Simple Homemade Cider With a Juicer and No Press





Introduction: Simple Homemade Cider With a Juicer and No Press

 Apple trees are often seen burden with fruit that is never used.  For the last two years I have been collecting from friends and neighbours any unwanted fruit and making cider.  I lack an apple press and the time to make one so have been using a juicer.

This instructable will tell you how to make your own cider without a press.

You will need:
Sieves and muslin cloth
Tubing for syphoning off
Demijohn & airlock
Campden tablets (to kill the yeast)
Yeast of your choice
Finings to clear the liquid
Bottles to store it in
A hydrometer to measure specific gravity and hence alcohol % is useful

Step 1: Prepare the Apples and Juice

 To make about 8 litres of cider you'll need approximately two supermarket carrier bags full of apples.  The various yeasts etc will probably set you back around £3 for the batch, less if buying in bulk.

Chop the really bad bits out and cut down to whatever size is required for the juicer, then pass through the juicer.

I then use a fairly fine sieve to remove and lumps and pour into a cocktail jug to collect.

Once left it will separate in the cocktail jug, sediment at bottom, yummy juice in middle and foam on top.  My cocktail jug has a mesh type pouring attachment so will retain most of the foam and some sediment as you pour in the next step.

Then pour this through a muslin cloth into another bowl.  You can skip the first sieve stage but then your muslin will get clogged quicker.

Step 2: Start the Brewing

Once you have the juice through the muslin filter, pour into a demijohn.  The demijohn should be cleaned with a campden tablet or similar to ensure free of contaminants.  Instructions for use are on the campden tablet packet.

At this point you can leave the juice to ferment using the natural yeast in the apples but if you're unlucky you'll get a bad yeast in the batch.  

A better way is to drop in a crushed campden tablet to kill the natural yeast and add your own yeast after a day.  I tend to use champagne yeast or wheat beer yeast. 

To add the yeast remove some juice and warm in a microwave to a lukewarm temp.  Pour the yeast in and stir as per the packet directions then return to the demijohn.

At this point if you have a hydrometer you can read the specific gravity of the juice.  A good cider tends to start around 1.055, most time I've found a reading of around 1.045 with apples.  If desired follow the instructions on the hydrometer packed to add the correct sugar to increase to 1.055.

Then simply add the airlock and leave it.  Brewing will start within a day or so and the mixture will form a foamy head.  Air bubbles will escape through the airlock.  

Step 3: End of Brewing

After around 2 weeks (will vary depending on yeast and temperature)  the bubbling will stop.  The yeast has used all the sugar available to turn to alcohol.

Drop in a crushed campden tablet to kill the yeast.  This will drop to the bottom and the mixture will start to clear.

A day after adding the campden tablet you can add a sachet of finings to help it clear.  This should be available from most brewery stores or online.

The mixture in the photos is now ready for bottling and is almost possible to read through.

If available, measure the specific gravity of this finished product and follow instructions on hydrometer on how to calculate the alcohol.  This batch ended up at 7.9%.

Step 4: Racking or Bottling

You are now ready to bottle (rack) the cider.  You should clean the bottles with a campden tablet solution as you did the original demijohn.

The best approach is to syphon off as shown.  Keep the bottles approx 3 foot below the demijohn and make sure the tube inside doesn't slip down into the sediment at bottom of the demijohn as you syphon off.

Once bottles are filled you have a chance (cider purists will hate this) to taste the cider, and if it is too dry, add some splendour or similar artificial sugar to the bottles.  It will improve the sweetness and since it is artificial, will not be converted by any remaining yeast to more alcohol.

You can now bottle and label the cider.  I tend to label up to show the brewing dates, type of yeast, any sugar added and any other steps in the process taken so that if it turns out great (or terrible) you know how to repeat (or not).

That's it, you now have cider.  It can be drunk as is but is best served chilled in a few weeks or so.



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    34 Discussions

    do u have an exact measurement to this procedure so that i can do this.

    Many years ago (well over 30) I was given a recipe from Bucks County, Pa. which uses no added.  I'd love your thoughts on it.  It's a very simple  process.  A gallon of pasteurized cider,no preservatives.  About 4 cups brown sugar, 3 cups raisons.  Bring near boiling.  Set outside to freeze overnight, covered pot.  Bring in and scrape off ice.  Repeat the near boiling, freeze overnight, scrape off ice steps for 2 or 3 weeks.  I've made this many times over the years and no one has ever gotten ill.  Everyone has gotten absolutely tipsy.  And it tastes divine. 
    Because every recipe I see adds yeast, I would appreciate your comments as I'm beginning to think after reading these recipes that this brew may have some hidden danger.

    12 replies

    The air is full of wild yeasts - so your recipe does have yeast in it! Yeasts are pretty powerful little guys - as long as you keep the conditions favourable for them, they'll over-power other bacteria and what not. I've never read a recipe quite like your's with the dramatic temperature changes. I'm intrigued!

       Thanks for your response.  This year I adulterated the recipe by adding brewer's yeast as I began to think that everybody else on the globe was doing it right.  I'm going to start another batch doing it my way.  I'll report back in 3 or four weeks.  So far, however, the first batch started which is a just a few days from maturity tastes tame compared to the usual cider I make.  But perhaps the brewer's yeast masks the strength, and it will have the same wallop my usual brew packs. 
        This wallop, by the way, is enough to get a room of adults very happy and yet has been consumed, albeit in smaller quantities, by the partying young'uns.  They seem just as happy, but nobody appears drunk, including a normally ditzy 11-year-old.

