Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cider... the counterbrew way...

So this weekend I'm not brewing.  Nope, not brewing, bottling.  4 batches. Yup, two 2.25 gallon batches and 2 five gallon batches.

Well OK,  you all know me... you know I am brewing something.   I have to, it is my relaxation in the storm that is my life.  But I'm not brewing beer. I'm making cider.  Something I haven't done for years.   Sparkling cider is one of my favorite home brew fermentables.

UPDATE:  I just couldn't help myself.  I am brewing a Centennial Blonde.

CIDER: Here is how I do it.

1 gallon of pasteurized apple cider.  (no preservatives except ascorbic acid)
.5 tsp pectic enzyme
.5 lbs of corn sugar
.5 tsp wine tannin
2.5 g of Nottingham ale yeast.
As you can see from the photo above, I use a folded paper plate to put the ingredients into the carboy.

This will ferment fast.   I made 2 gallons.  I aerated the heck out of them by shaking them for 5 Minutes each.  That is sufficient for Cider. Cider hasn't been boiled. So there is still a lot of o2.  The sugars are simple the yeast will thrive.

Day 4 bubbling away
One will be sparkling, the other will be still.  The still version will be ready in a week to 10 days. To make it ferment faster I gently swirl in the first couple of days.   Keeping the yeast in suspension.  I stop swirling at high krausen.   This cider is only 1.060. And will finish at about 1.014.  For the still version I'll bottle in wine bottles and call it good.  For the sparkling version I'll bottle with carbonation tablets and let it get good and fizzy.

That's it. It is that easy. Of course you have to sanitize everything.  But if you are creative, you can just go get an airlock that will fit the apple cider container, that your cider came in.

UPDATE -  Day 11  The cider is still bubbling away.  But very very slowly now.  I used Nottingham Ale yeast rather than cider yeast or a wine yeast.  I think that is why it is taking longer than normal.  On the plus side, it should also be sweeter than a cider made with a wine or champagne yeast.  


  1. Very nice. I made my daughter a cider for her birthday, using Danstar Belle Saison yeast. It turned out good, but could be better...which I'm sure it will be now that it's apple season in VA. I'm also going to try something from NorthernBrewer on the next batch...dry hop with 1/2 oz of Jarrylo.

  2. Hey man - Just popping by to say that this post, in particular, inspired me to give cider a go. I now have a gallon of cider and an apfelwein fermenting as of ~2 weeks ago. Both received 1/2 lb of Belgian candy sugar and Safale S-04 in one, S-05 in another. The apfelwein was racked to secondary with wine yeast with 3/4 cup of raw honey. Things are bubbling along nicely. This one will take another month or more before it's done.

    Oh, and I thoroughly appreciate the blog, and have also done partial/specialty grains with extract in the past using the LBK. Years ago. Now I'm doing the whole nano-scale counter-brewing in 1-gal. jugs. It's perfect for my needs ATM, since I just like playing around with something new every month or so. Larger batches take more time, and cause fermentation temps/storage concerns for me here in the south.

    Keep it comin' ;)