Hard Cider

hard cider

One topic I don't believe I have talked about on Six Course Dinner is my flirtation with fermenting. (I guess the sourdough starter sort of counts.) Over the last few years, there have been many sessions of watching barley steeping in 150F water, yeast selection, and hop aroma filled nostrils. And while brewing beer is tremendously satisfying, all the boiling and sanitizing does end up making it quite a process. So as fall starts to get comfy in these parts, I was really looking forward to some more fermenting projects. This time I've decided to save a bit of time and a bit of clean up and make some hard cider, or apfelwein. I've added some spices to support the great apple cider from my local farmer's market.

5 gallons apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp allspice berries
1 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp white peppercorns
1 package Wyeast cider yeast

***If you have never brewed before or don't have carboys and airlocks I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the basic brewing process, with additional focus on sanitization. Cider and beer making both are only possible because of rigorous sanitizing of anything that might come in contact with your brew. Also, U.S. laws require that anyone fermenting beer, cider, mead, wine, or sake be 21 years old or older. You don't want the ATF coming after you, do you? Didn't think so.***

Bring 3/4 of one gallon of cider to boil and add the light brown sugar and maple syrup to dissolve. Place the remaining 1/4 gallon of cider in the freezer; you will need this when you bottle. In a pan, gently toast the spices over medium heat until fragrant, but not burned. Lightly crush in a mortar and pestle. Add to the boiling mixture and cook for five minutes. REmove from heat, cover, and let it return to room temperature.

In your sanitized carboy, pour in your now cooled and sugar/spice laden cider. Pour two more gallons of cider on top of this. Pitch your activated yeast. Pour remaining two gallons of cider into carboy to help aerate the entire batch. Seal with a sanitized airlock. Ferment for at least four weeks.

One month later, remove the cider from the freezer. Let it thaw and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and cover, letting the cider come down to room temperature. Put in another sanitized bottling bucket or carboy. Through a sanitized siphon, move the cider into the bottling bucket. Bottle in sanitized bottles and wait a week or two for the subtle carbonation to take place. Enjoy slightly chilled and preferably outside.


Brian Daley said...

What's the purpose of saving/freezing the 1/4 gallon of cider? Thanks-

P H I L said...

i could have explained this a little better, sorry. by adding the unfermented cider back in before bottling, you are giving the yeast a little extra bit of sugar to feed on. as the yeast feed they will release CO2, which we recognize as carbonation. the purpose of freezing is to save some of the cider for the month long fermentation time. i bring it back to a boil just as a little extra insurance that no bacteria may have made that cider their home. it must be cooled back down to room temperature as not to be too hot as to kill off the yeast. hope this helps!

Evan said...

Sally and I are making this tonight!

ashleynorth//thewanderous said...

this sounds just divine. yay fall and yay alcohol!