tub can be placed. 

Step 5: Preparing the apple pulp

Picture of Preparing the apple pulp
The mashed apple pulp is put inside a nylon mesh, and put into a plastic box, with a single small hole drilled into it (to let out the juice).  The cheapest available was this red mesh, an offcut from the fabric section in a shop.

Step 6: Pressing using a car jack

Picture of Pressing using a car jack
A board was placed on top of the mesh containing the apple pulp, and a car jack placed between the board and the frame to apply pressure.
jclipstone8 months ago
Hi, I pressed my cider a week ago, sterilised everything and added sodium metabisulphite to it, then cider yeast I got online. Should I see the fermenting process happening in the containers yet? I have left it in my kitchen, which can be a little cold.
Thanks :0)
rosemarybeetle (author)  jclipstone8 months ago

The sodium metabisulphite may have killed or retarded the yeast. It needs a day or so to dissipate the sulphur dioxide before adding. If you added directly, then that can make it start very slowly too. If you made a yeast starter, and that was fermenting, but nothing happened after 4 days after you added it, then it sounds a bit dodgy. If it's really cold, that may be a factor, so some form or heat helps, but not too high obviously.

Evene if yeast has failed, It's not that bad though. If you have more, then make sure the must is in a reasonably warm place first (it can take half a day or so to come up to temperature), keeping covered. Then make a new starter. give it at least 3 or 4 hours to get going strongly then add.

If you can't get brewing yeast in time, you can use breadmaking yeast. Slightly less subtle taste, but to be honest, not that noticeable

Good luck!
Sorry never done this before , do you put a lid on the drink after the yeast is put in?
rosemarybeetle (author)  Elliot_Steward9 months ago
Hi Elliot,

yes, you should keep it covered or flies get in it and potentially introduce vinegar-causing bacteria. It is best to have it airtight (but you need a fermentation lock to let out the gas if it is sealed!)

Alternatively, cover with a lid that is not sealed, but weighted down to stop creatures getting in. The gas will seep out as it builds up. This is the simplest way :)

Good luck
Just a quick question – I have pressed 10 litres of apple juice and added 1 campden tablet to the lot (which was my educated guess that just 1 tablet will do) and when 24 hours will pass I am due to reintroduce the yeast. I have a sachet of cider yeast which is 5g.... and it says it is not enough for up to 23 gallons or something like that.... however, nor recipe or instruction on the sachet, or any website actually states how much yeast do I need to mix per litre, or per gallon of juice? Do I just chuck in the whole 5g sachet into my 10 litre bucket??? And also, as I pressed my apples with the home juicer, at the moment there’s about an inch of thick foam floating on top... do I just sprinkle the yeast on top of foam and then mix it all up after 10-15 minutes??? Your advice would be highly appreciated! Thanks
rosemarybeetle (author)  luckycapricorn2 years ago

a few things. You should get the yeast started separately with half a pint of juice in a clean covered jug in a warm place until frothing. Make sure it is going before you add to the main juice. I am not sure if you meant to say the sachet says it IS enough for up to 23 gallons, but 5g should be enough for 10 litres (5 gallons or so).

In terms of how to mix, you should beat the yeast in and in doing so you beat some air (oxygen) into the juice. Although this sounds a bad idea, the oxygen allows the yeast to reproduce in the early stage of fermentation. This means plenty of yeast to metabolise the sugar. It will use up the air (and this prevents the cider oxidisng) at the beginning, then fermentation will slow as the yeast breaks down the sugar into alcohol and CO2. As soon as it is added, cover closely to prevent flies getting in (This is important - use an air lock if you have one. If not, just keep the lid on at all times. It shouldn't be tightly sealed (or the gas pressure will build up. It is to keep put germs on the flies or in the air and to stop more oxygen getting in.

Oooh aarr ooh arr !
Rosemarybeetle - apologies for writing to you but have just found this "Instructables" website in search of some "cider advice" and reading all the comments it appear that you seem to be a well-informed cider-maker ?!
Hopefully, if my assumption is correct, could I therefore pose a question to you in regards to my first cider-making attempts please!
Briefly, for years have noticed a fair number of apple trees growing around where I live, roadside, and as I particular enjoy a cider or two, in fact anything that's alcoholic, thought it about time I put these apples to some use !!
So, last week, with neice and nephew in toe scrumped the afore-mentioned apples (no idea make/model - some green, some red, some ripe, some not so ripe). And, as per a YouTube thingy I found..."how to make your own cider", washed, chopped and mushed the apples (using a hand blender no less - took a while and the darn thing got a little hot, but thankfully the Boss was at work so got away with it ! Anyway, squeezed out the pulp through muslin cloths and ended up with over a gallon of juice in my bucket (rinsed clean with a campden tablet). Made up half glass of "yeast starter" as per instructions (dissolving spoon full of sugar in warm water and adding spoonful wine yeast) After an hour added yeast mixture to bucket, mixed and covered with clingo then placed in airing cupboard. Within an hour or so it looked like the primary fermentation bit had started as was frothing slightly. Anyway, next day checked it - nowt ! Liquid looked still and as if nothing was happening. Therefore, thinking I may start up the fermentation process again, added three teaspoons of sugar.
Checked it again this morning - still lifeless!
Now, here comes the question....any idea what I should do now ?! Do I need to syphon it off to the demi-john, even though it's not bubbling away or is there something else I should do to try and restart the fermentation ? Or do you think I've blown it cos my apples weren't all ripe ?
Anway, if you can help in anyway, be greatly appreciated after all the efforts so far !!
yours, beginning to wish I bought some cider from the local,
I realize it's quite late for the batch you were working on in this comment thread, but temperature can also have drastic effect on the speed with which yeast works. If you try again, make sure it's not too cool for the yeast. Beer and making yeasts at the homebrew shop near me have a chart with their effective fermenting temperatures posted, as well as alcohol tolerance... the percentage of alcohol that will finally kill the culture and stop further fermentation. If it became too cold, it likely didn't kill the yeast just slowed it to the point you couldn't notice any action.

