So I bought a juicer by mistake.
As you may be aware, juicers make juice. If one pours this juice into a container, pitches some yeast, and then seals it with an airlock, one has a lovely cider. This is why I bought a juicer. According to the instructions, I also have the option of drinking the juice before I ferment it, but I don’t see a reason why I would do such a thing…
So this thing is hardly top of the line, but it will get the job done. I’ve opted for the model that can fit a whole apple down the chute, just in case I want to do that. I’ve done some research on juicing – maybe if I really get into this whole cider thing I’ll discuss juicing methods at length.
I’ve looked into cider making and the process is pretty simple:
- Get/make juice. If you’re using store-bought juice, be sure there are no preservatives. Preservatives will mess with the final taste and may kill your yeast.
- Set juice on a low boil for about 15 minutes.
- Cover pot and cool the juice as quickly as possible. This can be done by placing the pot in a sink full of cold water/ice. Change the water out after 10 minutes. Ultimately you want the temperature to be below 30 degrees C (slightly warmish).
- Put juice in carboy or fermenter.
- Pitch yeast.
- Place lid and airlock.
- Magical process!
- Bottle as per beer.
- Magical process!
The whole purpose of this cider endeavor is to just play around with different fruits and see what happens, so I’ll keep you updated. I’ve already got a small batch of apple and rhubarb going in my new 5 litre carboy. I’m not going to do a full report on this one though as it was all really haphazard. If it turns out remotely OK, I’ll do a proper batch of it and give the full recipe.
I have already learned a few things:
- Apple or pear is probably your best base. Start with this for the bulk of your cider and add other things to taste. Just be careful of too much citrus, the acid may kill your yeast.
- Your local brew shop will have good quality apple or pear juice in concentrate if you want it.
- Similar to glucose, fructose, which is the main sugar in fruits, will ferment completely. If a sugar ferments completely, it won’t leave any sweetness or taste – it will all turn to alcohol.
- Fructose will break down into other non fermentable sugars if you cut the apples up and leave them to sit for about 24 hours. So if you want a dry cider, juice the apples immediately, if you want a sweet cider, cut them and let them sit.
- Just the pure juice gives a pretty good OSG (I got about 1.045). Feel free to add some glucose if you need some extra kick though, it shouldn’t alter the taste since it will ferment completely.
- Use a good wine yeast. Your brew store should be able to recommend something. Just remember, don’t use a beer yeast.
I want to do some brewing this weekend. If Mikey is available, we may do a lager similar to the big batch we did a few weeks ago, but tweaking the recipe slightly. Alternatively, if I’m able to get enough apples, I might have a play.
Then again, I haven’t discussed the prospect of Random Cider with Mikey – he may love or hate this idea, but if he loves it, we may end up making cider together.
Regardless, I’m going to start experimenting with Random Cider as time goes by.