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.