My cousin's first batch of Mead did the same thing and he tried re-pitching (adding more yeast), adding yeast nutrient, changing the temperature. When he finally finished the batch and printed labels, it was "Probably Toxic Mead." I heard it was pretty good, but wasn't privy to any of this batch. His "Baby Slobber Red" wine came out very nice, though.

My own first batch of mead and cider are both going right now at about 2 1/2 weeks. Mine foamed very little, but I daily check it with a backlight and can see very tiny bubbles making it to the surface, so I know it's still doing something, even though there's not enough CO2 coming off it to make the airlock bubble anymore.

Good luck, and happy brewing.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Dommcnulty1 year ago
First of all - respect for just going for it!

I am not quite sure what is happening here in your juice, but it sounds like you have done everything properly. In particular you have sterilised the juice and bucket, which should mean you can still get this to work. You should have plenty of time to restart this before the juice has time to spoil.

The issue is with the yeast not getting going. It may be a faulty batch, but it sounds like it did start, but then has either failed or slowed right down. This probably either the shock of the sugar or the traces of sulphur dioxide in the juice from the sterilisation tablets may have retarded or even killed the yeast. If that was the cause, this is not too bad, as the juice will definitely have been sterilised.

There are two things you can do. Either add new yeast or hope the yeast is fermenting and take a chance. It may have slowed down as adding to the juice can be a shock to it.

I think you are saying you added the yeast directly to the juice. This does usually work with apple juice for cider making BUT can sometimes fail.

Sugar acts as a preservative in high concentrations (which is why jam doesn't go off). Given that you suggest the fermentation started I suspect your yeast is struggling. Adding more sugar won't help restart it if that is the cause.

I recommend you just assume the yeast has failed and just add more.

Note - any effect of the sulphur dioxide should have faded away over a few hours, so the juice will be OK to use without killing any new yeast.

Enough theory/diagnostics, the remedy that has the best chance of saving your precious juice is to just add a new batch of yeast


To do this:
Quarter-fill a clean tall pint glass with some of the juice and add boiling water to make it up to about half a cup. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then add a fresh batch of yeast. Cover it (to keep out fruit flies) and leave in a warm place. After half an hour you should see it frothing. Leave for at least 4 hours to really get going. Make sure it is really frothing or fizzing.

Once the culture is going for it, it will be strong enough to take the shock of being added to the main juice. When you add it, beat some air in. This is used initially by the yeast to reproduce. It will use up the air (which then prevents oxidisation!).

One other thing to note is that you must keep the main bucket of juice covered in the meantime to avoid spoilage. Cling film is good as it keeps out fruit flies. They are the highest risk of contamination, but airborne germs can get in too otherwise.

I have had this happen occasionally with wine before and it can be saved. You have just been unlucky I think.

PS, if you can't quickly get more wine yeast, you can use bread yeast. It is usually hardier than wine yeast, although is rougher. For scrumpy, that is OK. Better to have produced something at all I would suggest

Don't give up!
I don't know if any one else has posted this yet, but the foam on top may have been natural fermentation. I was taught that you need 1 tablet per gallon.
rosemarybeetle (author)  kakashibatosi2 years ago
Hi, thanks.

if you have any juice that has been agitated, you will get foam. It can be fermentation causing it, but it may just be the froth of mixing it up. I think I have read the same advice on 1 tab per gallon, so I suspect that is a sound approach.

You can add pectin destroying ennzymes as well (before the yeast), to break down the jelly-like pectin, which traps particles causing cloudiness. Again, not essential, but increases chances of clear brew.

could you tell me the ratio of sodium metabisulphite to juice, for sterilization. thanks
Hi, I tend to use about a teaspoon in a 5 gallon batch, but I don't measure it very accurately. I just sprinkle it in. If you buy it from a wine making supplier, it may have more accurate instructions. You can also buy Camden tablets, which are the same thing in pill form. These are usually added 1 tablet per gallon

Hope that helps!
nirwin2 years ago
u dnt wnt to pulp the apple seed with the apples the seed can be dangerres to consume to your helth
rosemarybeetle (author)  nirwin2 years ago
hmm.. I think that while you may be right that there are some potentially dangerous substances in apple seeds (something that can be metabolised to cyanide, I believe), this is not something to worry about too much. You can (and I have done for years) eat apples including the core and seeds with no ill effects.

Even if there was a serious risk from these chemicals (which there probably isn't) they are locked up inside the seed casings and little gets out anyway.

I think you are right to raise it, but I don't believe it is a serious problem. Alcohol will poison you ages before anything else can in cider!
Off topic, but I never eat an apple without also eating the seeds. While we've been enculcated to believe these are dangerous, apple seeds are a great source of a very rare B vitamin that is almost non-existent in most diets today--with apples being about the only way to get this vitamin naturally these days.

I can't say what's right for others, but I have eaten apple seeds all my life and will continue to do so.

Great Instructable.
Langarulz2 years ago
Is there a way to make it so the yeast DOESN'T turn the sugar to alcohol? I dont drink beer or wine and I dont want to.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Langarulz2 years ago
Hi there,

no. The reaction is (simply put)
sugar + water -> alcohol + carbon dioxide.
The yeast will always make some alcohol if you get a fizz. It's true with breadmaking too, but hardly any alcohol is produced and it gets evaporated off by the cooking.

To be honest, if you use raw pressed apple juice, it is quite high in sugar, so is not usually watery.

If you wish, you can add glycerol, which is naturally produced by fermentation in small amounts and is essentially a thickener. It is very viscous in it's undiluted state. You can buy glycerol from home brew suppliers (and sometimes chemists/drug stores)

good luck and have fun trying
rosemarybeetle (author)  Langarulz2 years ago
Of course it won't be fizzy if you bottle it as juice.

If you use yeast fermentation to produce CO2, then you always get alcohol. One thing you should NOT do is add yeast and bottle it immediately, to get a very low alcohol fizz. That is very dangerous as there is enough sugar in the juice to easily produce more than enough CO2 to easily explode a bottle.

