Real Fermenting: 1st hard cider

Saturday, 30 October 2010

1st hard cider

This recipe couldn't be simpler (?). It comes pretty directly from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, like many of our recipes will. I cannot recommend this book too highly to you!

You buy a gallon of apple juice (AmE: apple cider) with no preservatives in it. It will probably be pasteurized. You take the lid off and cover the opening with cheesecloth, letting air (and yeast) in, but keeping bugs out. You leave it for a week. You drink.
So to re-cap:
Time: about 1 week
1. Buy apple juice.
2. Let it sit.
3. Drink.

Yeast falls in and feeds on the delicious sugars. The juice will get less sweet. The yeast also makes carbon dioxide. The juice will get frothy and effervescent. The yeast also makes alcohol. The juice will be hard, or alcoholic.
Yeast is a fungi which eats sugars and makes CO2 and alcohol as by-products of its metabolism. We also make CO2 when we metabolize sugars. Yeast is our friend. We found that if you actually just leave the cider, then mold can grow in lumps on the surface (unattractive to say the least). So we picked those out and stirred the cider twice a day or so after that. We don't currently have a way of measuring the alcoholic contents of our boozes, but I think those who partook would describe it as "deceptively strong".
For our first (drunk) attempt at alcohol, I am extremely happy. I do think we could have let it go harder still, because there were clearly still sugars remaining and the brew was clearly actively fermenting as we drank it. I had three or four 12oz glasses and felt no ill effects the morning after. No pictures for this one, as we drank it before the blog started...


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