What you need:
1 gallon apple cider or juice (does not matter which)
1 glass jug (presumably the one the cider came in)
1 packet of yeast (Fleischmann’s or Red Star or what ever)
1 package of balloons (the big latex ones you get for kids birthday parties)
2-4 cups of adjunct (this is just a fancy word for sugar to strengthen and sweeten the cider)
– adjunct is optional, apples have enough sugar to ferment
1 cap full of chlorine bleach (to sanitize you gear)
1 funnel (If you can pour carefully you don’t even need this, but it is easier)
1 stock pot big enough to hold a gallon of cider (at least 6 quarts)
1 long cooking spoon (metal or plastic NOT WOODEN)
The hardest part of the whole thing is finding the apple juice/cider that does not have sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate in it. These preservatives will kill the yeast and prevent fermentation. If you are lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods Market, their 365 store brand apple cider is free of preservative and comes in a nifty glass carboy (jug), perfect for fermenting. And don’t worry about juice or cider as far as i can tell, it is a colloquial term.
1 bung (basically a cork with a hole in it)
1 air-lock (fills the hole in the bung, hahahaha)
1 vial ale or wine yeast
1 siphon (3/8″ plastic tubing 3 feet long)
You don’t need to have any of these things, but they will make your life easier. Again if you live by a brew supply shop they will have every thing you need and more. If you don’t, but you want this stuff, NorthernBrewer.com or Leeners.com will have it.
1. Gather all your brewing supplies (hardware and software as Alton Brown would say)
2. Sanitize everything that will touch the cider after it is brewed with bleach. cap full of bleach with a couple of gallons of hot water in the kitchen sink. (jug, spoon, balloon, funnel etc,) let it sit for 20 minutes.
3. Rinse thoroughly, set aside to dry. Try not to recontaminate.
4. Pour about 12 oz of cider into a glass an set aside (you will need it later)
5. Over medium low heat, dissolve adjunct (sugar, brown sugar, honey) in remaining cider, do not allow it to get to hot or it will burn the cider (about 150º F). Let it cook for about 45 minutes. This dose a couple of things, it breaks down the the sucrose into fermentable sugars and kills any bacteria and wild yeasts.
6. Pock a small hole in the balloon with a pin.
7. Cover and allow pot to cool to about room temperature.
8. Activate 2/3 of yeast packet in warm water as per instructions on packet, add to pot (pitch)
9. Pour cider into carboy (jug). If needed top off jug with cider saved in 12 oz glass. (leave 2″ head space for fermentation)
10. Stretch balloon over mouth of jug. Set in dark, cool (not cold).
The garage or a closet on the North side of your house is a good place to stash you cider. The cider should start bubbling within a day. The balloon should inflate a little and you should see lots of tiny bubble (like champagne). There is a chance of it bubbling over so you might want to put it in a Rubbermaid container. Every week you should rack (pour it into a new container) your cider, until lees (dead yeast) stops forming on the bottom of the jug and bubbling stops. Having 2 jugs is the easiest way to do it, but you could just pour it into a pitcher and return it and the balloon to your clean/sanitize jug. Fermentation can last up to a month (especially if you use honey), but will normally only last about 2 or 3 weeks. Once fermentation stops you can drink any it any time, but the longer you wait the better it gets. Don’t worry if a little of the lees gets into the final product, the yeast is loaded with B vitamins and things that are good for the digestive track.
This is post was originally posted at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. It is copyright to the author and may not be reposted, reprinted or distributed in part or its entirety without express written permission. Links to the article can be freely shared and are very appreciated!