You can however use a soda stream to make the juice fizzy. There are also beer kegs that allow you to inject CO2 to produce draft fizzy.

Whichever you do, the sterilisation is important. Apples have wild yeasts on them and may ferment even if you don't add a proper brewing yeast.

I hope that helps
well could u still ferment it but not with yeast so it still releases CO2 but doesnt have the watery taste of adding carbonated water?
rosemarybeetle (author)  Langarulz2 years ago
Hi. Fair enough. Making it without it being alcoholic is really the same process up until step 7. That is, you are just extracting the juice without fermenting it.

In principle, you could bottle it at the point at which you sterilised it. I have not tried this, but I would expect that to work fine.

If you don't fancy using sulphites, you could boil it instead, but this will change the taste. Typically the subtle fragrances are lost by boiling.

Alternatively, you could freeze it, instead of bottling. You can do this using tapered plastic cups so you end up with big cup-sized juice-ice cubes! Once frozen they can be removed from cups and put in a bag and kept in the freezer until you want one. Defrost in batches or by the cup (a microwave is good for this)

I hope that helps
tmcgonagall2 years ago
can i use the juice from the electric juicer ?
rosemarybeetle (author)  tmcgonagall2 years ago
Yes, it is probably more efficient to use a juicer, but it may be a bit time consuming and be careful not to burn out your juicers if you are doing lots of juicing for a long time.
I believe traditionally there were all sorts of handcranked mechanical mills, but I only had wood,
sunshiine2 years ago
This looks so good! Thanks for sharing.
rosemarybeetle (author)  sunshiine2 years ago
Hey thanks - Halloween is a great day to receive a nice comment like that - cheers!
Eragon332 years ago
Fenris - Methanol boiling point : 65 °C, Ethanol is 78 °C. This means that as you heat up your liquid, the first thing to boil and evaporate off will be methanol - the optic nerve poison you mentioned earlier. As such, the first drops will be methanol - meaning that you are effectively telling us to get methanol and drink it. If you want to blind/kill yourself, be my guest, but I'd rather that you didn't tell others to do the same. Also, saying about making poisons from trying to make cider is insanity - yes, fermentation does produce some methanol, but unless you distill it, it is in such small proportions that you would have to drink insane amounts to get anywhere blinding/fatality. so, I'd appreciate you double checking your facts before saying things which someone impressionable would try to replicate, and injure themselves - or worse.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Eragon332 years ago

thanks Eragon33.
Yes, I agree that getting methanol poisoning by drinking homebrew cider is completely preposterous, given the ratio of ethanol to methanol. You'd be long dead of standard ethanol poisoning before methanol did anything.

My recommended basic safeguard (and catch-all disclaimer!) is not to get completely drunk!

PS - Your distillation comments makes sense to me, although I don't go near distilling. It's illegal here anyway.
mbalcer2 years ago
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blackjimmy3 years ago
Nice Instructable! I have a question: on some other site I was reading that if you make cider in the autumn it should be drunk the following spring.. is that massive overkill? 2 weeks just seems like a surprisingly short time! Do you think your cider gets better the longer you leave it? or no difference?
rosemarybeetle (author)  blackjimmy3 years ago

The cider is "bottle conditioned" to get the sparkle. In other words it has a trace of live yeast which is fed a contolled small amount of sugar which it makes CO2 with to presurise the bottle.

I have suggested from experience that 2 weeks is the minimum you should allow, just to make sure the fine sediment of yeast and odd other particles is settled, and you can pour off the clear cider.

If you don't it can be a bit ropey. Now leaving it longer will mean not only will the yeast actually die (and therefore shouldn't give anyone a stomach upset if they drink too much live yeast), but also there are subtle chemical reactions which occur that can make the wine taste better.

Against that is the fact that as well as good chemical reactions, there can be unhelpful ones, so if you left it years, it will in effect go off.

I think leaving to spring is probably overkill, and also requires some impressive restraint, but probably would mean it was at peak condition, and has become a folk saying as it is based on a reliable reason.

So in short a week in the warm (to get the fizz, followed by a month or so in the cold (to settle it) is probably about right.

Ok that makes sense! Glad I won't have to wait till next year to drink it! Thanks
With my apple cider, (sparkling apple wine) I like to drink the first bottle after about 2-3 weeks (usually Christmas or New Year's) for a taste test and wait until Easter Brunch to get in to the rest.

The remainder of the Apple Champagne usually lasts through the summer, and is quite refreshing. (It would probably last longer if we didn't drink it all!)

I am just beginning to try my hand at other fruit wines, and I recommend for the winemaking forums.

Also, that "fenris" fellow is some cray coot with a severe "naysayer complex." Homemade wine is safe. Homemade Brandy or hard alcohol is potentially dangerous. The worst you will end up with if you do homemade wine badly is homemade vinegar (also quite desirable). The greatest example I ever heard of for this was someone who accidentally made homemade huckleberry vinegar, and gave it away as prized Christmas gifts.

Happy brewing!

rosemarybeetle (author)  James__D2 years ago
I agree about not worrying about home brewing. Mild gut rot (e.g. - from unfinished yeasty beers, etc.) is worst that is likely to happen, and that is trivial.

impressed by abilty to save yours for so long though. Doesn't happen often here!

