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Is this a credible recipe for cider?


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  • Is this a credible recipe for cider?

    Hi, i'm new to both these forums and wine/cider brewing, and very excited about it i'm started 'the business' with this recipe for scrumpy cider:

    3.6 kilos (8lb) Apples, any apples will do.(try and find some unused apple trees)
    9 ltrs (2 gallons) water
    28grams (1oz) root ginger
    Juice of four lemons
    some empty resealable bottles
    3.6 Kilos (8lbs) Sugar
    Step 1

    Cut up the unpeeled apples roughly with a non metallic knife. Cover with two gallons of boiling water preferably in a brewers bucket. Incidentally you must not use any metal in this recipe.

    Step 2

    Leave the mixture for two weeks, returning to crush the apples well, now and again. By now and again I guess you could get away with doing it 4 times as long as the mixture is well liquified. Be careful that mould does not form at this stage.

    Step 3

    Stick the kettle on. Strain the liquid and add the bruised root ginger, lemon juice and sugar. Give it a good stir to ensure that the sugar has dissolved.

    Add quarter of a pint of boiling water and leave the whole thing to stand again for just over a fortnight removing the scum off the top as it rises.

    Step 4

    You will need two people for this next bit. Strain into resealable bottles and screw on the tops lightly for 2 days, just to the point where they would need another half turn to fully close them.

    Step 5

    Ok so you have waited almost five weeks, now tighten the stoppers and keep in a cool, dark and most importantly, dry place for two months.

    I've done some research on the subject, and I understand that there are natural yeasts in apples and the air. However, most recipes call for a fermentation lock, for covering the bucket, and for yeast. I like this recipe (and have started it; I'm currently on step 1, having started it 3 hours ago - I now have a load of chopped apples soaking in warm water in a bucket in my utility room ), but can anyone fill in the gaps that may have been missed in it? ie. the conditions I should keep the bucket in/should I cover it/do anything else to keep mould out? And will this recipe actually produce cider? I'd rather not start all over again - ingredients cost quite a lot to a first year uni student

    Looking forward to the end results, however shambolic they may be

  • #2
    Hello and welcome to the vine audition. I have private messaged you a link that should help answer all your questions on cider and wine making.

    To be honest, I have made cider this year under more strict conditions than you have planned and I am still not certain of the outcome. However, if the ingredients haven't cost anything then the trial and error means you have nothing to lose apart from the time you spend at it. I would recommend covering the fermenting bin with something - even a clean teatowel - to keep flies out.
    Happy Gardening,


    • #3
      If you want to use the natural yeasts in the apple I think that'll be fine - just keep the bucket covered as shirl says, and I'd suggest putting it where the temperature doesn't fluctuate too much, like the bottom of an airing cupboard or such. Let us know how it turns out!

      Dwell simply ~ love richly


      • #4
        Basically you need to keep everything really clean. I would cover the bucket with a teatowel or muslin to keep flies (and fruitflies) out. As for yeast, I know most fruits have a certain amount of wild yeast present, but I've never relied on this. Haven't made cider before but used to make lots of wine and always bought yeast. Good luck, let us know how it goes.


        • #5
          I believe the problem with wild yeasts is their tolerance of alcohol isn't high. This may not matter for cider but if you're making wine you want it with a bit of ooomph! Eventually your alcohol kills the yeast but you want it to go on for as long as possible. This is why special wine yeast were selected (and why people don't just use bakers' yeast.)
          Whoever plants a garden believes in the future.

 Updated March 9th - Spring


          • #6
            OH and I tried making cider with water added (as opposed to just juicing the apples) and it was an unqualified disaster...
            Try reading this thread for some good links to cider-making websites
            Last edited by SarzWix; 30-10-2007, 12:41 PM.


            • #7
              could work but ???

              Adding water will not make your cider fail it will just taste less of apples, about 2/3 less in your recipe. You can use stainless steel to cut up the apples and steel will be a lot sharper than other alternatives and will not taint the product.
              The brewers bucket should have a lid so keep it on, it must be covered or it will end in tears. It would have been better to wash the apples in a weak steralising solution to kill the natural yeast then rinse, though the natural yeast could support cider strength fermentation, but uncontrolled. The fermentation on the apple mash should really be started with a good brewing yeast.
              No need to scoop of the scum as it will settle after brewing, better to leave the lid on. Personally I would not put into bottles untill the ferment had stopped and I could control the final addition, level tea spoon of sugar per pint then close hard and leave warm for a week then cool three weeks.
              Please do not take any of this as critisism, great that you are trying and hope it goes well.


              • #8
                Yes but beware!

                Back in 1987 I too was a poor student when the great storm flattened Kent, including the orchard at the house where I lived. Sensing an opportunity for cheap booze I consulted an old Westcountry recipe book (purchased for 5p at a jumble sale) which contained the very same recipe. The resulting brew which I fermented untill dry was bottled up in 1 ltr flip top Pelican lager bottles (from a beer run to France on a Sun 1 special).
                All I can say is that at the time I was a heavy drinker (special brew being my tipple of choice) but I don't think I ever managed much more than 1 or 2 bottles of that home brew! It was like drinking apple juice, but soon you noticed your legs not working properly and it was as if the drink had been spiked!
                I'm making it again this year for the first time in nearly 20 years but will be drinking it a bit more responsibly than I did back then! Enjoy!


