How to make hard cider


Walk into any brewing store with the intention to brew up a batch of beer and the employees will be knowledgeable about the process, they will be able to help you select the correct equipment and find one of the MANY pre-built kits that fits you taste and skill level.

However, if you walk in and say you want to brew up a batch of hard cider and you will get a blank look or some vague idea's of how to do it, you will have to take guesses on what to do when because there won't be any kits.  Basically you will be on your own.

However, don't give up hope, I have been working to prefect my process, and I hope to share it here in enough detail for you to be able to brew up a delicious batch of hard cider in no time (And by no time I mean 2-3 years!).  My method is different than you will see in any of the brewing books or most of the online resources I have come across.

I prefer to brew my hard cider using very old methods that have been around for centuries, the taste is a little bit unpredictable, but that adds to the excitement.  As a general rule, my cider tastes like a dry white wine.  I have never done an actual test on the alcohol content, but I estimate it at 5%-8% depending on the batch.

Something I would like to make note of up front, most instructions you will read elsewhere have you drinking your hard cider within 2 weeks to a month from when you start.  You can do that if you really want to, but its not going to taste very good.  So far in my experience, the longer it sits, the better it will taste.  I know its no fun waiting, but trust me, its worth it.  In the beginning you can do what I did, make a batch and drink half of it within a couple months, and set the other half aside for a year.  By always setting aside some, you will build up a stock of aged cider in no time, then soon, you will never need to drink the newer stuff as you will always have older cider ready.

Please view my slideshow below for the details, when you click on the pictures there will be text below them that have more details on the process.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me using the "Contact Me" link at the top of the page.

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Here is your starting point, the actual raw cider. Choose your cider wisely, if you are buying it at the supermarket, it probably won't work.
What you are looking for is raw, unpasteurized cider with no preservatives. Depending on your local laws you may have a hard time finding this, I know in Ohio and Pennsylvania it is legal to sell it this way and you can find it at roadside stands in September and October. I have a few regular places I buy mine, but a good place to start is at a local apple orchard.