Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our First Attempt at Making Hard Cider

Q got us free Gravenstein apples so we spent Sunday turning 40 lbs. of them into juice. We also juiced an additional 30 lbs. of Red Delicious that we bought. We only used about 20 lbs. of the Red in the cider recipe and have an additional 3 qts. of juice in the freezer.

So, to document our process, we ended up with 3 gallons of Gravenstein + 2 gallons of Red Delicious.
We sterilized our carboy and other equipment with sodium metabisulfite on Monday before we placed the juice, which had 5 Campden tablets dissolved in it, into the carboy. We added the airlock and waited for 36 hours for the yeast killing effects of the Campden tablets to run their course.

This morning (Wednesday), I added 5 t. of yeast nutrient, 2 1/2 t. of acid blend, and 1 pkg of Pasteur Champagne Yeast (softened according to package directions) to the must.

According to the hydrometer, the specific gravity before fermentation is 1.053, with a potential alcohol by volume of 7%. We'll see. I put the airlock on but some people suggest that at the beginning of fermentation it should just be loosely covered so it doesn't explode. I'll check on it later today and see if it seems bubbly.

Supposedly, fermentation will end in 2-3 weeks. It sounds like using 750 ml champagne bottles and adding 1 1/2 t. of sugar before stopping and covering with a wire cap will allow for carbonation. Yum. Here's hoping for the best

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