This recipe is a for a basic sweet cider, it will ferment to about 4.5% alcohol and produce a sweet cider with a good taste that will develop well with about six months aging.
- Four litres (1 Gallon) Apple Juice
- 80g (3oz) Lactose OR 2g (1 teaspoon) wine sweeter
- Cider Yeast
- Campden tablets (if using fresh juice)
Thoroughly sterilise your cider making equipment including the fermenter, its lid and the airlock. Rinse them with fresh water and allow them to drain.
Add the apple juice to the fermenter. If you are using fresh apple juice then you should treat the juice with 1 campden tablet per gallon (4 litres) of juice. Crush the campden tablets and mix them in with the juice and allow it to stand uncovered for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step of this recipe.
If you are using lactose to sweeten the cider add it to the fermenter mixing it in thoroughly and then pitch the yeast (add the yeast to the fermenter). Place the lid on the fermenter and the airlock. Fill the airlock with water. The airlock should start to bubble in 6 to 48 hours indicating fermentation has started to take place.
Allow the cider to ferment until all the sugar in the must is consumed. This will take about 10-14 days or even longer. When the airlock is bubbling very slowly, say every minute or so fermentation is complete. Allow the cider to sit for an additional week to allow the yeast and sediments to settle to the bottom of the fermenter.
Once the cider has had time to settle it is time to rack it. Racking is the process of transferring the cider from one fermenter to another without disturbing the sediment on the bottom of the original fermenter. This dramatically reduces the amount of sediment in the cider. If you are using artificial sweeteners the time to add them is at the first racking. Sweeten the cider to taste by adding a little sweetener and then sampling the cider. The overall taste of the cider at this point will not be great to say the least so focus on the sweetness rather than the overall flavour.
Repeat the racking process at weekly or two weekly intervals until the cider is clear and you are satisfied with the level of sediment present.
Sterilise your bottles, caps and siphon then rinse them thoroughly with plain water. Bottle your cider by siphoning it into the bottles, prime with sugar (1 teaspoon sugar per 750ml cider) if carbonation is desired and then seal the bottles, storing them in a dark place at room temperature for at least 3 months before sampling. Some ciders may need up to six months or a year of aging before they taste their best.
If you are using freshly made juice that is not pasteurised or sterilized you should treat it with one campden tablet per gallon (4 litres) of juice and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours prior to pitching the yeast regardless of what the recipe states.
If you’re a big fan of cider and like to taste various types and tastes, you might like to visit Carolina Cider, that is present in North Carolina and various other locations!