                • #9

                  I've been making cider for a couple of years now. And by far the best way i find is to wash the apples then use a bucket and paint stirrer to chop up them up. ( next year i hope to make a small electric apple scratter) Then press them, I made one of these YouTube - MY fruit press.
                  Next step is to fill a demi or bucket, important, leave as little air as possible. Fit a long tube instead of a bubbler. Put the end of the tube in a bucket of water. All the foam and scummy stuff will fill the tube and into the bucket. It's like a bubbler but on a larger scale. Leave it for 2-3 weeks or until fermentation stops. I don't use any particular apple, last year i had more cookers than eating apples, had to leave it a year before it was drinkable, but it's now some of the best tasting cider i've ever made. Took some camping with me the other week and gave some to my neighbours. Said it was better than shop bought cider

                  No need to add any other ingredients, apples contain everything you need.

                  Also, cleanliness is important.


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't call it cider if it had water and sugar added, but then I am a bit prejudiced about that sort of thing. Cider is fermented apple juice.
                    Flowers come in too many colours to see the world in black-and-white.


                    • #11
                      4 weeks ago I used the basic principles of this recipe while omitting the ginger and lemon and using roughly 5 times the ratio of apples to water. I first chopped the apples then 2 weeks after commencing I used a stick blender to roughly break down the apples further. I have used 2x 5 gallon brewing buckets with lids which where both full to begin with. After leaving the brew another week I then scooped out the floating pulp and squeezed the hell out of it using an old clean pillowcase and added the liquid back in. This left me with a total of 8 gallons of liquid. This was one week ago. As soon as I completed that I added 3kg of brown sugar to each 4 gallon alongside a packet of Champagne yeast to each barrel. I have simply used the bucket lids with 3 sides tight and one side slack to help release gasses. So far it is smelling and tasting wonderful and I am expecting the alcohol content to be about 8%. I do not want anything to go wrong know.
                      Any advice on how to look after it to completion and what are the chances of it being spoiled and turning to Vinegar? How do I complete the process up to bottling?
                      Last edited by geordiecolin; 07-11-2013, 11:28 PM.


                      • #12
                        It will be dry, suspect very dry, and to get to 8% will not take the yeast long, would expect a matter of a few days.
                        You really should put a air lock on them.
                        I would suspect that the mix will cease fermenting before it has cleared. The concern being if you wait for it to clear air may get at it. But not waiting for it to clear means residue in the bottles.

                        Unsure how much flavour the brown sugar will add, depends on how dark it was.

                        What is the intention for the final product?
                        Still or sparkling?

                        Flat would mean adding a stabiliser. You would need to rack off the clear liquid, (too much to filter ?). Then kill off the yeast, a champagne yeast at 8% will restart fermentation at the slightest hint of sugar unless it is dead. Normal is a good teaspoon of Sodium Metabisulphate/Potassium Sorbate per gallon.

                        If sparkling then rack, put into pressure bottles and add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and slap the tops on. It would still come out dry as a bone. For sparkling normal wine bottles are no good they will very likely explode - would trust all the pressure ones to be 100% OK either.

                        Little unsure if what you will get at the end will be considered a cider or a lowish alcohol apple wine, is there a position where they change places? The use of the sugar and champagne yeast would make me consider it, or treat it, as a wine.


                        • #13
                          Reply to Kirk

                          I have never brewed anything before so I am a real beginner. I simply found myself with bags of apples from the garden and nearby so thought I would make some use of them. I have no demi john, so I can not use an air lock and the 5 gallon tubs are too wide for to fit a balloon lock on,unless I can locate 2 Elephant condoms quickly?
                          My intent is to just have drinkable cider,be it flat or sparkling. I have borrowed an old barrel which has the old soda siphon bubble type thing. One of the two barrels I am using as a tap near the bottom too. Will that help extract clear Cider ?
                          After a week the brew seems to still be bubbling away and the hydromiter is bobbing up at 4% in one batch and 3% in the other. Could my brews have fermented much naturally during the first few weeks prior to adding the sugar,yeast as I did not take a Hydro reading until last week once I had clear liquid?
                          I have just bought Campden tablets to add once I think it has finished brewing. Will that be all I need to add and to it for a finished product?
                          Thank you for your helpful reply
                          PS. It smells and tastes beautiful ( as of yesterday) and resembles Peaches more than Apple Cider
                          Last edited by geordiecolin; 08-11-2013, 06:23 PM.


                          • #14
                            A quick update on how I am getting on and any advice is welcome. One fermenting bin ( Not barrels as I stated earlier) is ready and I added the required amount of Campden tablets 2 days ago. The other has at least a few days to go it seems before all of the sugar is converted. The one thats advanced is still bubbling. Is that normal? It also tastes pretty dry and has an aftertaste,is that normal for this stage? I have just filtered the brew. How long should I leave it before bottling? Oh and the still fermenting bucket tastes so much sweeter than the more advanced one. Could this be a signal that the advanced one is a bad lot?


                            • #15
                              Highly recommend this book for beginner cider-makers. It was our bible to begin with



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