blee173 years ago
Paint strainer bags from the local hardware store work great too. You can get 3 bags for $2 most places.
rosemarybeetle (author)  blee173 years ago
Yes good idea. I like cheap and cheery solutions!
sunshiine3 years ago
What an awesome presentation! Thanks for sharing all your hard work and great fun!
rosemarybeetle (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
Hey thanks for the kind word.
It was indeed lots of fun to make, and pretty good to drink actually, which is always a satisfying ending to a brewery creation.
splazem3 years ago
Wow, that looks delicious!
rosemarybeetle (author)  splazem3 years ago
Hey, thanks. It was good, and it's always more enjoyable when you've toiled over making something. What life's all about!
I agree!
dbistline3 years ago
Most explosions happen because fermentation has not finished. The Hydrometer mentioned in a previous step is used when pitching yeast to see the potential for alcohol. Use it again before bottling, float the Hydrometer take a reading of the specific gravity then take another reading three days later. If the reading is the same its safe to assume fermentation has finished. If the reading has changed then take another reading in another three days. Repeat if needed.
This is my first time trying to make cider. I admit, I am short-cutting at the moment; I purchased a gallon of pasteurised apple juice (no addititives) and champagne yeast from the local brew shop, an air lock, hydrometer (researched how to read the bleedin' thing!) added me sugar and yeast. Going to experiment with different batches to get the right taste, but I want to make this pretty potent. The recipe I used called for 2 cups sugar, one brown, one white. Added those. Added 1/4 tsp of yeast, but forgot to add it to 100-105 deg F water. Next day, added probably 1/8th tsp yeast mixed the proper way. Next day (today) I have bubbles coming out the water-filled stopper, so I presume I now have fermentation.

I have a satchel of mulling spices I placed in a cheesecloth that I intend to add after a week (unless recommended otherwise.) Then, I plan on siphening off the liquid and transferring into a steralised gallon jug, and discarding the sediment from the initial jug. Am I on the right track here?

When do you recommend I take my next SP/Brix/Potential alc reading?

Thank you,
Hi there.

good for you. It's good that you are just going for it. It sounds like this should work, but your basic idea of trying a few variations is the best way to go. I write it down each time to record what I did. You don't need to go overboard. Just the ingredients, gravity readings with dates and anything you note like if it was really hot or really cold or the fact you forgot something. If you do that, you can reproduce good stuff, and avoid repeating bad stuff!

I would probably not use brown sugar for cider, but depends what you like. It's great in beer. As for readings, I use specific gravity, not BRIX, but it its the same principle. The most important thing is to have made an original gravity reading, and to make periodic readings every few days. You should see a rapid drop in gravity, then a slowing down unti it doesn't change any more. The difference between the orriginal and final gravity will allow you to calculate the alcohol.
Once it does not change, that is also the time to siphon off the main yeasty stuff. Then leave to stand in a cold place for about a week, and it will clear. Then siphon off again into sterilised, primed bottles if you want it fizzy, or a sealed container if you are making it still. Try not to allow the liquid to pour in from a height. Siphon with te end of the tube under the liquid. This means oxygen does not get into the cider, which will cause oxidisation over time (makes it more sherry tasting, and can change the colour)

If you make it, post a picture!

best of luck
Just wanted to share some follow up and see if anyone has some suggestions, tips or hints. 3 weeks ago, I started a 1 gallon batch of cider. OG reading was 1.060. After reading some posts, I probably should have siphoned and transferred to secondary container a little more often as sediment formed. 2 weeks ago, I started two more batches with different ingredients. Here is where I could really use some help; batch 1 now has a SG reading of 1.000, tastes pretty potent, but is dry and a little tart. Is there anything I can do to make it more of a sweeter, apple taste? I've had a satchel of mulling spices in the jug for flavor.

Batches 2 and 3 taste better, more of how I had hoped. I'm just worried they may lose the sweet flavour over time.
Hi there.

a few questions here.
1. siphoning
You don't need to siphon frequently. In fact it is best not to do it more than twice, and once is usually enough. The best time to siphon is when the fermentation has stopped. after the readings stay the same, put the cider somewhere cool
for a day or two, then siphon off. It is important when siphoning to avoid the liquid splashing in. Keep the end of the tube under the surface. This reduces the amount of air that gets dissolved into teh cider. The more air (its the oxygen) that gets dissolved into the cider, the more it will go brown, and the taste will be affected - less appley and less fragrance.

2. Dryness
Dryness is about how sweet it is, caused by how much sugar is left in it. If you let the fermentation finish it will always be dry. If you like this, then good. You can make the cider sweeter in several ways.
a. The first way is to kill the yeast towards the end of the fermentation using camden tablets. These give off sulphur dioxide, which will kill the yeart effectively. You will need to read the instructions on how many of these to add.
You will also need to bottle it straight away or other yeasts can get in, and start a new fermentation. If this happens, you can end up with exploding bottles, especially if you kill the yeast when there is a lot of sugar left. It also means you can't make the cider fizzy.
b. You can add lactose, whish can be bought, and is the sugar fund in milk. It is not fermented by yeast, so will stay sweet, and not risk explding bottles. However it is not that easy to dissolve, so it can crystalise out sometimes. You can still make the wine fizzy by priming the bottles with the normal sugar (sucrose) too.
c. Although this is a bit dodgy, you can use sweeteners, like aspartame tablets. This is something that I personally think is pretty hideous. It defeats the point of maiing it yourself for me, but some people like the taste, so each to their own

3. Tartness
This is acidity. This is less noticeable if the juice is sweet, which is why your juice tastes OK before fermentation, but seems too sour after fermentation.
acidity can be reduced by adding precipitated chalk (calcium carbonate). This will react with the malic acid in the juice and neutralise some of it. It fizzes when you add it, so allow space in a big container or it can foam over.
It is best to add this before fermentation. It can taste a little chalky if you add it after fermentation.

Anyway, some thoughts. Feel free to feedback your thoughts/tips for others,
It would be great if you can upload a photo of finished cider too!

rosemarybeetle (author)  dbistline3 years ago
This is good advice. I have left out the steps for using hydrometers to this level of detail as I was trying to keep it simple enough for anyone to without special kit.
Certainly agree with taking readings. It can give you a measure of strength too if you take before and after readings, and as mentioned can be used to check if it's safe to bottle
Tokoloshe3 years ago
The bottles now have a thick layer of sediment and stuff at the bottom. Do I mix this in and drink it with the rest, or do i get rid of it?
rosemarybeetle (author)  Tokoloshe3 years ago

Asjjjaowicz says, you should avoid drinking the sediment. It is pretty much a layer of yeast. The common name for this is the dregs! It is unlikely to make you ill, but it can give you varying degrees of gut discomfort. It is usually not actually all dead either, so it introduces a live culture into your system. If you tend to suffer from Candida, thrush or other such yeast things, it is really not a good idea.

