I’m new to this blogging thing, so I’ll kick it off with a short one.
My brother, Scott, collaborator/lead guru on this blog project, sent this link from The Paupered Chef around for making easy homemade hard cider. I’m not a brewer (yet) and figured this would be a great place to start.
The short version, since I did not deviate from their plan very much, is that you take Whole Foods apple juice in a 1 gallon glass jug, add a half-packet of yeast, put a #6 airlock stopper on top, and find a cool dark place for it to hang out for a week or 2. I lucked out and found both of the yeasts (Saflager and Pasteur Champagne) that they used so my results were quite similar.
Results: the tasters were split between the lager and champagne in terms of preference, but here’s the rough breakdown. The lager was a bit flatter, but had a good bite. Most of the sweet apple flavor was gone resulting in what I’m guessing is a stronger brew. The champagne yeast, not surprisingly, gave a very bubbly cider. In this batch, there was still a good, sweet apple flavor. The consensus here was that it was a lot like carbonated apple juice.
A couple of notes for next time. I have a buddy that has a refractometer, so I am going to try and gauge the alcohol content next time. For those that don’t know (we looked it up at our tasting party), you have to measure specific gravity before and after to measure the alcohol. Another note: my cool, dark place was my front entryway, so the temperature fluctuated a bit from 55-65; I’m going to find somewhere that’s a bit more stable and controllable.
Alright, so the morale of the story is: MAKE CIDER! For around $12 of initial investment, you can have a 1 gal. batch brewing and have hard cider that easily competes with any commercial brew in a week.
If anyone (collaborators included) has tried this with good results or improvements, let us know in the comments.