Cider is one of the UKs most traditional and most popular drinks and with the midlands being one of the best regions for apple growing why not turn some of the surplus or unpicked apples around into cider or apple wine, and it is probably easier than you think. Not only will you be using some great fruit that would otherwise be left but think of the satisfaction of that first sip of your own delicious brew.
With just a small amount of reuseable equipment that you can use each year and our easy brewing guide below you will soon be brewing like an expert we even hire presses and crushers.
Simple guide to producing cider
Before starting ensure all equipment is cleaned and sterilised with Heart of England cleaner steriliser.
Apples should be washed before use. Crush apples with either a Quick Chop or Fruit crusher to get the right consistency of pumice to press.
Place a pressing cloth inside the press and a suitable jug or bucket depending upon the size of the press under the juice out spout of the juice collection tray before putting any pulp in the press.
Fill the press with pulp and lightly press down, topping up with pulp, making sure the basket is full to just beneath the top and then build up the presses blocks and begin to press.
The best yield of juice is obtained by the correct consistency of pulp and by a steady pressing, turn the handle down until the pressure starts to build and then press steadily letting it settle in between each turn.
Transfer the juice to a suitable fermenter for the volume. 3 gallon or more is fine in a 5 gallon wine fermenter.
A hydrometer reading can be taken at this stage and used to calculate the alcohol content if a reading is also taken at the end of fermentation.
Add a suitable yeast for the apple variety used we recommend our WobblyGob Traditional Cider yeast. Add a small dose pectolase just a small teaspoon a gallon is normally fine to make sure that any pectin is removed from the juice and a crystal clear cider is achieved. Fit airlock with water in and bung to the fermenter and allow to ferment.
Fermentation will be over when bubble no longer come through the airlock or if a hydrometer is used when a steady reading is achieved over a 3 day period.
At the end of fermentation either a still or a sparkling cider can made just use the appropriate steps below.
For a still cider
At the end of fermentation syphon the cider into another sterilised vessel of the same capacity and add per gallon 2 crushed campden tablets and 1/2 a teaspoon of potassium sorbate and mix well in. Leave for 24 to 48 hours and then shake 2 to 3 times a day for 2 days to remove the gas if preferred if a small amount of residual gas is preferred then omit this stage. Then add finings and shake or mix inn and move to a cool place to clear.
When clear syphon the cider off the sediment into another sterilised container (the original one is perfect) ready for bottling. A still cider can be bottled in to wine bottles and corked as well as flip top beer bottles or polypin (bag in box) style container.
We can supply all of these options and are happy to advise on which would suit your requirement best with regards to volumes and keeping your cider fresh.
For a sparkling cider
For a sparkling cider at the end of fermentation, as soon as you get a constant hydrometer reading (ie stays the same and is below 1.010) siphon the cider straight to glass beer bottles (we have traditional crown cap and flip top styles) or into a beer keg (king keg, cornelious keg etc). It is important to get this timing right as we need the yeast to have completed the fermentation but still be live and not dropped out. Then prime with glucose powder (or sugar) at a rate of 1/2 a teaspoon per pint bottle or to the instructions on the keg. Place in a warm position, the same temperature as the first fermentation, for 3 days for the cider to condition. This ferments this small amount of glucose to gas making a natural traditional bottle conditioned cider. Then move to a cool position to clear.
Enjoy and start your next batch.
Cider making is great fun why not have a pressing day party getting friends to all bring their apples and press out everything together and if there is any of last years brew left for sampling it is sure to be a popular day.
Chris is from Hamstead Brewing Centre and for many years produced the famous WobblyGob Cider each year making around 7000 litres. WobblyGob is no longer produced commercially but is available in a kit for brewing at home.
Hamstead Brewing Centre, 37 Newton Rd, Great Barr, Birmingham B43 6AD Tel:0121 358 6800 www.hamsteadhomebrew.co.uk
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