Assuming you have already got past the part where you put a small amount of sugar in each bottle to prime them and left in the warm for 3-5 days (to build up a fizz), then keep in a chilled place like a shed in winter for a few weeks and they will clear well. If you open cold, and pour carefully, you should get 95 percent of the clear stuff off the dregs.

If you get into it, you can look for decent quality yeast strains (from beermaking suppliers), which tend to gel more in the sediment, and are harder to disturb when pouring.

Good luck. Hope it's good!
The sediment at the bottom of the bottle is mostly flocculated/spent yeast. Try to pour carefully to avoid it, but if some gets in the world will not come to an end. It will effect the taste a bit.
Wheat beers count on it's inclusion as an important part of the flavor profile. In ciders I prefer to avoid it, but to each his own... ( and it also tends to give some people gas).
Tokoloshe3 years ago
I read somewhere else that after you add the yeast (step 8), you have to seal the container with an airlock or something, otherwise it turns into vinegar. Is this true?
rosemarybeetle (author)  Tokoloshe3 years ago
Hi there.

essentially yes, that is best practise, but it is probably overkill for most ciders.

The reason for using airlocks is because air is full of organisms and/or their spores. If you keep it covered, then the chances of anything dodgy floating in are great reduced, so an air lock is definitely the most reliable approach. However, you don't really need an air lock for cider (or beer). Fermentation only lasts a week or so, so if it is covered, it should be fine. For wine, it is much more advisable, as the fermentation takes months, and that increases the risk of something getting in.
It is worth not opening the barrel too often, and when you do, do it gently. The carbon dioxide on top of your cider acts as a barrier (it is heavier than air), so if you are gentle, it stops air getting to the liquid

Thanks a lot :) I've just covered the container with plastic wrap. Every 24 hours or so, it bulges with air, so I just open it briefly.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Tokoloshe3 years ago
that should do it. Once it stops bulging, keep it well covered. The air is full of microorganisms. In particular, if you see small slow-flying flies floating about nearby beware. These are fruit flies that carry bacteria that can turn alcohol in vinegar :(
Thanks :)
mcaliber.503 years ago
could you use apple juice from a store for this?
rosemarybeetle (author)  mcaliber.503 years ago
Hi there.

yes, that will work. the basic process of all brewing is offering up sugary liquid to yeast in a comfy warm place, and let it do it's thing.

I think economically it may not be worth you making it from shop bought juice. It's probably an expensive way to do it. It can be done from concentrates too (watered down). It's the same thing, but the flavour is not the same. For me the fun is in converting nature's handy abundances into something delicious.

Happy brewing

in my area, the only place to get that many apples costs about 20 bucks for a 5 pound bag
rosemarybeetle (author)  mcaliber.503 years ago
Fair enough.
I got all the apples I needed from trees on public land so they were free!

fenris3 years ago
Hey, I hope you will not take this as "sniping" or "flaming", it's not. The plain fact is, you are taking your life in your hands, in a couple of ways, and I do not think you should proceed with this, nor should others, until you - and they - have done a lot more reading about this whole subject. I am pretty old, and grew up in the country in Pennsylvania in the 40s and 50s, when the making of many kinds of "home brew" was common, and of course the commonest was cider, and applejack every winter. Many farmers grew a lot of corn, and made one kind or another of "corn squeezins". Get in your time machine and go back and ask any one of those people whether an inexperienced person should make any kind of homebrew, and the answer will be NO. Ask whether any inexperienced person without a hydrometer should try to bottle anything so as to make pressure - and those guys will tell you, sure, if you want to blow your head off or make a huge mess and damage your house. The fact is, first of all, that if you do not pay a lot of attention to a very sterile process, all the way through to bottling, you very well might have your brew infected by some very dangerous bacteria - deaths due to "home brew" used to be quite common, along with blindness,  and for that reason members of my generation were taught that it is just better not to make any. When it comes to bottling for "fizz" or "foam" or any such pressure, that is a big no-no, unless you know exactly what you are doing, and have a hydrometer and know how to use it. And that goes double for someone using champagne bottles. They can hold 7 atmospheres of pressure, and when they do explode, the damage will be considerable, and if it goes off because you just picked the bottle up and you are holding it right in front of your face to see if it is clearing - I won't go on to the sickening image that leads to.
Please - if you are interested in this subject, go to your local winemakers' supply store - they are everywhere nowadays - and ask for a book. There are many of them, and some have some delicious recipes in them. But what is important, they explain the use of equipment such as "fermentation locks" or other devices that let the pressure out during fermentation without letting any air get in, so that you can get to the bottling stage without having created poisons.  (The use of a balloon was mentioned, and the concept is valid, but depends on the rest of the procedure being pretty tight - and I'm not too sure whether you can easily and effectively sterilize a balloon.)
I'm sorry to rain on your parade, but you are oversimplifying something that should emphatically not be simplified. Some processes are as complicated as they are for good reasons.
Slow down partner. You are mixing a lot of facts and fancy. The "death and blindess" are probably from distilled liquors (i.e. - moonshine), which can have a gycol by-product., not "dangerous bacteria". Not being sterile in the fermentation process will at worst make something that is not very flavorful, not a death sentence. Making cider without a fermentation lock is not going to "create poison". In fact, for hard cider, the fermentation lock basically keeps out fruit flies. This is not dangerous and yes, beverages that give off CO2 can create a lot of pressure, but with a small amount of precaution everything will be fine. Relax dude.
Let me tell you what I was told, I suppose more than 40 years ago: The reason for sterilizing everything as well as possible is that any number of different kinds of bacteria are dangerous, and if you allow the wrong kind to breed, you will be very sorry. Words to that effect. Okay, I have been saying all along that I would like people to do their reading, so it would be foolish if I did not do just that. In my recent reading I have found out that of the two things I was warned about, namely inadvertent production of methanol and fusel alcohols, the old-timers seem to have been right in one case and wrong in the other. It seems that fusel alcohols are completely harmless, and the blindness and death were never due to fusel alcohols, but were caused only by the inadvertent production of methanol, as far as I can tell at this point.  At wikipedia you can read the following: (quote)Methanol is produced naturally in the anaerobic metabolism of many varieties of bacteria, and is ubiquitous in the environment.(end quote); and about halfway down the page, (quote) Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If ingested, as little as 10 mL can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve and 30 mL is potentially fatal, although a fatal dose is typically 100–125 mL (4 fl oz). Toxic effects take hours to start and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage. Because of its similarities to ethanol (the alcohol in beverages), it is difficult to differentiate between the two (such is the case with denatured alcohol).. (end quote) Note that "methanol is...ubiquitous". Why? because the bacteria that produce it are ubiquitous. Therefore we try to maintain a sterile process so that we do not inadvertently produce methanol. I keep saying, do your reading. I lived in the hills in Pennsylvania, just 1 to 2 decades after moonshining was a big thing to do, and at one time I suppose I could have given you specific family names, not that I can remember them now, of families who had had a grandfather or somebody go blind, or that had somebody who up and died on them, after bad home brew. You go ahead and be as stubborn as you want to, but homebrewing CAN be dangerous. You aren't going to shut me up about it. If I can admit that I was half wrong, how about you?
you were right to say that you need to sterilize everything first, not only to prevent the wrong type of alcohol, but just the fact tht you may end up with something that tastes horrible, and is barely even fermented. i have tried to make alcohol without sterilizing before, it was horrendous.
also, i heard that a balloon with holes poked in it works well to keep bacteria out, and let gasses escape to avoid pressure buildup.
majkeli fenris3 years ago
I'm an experienced homebrewer and cider maker here and I can say that homebrewing is not dangerous. There really is no danger of making poison unless you try really hard to, and at that point it would be spoiled and undrinkable. No matter how hard you try to mess it up you'll always get beer (or cider). It may not be the best tasting thing, but it won't be poison.
BobCat fenris3 years ago
Alcohol kills bacteria. Home brewing is perfectly safe. For about 10,000 years, home brewed beer and wine has been safer than drinking water.

