Here's an easy hard cider recipe that anyone can brew using apple juice and wine yeast. All you need is 1 gallon of apple juice or pasteurized cider, Lalvin EC-1118 yeast, funnel, 1 gallon glass jug and an airlock with #6 stopper. We also recommend using a hydrometer to calculate the original and final gravity in order to know how much alcohol is in your cider. When selecting apple juice check the Ingredients and make sure the only thing listed is Apple Juice and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
2. If you have a hydrometer take a OG gravity reading of your apple juice and write it down. If it's less than 1.050 you'll need to add some dextrose or table sugar.
3. Use a funnel and pour your apple juice into the 1 gallon glass jug. Optional: Add 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient. Apples are deficient in a few nutrients that help yeast thrive, yeast nutrient will help ensure a strong fermentation.
4. Sanitize your hand and then shake the glass jug for 20 seconds. Open your yeast pack and sprinkle about 1/5 of the pack into the glass jug. If there are clumps gently swirl the juice until you get an even coverage on the top of your apple juice.
5. Fill your air lock up to the indicated line with sanitizer and attach it to the glass jug. Let your cider sit and ferment for 2-3 weeks. Take a FG hydrometer reading before bottling to calculate your cider ABV. ABV = (OG – FG) * 131.25
You can choose to carbonate your cider or leave it as is. The easiest way to carbonate your cider is to use 1/8 cup of dextrose per gallon of cider. Dissolve the dextrose into 1/2 cup of boiled water and add it to your cider before bottling. To avoid getting sediment into your bottles transfer your cider into a clean and sanitized container before adding the dissolved dextrose and bottling. Let it sit in the bottle for about 2 weeks before popping one open.
Other options: If you want a sweeter hard cider try using Nottingham beer yeast instead of the wine yeast. Try adding 1/4 teaspoon of either malic acid or acid blend. If you want crystal clear cider add some pectic enzyme.
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