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Mike's Hard Cider Recipe

I've been making a Hard Cider for parties for a few years now, and it's always a hit with the non-beer drinkers aka girlfriends & wives of my friends who come over.  It's usually on the sweeter side due to the back-sweetening, but you can control that based on how much concentrate you add.  If you want something a little more dry, go with one can only.  I typically use two cans of concentrate because I'm not looking to win any BJCP competitions, and that's the way most of the non-beer drinkers like it.  NOTE:  If you do not have the ability to keg your cider, you will not be able to make a sweet & carbonated version.  You can either have a dry & carbonated bottled cider, or a still (no carbonation) sweet cider.  The potassium sorbate prevents yeast growth, which is needed when bottle-conditioning the cider.

   

"Brewing" Process

Ingredients

  5 Gallons Apple Cider (Cub Foods Brand, Indian Summer - cheap stuff)
         make sure it doesn't have any potassium sorbate
  2 lbs Light or Dark Brown Sugar
  2 cans of Apple Juice Concentrate (to keg)
  Dry Ale Yeast (I've used US-05, S04, Nottingham - it doesn't really matter)

 

Mix & Ferment
  Sanitize fermenter of your choice
  Add Brown Sugar to the fermenter
  Pour Apple Cider over the sugar which will mix it up and aerate
  Add Yeast
  Ferment until done (usually goes to 1.000 or a little higher)
  Sanitize secondary fermenter
  Add 2.5 tsp of Potassium Sorbate to prevent further yeast growth
  Rack cider on top of Potassium Sorbate and any other flavorings you wish to add (fruit, spices, etc.)
  Let it sit for a week or two

Kegging
  Sanitize a keg
  If you got frozen concentrate, heat that in a pot on the stove until it's slightly warm and pour it in the bottom of the keg
           If you got non-frozen concentrate, just pour it into the keg
  Rack the cider on top of the concentrate
  Hit the keg with 30psi to seal the lid and vent headspace

I've had this cider on tap as short as 4 weeks, but I usually wait about 6. That's from start to finish, not aging in the keg. You can play around with different concentrates to get the level of sweetness that you want. Be careful with this stuff around guests, especially if they've already been drinking. It typically weighs in at around 7.5% ABV, so it can sneak up on them pretty quickly.

 


Contact Information:  MikeYoungHB at gmail.com


 
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