The reason you were told it was dangerous was so the government could collect taxes. Exploding bottles? Please, commercial beer and champagne bottles explode too.
rosemarybeetle (author)  fenris3 years ago
Hi Fenris,

No problem. My advice is if anyone is not sure, then read more about it elsewhere. You are right to strike a note of caution abotu pressuring bottles. You can also use a pressure barrel (used for beermaking, and if the pressure is building up, you will soon know as the cider comes out pretty fast. You can usually let off some pressure and some come with safety release valves.

I am not sure about the bacteria concern. Sterilising the pressed juice and making sure the bottles are clean is a reasonable precaution.

The blindness of homebrew legend is real, but is I believe from from trying to distil the cider into "brandy". This is definitely NOT something to attempt. It is truly dangerous as the normal ethanol alcohol can break down into methanol (Meths!), which is seriously dangerous.

Basically, I agree a hydrometer is a sound investment as it stops all the risk
Hi again, and I'm sorry again to have to disagree with you. Ethanol can not be "broken down" into methanol by any process I have ever heard or read of. In fact, distillation is the only part of "moonshining" that I would (and do) recommend to just about anyone. Pretty hard to go wrong, and no real danger as long as any common sense at all is used (don't start a still and then go to sleep, for instance).
The stove-top still ("drip still") is so simple that it does not even need an instructable. I can tell you all you need to know right here in a few sentences. The fundamental fact that all distillation depends on is that in any mixture of liquids, some have higher "boiling points", some lower. Alcohol will make steam some 20 degrees lower than the steam temperature of water.
You probably have in your kitchen a cooking pot that has a glass lid that is somewhat dome-shaped. Place a soup bowl or some such in the center of the pot and pour into the pot some cheap wine, so that none of the wine goes into the bowl You might want to start with 6 to 8 oz. Now put the lid on the pot, upside down, so the convexity is down in the pot - the lowest point of the lid, probably the glass knob, is right over the bowl. Put some cold water or even add some ice cubes in the lid - a small amount will suffice. Now turn on the burner to its low simmer setting. Don't walk away from this. It is important to be watching when the first few drops are condensing and dripping into the bowl. (exciting thing to watch, if you like your booze). Now turn off the burner. Let it stand - and drip - for several minutes. Open it up and in the bowl you have one small shot of some of the finest white lightnin you ever tasted, with absolutely none of the taste of the cheap wine, nor its odor either. It will have a nice clean alcohol smell, will burn with a blue flame, and will burn your throat all the way down. Making one small shot of it at a time, say out of about 8 oz of wine, can't hurt you or make you drunk, and it will not turn to methanol, absolutely not. This is as close as this method will get to "pure" ethanol.
Okay, in actual practice, you will not stop so soon, but let the brandy get some color and flavor into it before you stop the still. So the finished product, rather than 90% or so, will be down to maybe 50%, and you have a hundred-proof brandy. A sensible rule might be, the worse the wine the sooner you stop. If the wine is pretty decent drinkable stuff, not harsh, let the brandy run longer, get weaker, but richer in flavor. By the time you have an amount in the bowl equal to about one sixth of the amount of wine you started with, you have hit the wall. There is nothing more to be gained by continuing.
(if you'd rather have a 'single malt' Scotch, use a strong beer or ale or malt liquor instead of the wine, shake it up good so as to finish off the foam before pouring it into the stillpot. And again, plan on taking no more than about one sixth of the volume out of it.) (do the arithmetic - in 8 oz of 8% malt liquor there is .64 oz of alcohol. 1/6 of 8 oz is 1.33 oz, so your whisky is about 100 proof if you make that much. Say one "fat" shot.)
In closing, let me say that I have not had a drink in many many years now, but I do definitely know what I am talking about. I didn't just drink - I drank professionally. But don't take my word for it - use what I have just said as an incentive to further reading. After you have done your reading, do as I have described above and enjoy!
brianc63 years ago
thats why here in aus it's legal to brew beer and wine but not distill alcohol fenris is because most of the blind and death situations were due to illegal bootlegging not from brewing cider, beer or wine mate i brew beer like most australians and yeah have had a few infected brews but worst case was a taste that you wont like not blindness or death stop trying to ridicule home brewing it's a safe and fun thing that most people that drink be it wine or beer should have a go at !!!!!!!
rosemarybeetle (author) 3 years ago
I also meant cider when I said wine in that reply too!
mnc3 years ago
may i add some other fruits
like strawberry ?
is this makes it worse ?
Calbo32 mnc3 years ago
I add strawberries or raspberries after the primary fermentation is down to at least 2 minutes between bubbles. This retains the aroma, color and flavor of the berry. I have an orchard and a cider mill and have legions of hard cider makers. The best hard cider is still close to Boone's Farm, a favorite of the homeless every where. The fruit is great and the wine is fun.....go for it my friends!
rosemarybeetle (author)  mnc3 years ago
You can do. Its a matter of taste. Always add everything at the beginning just before sterilisation
Thank you!

