I decided that it was better late than never to start my first batch of hard cider. Living in the deep south, we do not have the luxury of vast apple orchards from which to press delicious and unique ciders. So I made do with Motts Natural Apple Cider, which has no preservatives or added vitamin C. It wasn’t easy to find a bottled juice that was simply “apple juice.” (Martinelli’s is another brand that makes a “nothing added” apple cider.)
I made my recipe up after reading a couple of books on the subject:
- 2 64oz bottles of apple juice
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup of sorghum molasses
- 1 tsp of acid complex powder (you can get this from most brew shops)
- 1/4 tsp of dried tannin powder (also available at brew shops)
- 1/2 a packet of Red Star Champagne yeast
- 1/4 cup of dried elderberries.
I poured the juice, sugar, molasses, acid powder, tannin powder, and elderberries into a one gallon glass carboy. Then I mixed the dried yeast in 1/2 cup of warmed apple juice to wake the buggers up. Once the yeast was bubbly, I poured half of it into the carboy.
Then I gave it all a good shake, installed the stopper and the blow-off tube, and set it in a cool, dry, dark place.
I’ll keep the blow-off tube in place for a couple of days to make sure I don’t have an over-flow. After that, I’ll install a simple airlock. The cider will ferment in the carboy for a month or so. After that I will siphon it off into primed bottles and it will complete a second fermentation in the bottle for another month or so.
Fingers crossed that it’s not too warm in the season to get a good hard cider out of this.