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What's Brewing?

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Hard cider, that's what.

5 gallons Louisburg Cider Mill pasteurized cider

2 pounds brown sugar

3 teaspoons yeast food

2 teaspoons pectic enzyme

Wyeast 4766 liquid yeast culture

All the equipment (carboy, funnel, fermentation lock, wine thief) gets a hot soapy cleaning and a thorough rinsing. Then it's washed again with a water/bleach solution and another thorough rinsing. Brown sugar, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and 1 gallon of the cider goes into the 5-gallon carboy. Shake it to get it dissolved and aerate the cider. Then add the remaining 4 gallons and stir it to combine. Draw off a sample and check the specific gravity. This came in at 1.058, which is a potential alcohol of around 7.25%. This will ferment for a week or so before the next step.

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I grew to love ciders while I was in England. Go for it Ness!

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Less than 12 hours in, and it is taking off. The foam is almost up into the fermentation lock, which could expose it to air and possible contamination, so I took it off and replaced it with a blow-by tube submerged in water. It'll settle down into a slower ferment in a couple days.

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This is so awesome. I love Ciders.

Me too. I love seeing all the different types in the stores now. Some are way too sweet for me, and some are pretty tart. But they've got a nice crisp, clean flavor that's really darn good. Making hard cider is the easiest way to get into home brewing. More to come.

By the way, by the time I was walking out the door for work -- about a half hour after that last picture -- the foam had collapsed back down the neck.

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I'm going to end up with carbonated, bottled cider, which is more complicated. I'll go into more details as I go along.

For a basic cider, just let it ferment until it stops -- about 1 to 2 weeks. Give it another few weeks for the yeast to settle out. Then siphon off the sediment into a new container. You could still get some additional fermentation, so you don't want to store it in sealed containers or bottles until you're sure it's done. It's gonna be pretty dry, and you might want to splash a little fresh cider into the glass and then top it off with the hard.

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