i was used to live in denmark,
i'll try to catch flavour of rekorderlig cider ^^
i can't find thoose here =)
druff3 years ago
I put mine in plastic jugs after fermentation. I then set it outside in our cold minnesota winter. The water froze leaving behind some tasty apple jack.
Bill Hooper3 years ago
Just the same as when making beer, don't empty the bottle when you're pouring. The bottom of the bottle has the yeast remnants as you can see in the picture. These will make the cider bitter if you drink them. When pouring the cider just leave the last half inch or so in the bottle. You will enjoy that last little bit a lot more this way. Cheers!
It's actually where the term "the dregs" came from. Although, most commercial beers, ciders, perry, wines and other fermented drinks are all sterilized these days before fermenting.

Speaking of perry. This is almost exactly how I make mine so if you don't have many apples trees around but plenty of pears have a go with them. I've found perry to be less acidic than cider.
The non-fanatic (or the urban dweller) can start at step 7 with 5-6 gallons of preservative-free cider from the megamart.

This tends to make a thin-tasting cider, which I've found can be cured by adding 2-3 cans of concentrated apple juice immediately before bottling.

Since the nearest orchard is at least 100 miles from my house, this is usually the only practical method for me.
peakoil3 years ago
Where do you buy Sodium Metabisulphite in bulk?
pjcamp peakoil3 years ago
Any brew store can provide it. If you don't have a local favorite, Northern Brewer and Williams Brewing are some big Internet suppliers.
rosemarybeetle (author)  peakoil3 years ago
I live in uk. Here you can buy in home brew shops. . It's dead cheap - my last half-kilo bag lasted about 8 years!
You might get it in chemists ( US = drug store I guess) or probably online.
zozzen3 years ago
with so many comments, i was still the first to vote. I voted 5 stars but the rating bar shows 3.09 (1 vote). The algorithm seems to be tricky.

anyway, thanks for the instructable. Very detailed and well explained.

rosemarybeetle (author)  zozzen3 years ago
Hey, thanks! Just wanted to publish an easy way that works for me.
nelson33 years ago
My granddad put a ballon on top of the bottle to make wine would this work for cider to vent it and keep the air out
If I had a nickle for everytime I needed more room to make a project and be able to store the project... well. then I could probably buy more space. Nice, simple, good instructable. I hope to be able to do it some day as I do have a source for a good amount of organic apples.
raidengl3 years ago
Actually modern pressure treated lumber is treated with ACQ also known as Alkaline Copper Quartinary which the manufacturer claims is perfectly safe and harmless unlike the CCA Copper Cromatted Arsenic that was used before. I still wouldn't want either in my cider though. If your apple trees are sprayed with any pesticides though I would wash those apples thoroughly before smashing them. Though apples off an organic tree (I.E. one with any pesticides ever applied to it) would be much better.
manicmonday3 years ago
If you have too much pressure, and/or weak bottles they will explode. Best to take that possibility into account and put them in a place where other things won't be ruined if that happens.
I had a gallon jug of Mead explode in the middle of the night ones. Scared the hell outta me and my roommate. We were finding Glass shard for weeks. Some embedded in the walls and ceiling. So make darn sure you're using the correct botles.
rosemarybeetle (author)  manicmonday3 years ago
You are right. Always use proper champagne or beer bottles, and don't leave them near anything that you wouldn't want soaked in cider, just in case!
Duckism3 years ago
wow didn't know there were so much work involve just to make cider... how many bottles did you ende up making in one batch? I don't think it would be worth it for me to make a press and everything tho. I can get 4 letres of fresh cider for 6 bucks down by the farmers market every saturday. have you ever tried with out stirilising the cider and dont' bother adding yeast to it? I have tried different yeast. I find that the yeast for making whine doesn't taste very great with making cider, beer yeast works really well, but I have problem finding them. The best yeast I've try so far is the yeast that comes from the skin of the apple themself. I discover it accdentally one time I bought ther cider but I didn't drink them and just left the bottle in the back of the fridge for a very long time. I found out it slitely furmented and it tasted great. then i experimented and jstu bottle the cider with out putting any yeast in and it turned out great!
Questor Duckism3 years ago
you ought to try Mead or a Malomel. AND . . . after all that it should be aged at least a year in a 'cool dark cellar'
This is great. I suppose you could either go a few steps forward and hybredize your own apple tree or go a step in the other direction and buy a jug of apple juice already made. If you choose the latter, be careful not to purchase any with a preservative added as it will kill the yeast. Add some bread yeast, some sugar (dark brown preferred as it has more nutritional value), and add a balloon or a condom to catch the carbon dioxide, gently shaking the mixture every week or so for a couple of weeks or years depending on how strong you want to make it. Try and skim as much of the clear liquid off the top as that crud in the bottom needs to be filtered out and you never manage to remove all of it. To make "apple jack", do this process in a snowbank during the winter to concentrate the alcohol even further.
John Sphar3 years ago
Great instructable. You can ferment in any "clean" container with a wide opening and a loose lid. I get "food grade" plastic containers that are made of FDA approved polymers and processes from a local wine/beer making shop. I use the 40 gallon plastic garbage can size for my wine making. I would really like to try this as our country was founded on hard cider. John Adams started each day with a glass of hard cider with his breakfast!
CowGuy3 years ago
I've never made cider from apples to start but I've made hard cider from some apple juice. Will give your method a try some time!
NaTeB13 years ago
Awesome instructable! I love how you do everything so simply! The press is awesome.