      But another question.  I had always thought that the sugars in the mix  result in the active yeast.  From your response, it seems this assumption is wrong?

    I'm not completely sure what you're asking... However, sugar feeds yeast so its required for the fermentation. The sugars will attract yeast if it's not already on something that's in the mix (apple skins etc.).

    but nearly boiling the batch will kill most yeasts. Also, most yeasts won't be active in low temperatures (refrigerated or below), but can come back to life around room temp.

    Hey Rambler,
    It's been a long time since this comment was posted I know, but I came across it today and also found this on Wikipedia:

    "Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage made in North America by concentrating cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation, or by true evaporative distillation. In traditional freeze distillation, a barrel of cider is left outside during the winter. When the temperature is low enough, the water in the cider starts to freeze. If the ice is removed, the (now more concentrated) alcoholic solution is left behind in the barrel. If the process is repeated often enough, and the temperature is low enough, the alcohol concentration is raised to 30–40% alcohol by volume. In freeze distillation, methanol and fusel oil, which are natural fermentation by-products, may reach harmful concentrations. These toxins can be separated when regular heat distillation is performed. Home production of applejack is illegal in most countries."

    So the freezing removes the water, making it stronger, and the boiling removes the dangerous stuff that is left behind. I like the last bit - illegal in most countries! If it got that cold here in Ireland I'd give it a go myself! Sounds like good stuff! ;-)

    Hey Owen,
    Thanks so much. I was beginning to doubt my memory. An old teacher of mine had us all over to his farm house where he disclosed the recipe of the golden cider that was making us all feel silly. Even with that circumstance, the concoction I made from the procedure (I thought) he had disclosed to us always graced us with needed warmth on winter nights.
    Because of this forum, I've started adding yeast, thinking that I had somehow forgotten that step. This worked OK, but now I feel vindicated.
    And so in Ireland, it rarely gets cold enough for you to try this? Honestly, I didn't realize that. It must go well below freezing at night for two-three weeks. Like you, my problem is that I now live in a region, the American south, where the temp is rarely cold enough consistently to make a batch. But thank goodness for modern refrigeration. We bought an old junker refrigerator that we stuck in the basement. We use it basically for this purpose.

    The yeast converts the sugars to alcohol and is a different process than the freeze distillation. You can get a lot more alcohol with the freeze distillation than the yeast.

    Came upon this late.  This sounds like Terry Pratchett's "scumble" !!!  (Famous British author.)  Is there a reason you have to start out with pasteurized rather than just pressed?  If you're about to boil it anyway...

    You are right, as long as you raise the temp to at least 160, you kill anything (salmonella being the most common) that wants to harm you, so you don't have to use the pasteurized.

    This is interesting!  Sounds like a hard cider that relies on naturally occurring yeast, but I'm surprised that the near boiling and then freezing wouldn't kill the yeast before it had the chance to make your brew alcoholic.  

    I have a big cider press and when we make our cider we bottle it in reclaimed soda bottles. Then we freeze it. When we thaw the cider out it tastes like we just made it. Just remember to let a couple inches of air space on the top because of expansion. Love to keep until the holidays and make hot apple cider with it.

    Sulfites are food additives, that MAY cause reactions that look like allergic reaction in SOME people. They exist naturally in wine and cider, and have been used in brewery for quite some time.

    The fatal dose of sodium sulfite is 10-15 grams. That's about 20-30 Campden tablets. We are talking about 1 (one) tablet.
    Also, the fatal dose of fluoride is 5-10 grams... So the stuff you brush your teeth with is more poisonous than sulfides.

    But - of course you should deem these things for yourself. I would rather use sulfites thanhypochlorite.

    fairly simple it seems, I would and do not ever use the Campden tablets. That is what they call sulfides and is actually a poison. I use water and Clorox bleach (yes Clorox is a poison but you can tell when its clean) and rinse several times that will kill all your micro wigglies in your containers. After several weeks you cider will stop bubbling. wait a week longer then clarify. if the must (cider mix) has stopped bubbling then your yeast have run out of food and it is stopped. Sulfides cause a reaction in one person in ten. Usually headaches but can cause more severe anaphylaxis reactions (throat swells shut) So I stay well away from those things.
    over here in the "colonies" you can purchase gallons of pre made cider at the local grocery store. get about 5 of those and 5 gallon Demijohn... We call them carboys over here and you have by passed the pressing and juicer. Although I do like the way you did it and it does make use of the left over apples not used as you said. (like that too)


    I've read other recipes and some say to add sugar to increase the alcohol content. What do you think?

    so is there something you can use in place of the campden tablets? would cooking the cider after its finished fermenting work? also I didn't sift out my cider before i bottled it to ferment so the foamy stuff is still on the top. should i dump it out now and get rid of that before it ferments too long? i have only had it brewing now for 2 days so i could remove all the foam like you did in the first steps.


    If I want the cider to have a specific alcohol strenght, could I just stop the yeast proccess?