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In the past few
years there has been a tremendous interest in "do-it-yourself"
wine making or hard cider. It seems to be a family affair with the entire
family working together in the preparation, then watching the chemical
reaction take place.
Making alcohol from
the juice or fruit is done simply by letting the yeast in the juice
change sugar to alcohol. This reaction must take place without air.
If air comes in contact with the juice, the sugar will change quickly
from alcohol to vinegar. When sugar goes to alcohol, a gas (CO2) is
For the average
person making hard cider, glass or plastic gallons or five gallon jugs,
or clean wooden barrels, are satisfactory. An air lock is needed to
keep air out and let gas produced by the reaction escape. This can be
done by purchasing an air lock from wine makers supply merchants. Another
method is to drill a hole in the bottle stopper, insert a plastic tube
that fits tightly, and put the other end of the tube in a container
of water. This will let the gas bubble out and keep air or oxygen from
Steps in Making
apple cider without preservative. Most apple cider for hard
cider should be a blend of 3 or more varieties.
cider should be in clean containers. Wooden barrels make the best
hard cider as the wood breathes and gives the cider proper aging.
the cider add 1lb. of sugar per gallon for a dry hard cider (not sweet)
or 1 1/2 lbs. for a sweet drink. Honey can be substituted for sugar
on a pound per pound basis. Sugar and honey should be dissolved by
warming some cider and mixing the sugar and honey until completely
dissolved; then mix with the cider.
yeast in the juice will ferment the sugar to alcohol. Yeast need not
be added, although it can without any problem. Some fermentation processes
call for killing all the yeast in the pure cider with sulfur dioxide,
waiting 24 hours and then adding wine yeast. For the homeowner this
is not necessary.
air lock on container and keep at 60-70F for a couple of months. Lower
temperatures take longer for product to change from sugar to alcohol.
2 months the juice should be decanted off (siphoned out of the container),
the container washed, and the juice put back into the container. Do
not use siphon hose closer than 4" from bottom of container as
this is where all the sediment is resting.
decanting, store at 40 - 60F in a wooden barrel and wait for proper
aging -- 6 months to 6 years, depending upon desires.