Is sanitizing as important in cider brewing as it is in other ferments? When Ive brewed beer or made wine I sanitize everything that comes in contact from start to finish... Did you even need to sanitize the bottles? anything? I don't think I read any mention of it anywhere except the addition of the preservative.
rosemarybeetle (author)  NaTeB13 years ago
Thanks. It was fun to do, so hope it is of use and you get to make some good stuff!

Safer to sanitise. With the bottles, you don't have to use any chemicals if you have recently washed them in very hot water. You must rinse well though so there is no soap
like my Dad said; When in doubt, better to be safe, than sorry. So; Sanitize Everything & Everything you plan to put into your mouth! Also, Peel all skin from apples, Poison sprays have a nasty habit of drifting on the winds, even pure organic grown fruit can become covered from someone else's fields.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Quester553 years ago
I don't peel them, but if you do, the juice is slightly less bitter. Some people core them, but hey - that's a bit too much effort, when it works anyway
Quester553 years ago
Please use Caution when choosing a wood smasher, ' like this one pictured above', If you look closely, you'll see a hint of Green on the 4x4, is that a Pressure treated 4x4 I see? Can we say Sodium cyanide Poison used in pressure treated lumber? The easy way is not always the best way.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Quester553 years ago
you are quite right to mention this. Don't worry, in this case it was not preserved timber. It was plain sawn, but it is something to bear in mind. Fungicide/insecticide is definitely not something to add to you cider!
If in doubt cut your own baulk from a tree if you have lots of wood about. A 2-3" diameter piece of branch (3 year old hazel branch is about right for this!) will do the job.
Doctor What4 years ago
 Very nice!  I'll have to skip the yeast step though.  I like mine with a little more pulp than yours too.  Keepin  it rustic.
rosemarybeetle (author)  Doctor What4 years ago
Hey thanks. 
If you skip the yeast it is really just apple juice, but that's OK. It's yummy too.  You do need to drink it fast or sterilise it if bottling or it will go off.
I guess if you want juice, and want it pulpy, you could use a power drill with some sort of blade attached (maybe a builder's plaster-stirrer with sharpened edges) and then very coarse filtering material to let more pulp through.
Most fruit off the plant has yeast on the skin (that's the yeast used to make proper wine).

You don't say or show, but what was your cider in during fermentation?  Did you have a lid on it?  How did you deal with the pressure of CO2 build-up?
rosemarybeetle (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Hi there

yes most fruit does have yeast, and it may work.  Personally I wouldn't recommend hoping naturally occuring yeasts will be reliable varieties.  That's a risk, but not only that - fruit also often feature other bacterial spoilage organisms that can turn alcohol into vinegar.  The process of sterilising the juice is really to kill of all unknown organisms, and then the added known yeast variety will do its magic in a reliable way.

The fermentation was in a 5 gallon fermentation bin with a closed cover, but it has a small (1/4 inch) hole in the top, covered with gaffer tape.  The escaping gas pushes out the edges of the tape.  It's a crude fementation lock, but you can use proper winemaking ones if you have them.  for short fermentations like cider and beer, keeping it reasonably closely covered is usually OK.

Bottling was done a week after fermentation had stopped.  half a teaspoon of sugar per bottle.

Happy brewing...
You might want to check out Sandor Katz's book "Wild Fermentation" :) It offers a lot of amazing information about making fermented foods/drinks utilizing naturally occurring yeasts. His website ( also has a great discussion forum for wild fermenters.
 My dad had a press that we took out to a family member's orchards (I can't remember which one).  It was amazing, it munched up the apples, then pressed to juice.  It didn't strain the impurites so well, and commonly came up with pulp inside it (that's why I like it so much).  
joshbierton4 years ago
if i used cooking apples could i make it less sour in the same way?
rosemarybeetle (author)  joshbierton4 years ago

Adding precipitated chalk will reduce sourness of cooking apples.  It is simply that it reacts with some of the acid and that neutralises it.

thanks, i thought so, i was just making sure
joshbierton4 years ago
hi, thought this might be some useful information, for every gallon of cider you will need 6 average wine bottles and 9 average beer bottles
rosemarybeetle (author) 4 years ago
Yes, it is as simple as tha really.  You can use a hydrometer to measure the gravity of the juice before and after adding the yeast, but its not essential.  It is mainly just to see how strong it will be. 

Won't the air make it turn into vinegar?
rosemarybeetle (author)  sockless4 years ago
Hi there.

No, it shouldn't. That's what step 7 was for.  You are right to be concerned. The bacteria that causes vinegar to form is common and will be found on the skins of apples.  The addition of the sulphite powder release sulphur dioxide nuking the bacteria. You should leave it overnight, but by adding the yeast afterwards this gets established in a sterile liquid, outbreeds everything and takes over. 

It is possible to get vinegar bacteria back in again later if you do not cover the liquid, as tiny fruit flies (Drusophlis I think the are called) will appear as if by magic ,attracted by the smell of the fermentation, and they carry the bacteria, so keep the lid on

Hope that makes sense.  The method I have here is the simplest.  It is possible to be much stricter on hygeine,  but unless you intend to keep the finished product for a long time, it isn't really necessary to go over the top with this.
sockless4 years ago
So do we just brew this in the bucket?