Author Options:

how do you make hard cider? Answered

 how do you make hard cider or applejack from storebought  cider


Jacking is actually easy, just not as effective. It's just freeze-distillation.

When you freeze hard cider, the water in the cider will solidify first, making slushy ice crystals. The alcohol will not freeze yet, it has a lower freezing point.

Just pour the mixture through a filter that traps the ice crystals- blotting paper or maybe several layers of cheese cloth. Remove the trapped ice slush. The remaining cider will have a lower water content- therefore a higher alcohol content. Repeat, repeat, repeat... although eventually you will not be able to "catch" any more ice crystals.

A drawback is you can not separate the fusel oils from the mixture. Fusel oils cause bad headaches. Careful evaporative distillation can separate this better.

A very good text on making alcohol, which I highly recommend is The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible by Leon Kania.  Fun read and very informative.

NOTE: jacking is illegal (just like evaporative distilling) in the United States.


It's not illegal, just very difficult and cumbersome to do legally:
"You cannot produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying excise tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19."

Nice! I never knew it could be done legally.

Thanks for the how-to info on the legal requirements! The Bootlegger's Bible just didn't cover this info, hence the title, in retrospect...

I make hard cider by getting preservative-free cider (which can be tough unless you live in an apple-growing area) and simply leaving it in the fridge until it starts to ferment. (My own preference is for when it has turned just enough to fizz on the tongue but not enough to cut the sugar content too drastically. Call it "firm" cider.