Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry


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Hard Apple Cider: Second Batch

With my first batch of cider in a recycled wine bottle for secondary fermentation, my one glass jug is suddenly empty and in need of more love.

We had bought three gallons of cider last time we went to the market. One was boiled down into syrup, one was drank outright. I was trying to make plans for the third gallon, slowly drinking a glass at a time, until it started fermenting. Every time I had a glass it was a little bit more fizzy and alcoholic. Finally I decided not to fight with nature, and realized that the decision had been made for me. Pouring the rest into my glass jug, I started my second batch of hard apple cider.

For this second batch I tried a more “complicated” recipe: To a half-gallon of already-fermenting cider I added a half-cup of brown sugar, a heaping spoonful of locally-sourced honey, and a half-teaspoon of “yeast nutrients”. The nutrients, I’m told, help the yeast to be healthier and happier, and to make a better-tasting beverage. Since the cider was already half fermented when I got to it, I clearly didn’t need to add any more yeast. This round, apparently, was going to be au naturale.

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I’ve been told that something like Pectic Enzyme and a few other additives could help precipitate some of the solids and clarify the cider. I honestly don’t care about those kinds of things at all. So long as the cider tastes good, I don’t care what it looks like (and anybody who does care doesn’t have to drink it!).

Similarly to my first batch, I’m intending to make a “still” cider (without carbonation). It will be like an apple wine, and should have much higher alcohol content than my first batch because I added so much extra sugar.

I mixed the cider up last weekend, and I expect primary fermentation to last at least another week or two. After that, I’ll give it a taste and move it somewhere to age until I think it’s ready for serious drinking.

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Hard Cider: First Batch Update

My first trial batch of hard apple cider has finished primary fermentation and has been moved to an empty wine bottle to start aging and mellowing. “Primary fermentation” is the period while the yeast are still actively converting sugar to alcohol and the mixture is producing bubbles.  This batch was an extremely simple mixture: A bottle of apple cider, some Ale yeast, and nothing else. I tasted it after primary fermentation, as I was transferring it to the new bottle, and it’s pretty good. It has a lot of tangy ale flavor, as would be expected from the choice of yeast used, but it also has a decent apple background. The alcohol content isn’t too high, but then again I didn’t add any extra sugar so there’s a limit to how high it could have gotten.

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I’ve opted for a “still” cider for my first batch, as opposed to a “sparkling” one. The difference, of course, is carbonation. This first batch is more like an apple wine than a commercial apple cider or any sort of malt beverage, and I think I like it that way.

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I’ve been told that these things get even better with age, so I’m going to let it sit for a while. In the mean time, I’ve got a second batch started that I’ll write about soon.