Friday, October 31, 2008

Apple Cider Brewing

In honor of Halloween and all the festivities... I thought I would write a little about my cider that is brewing.

A couple of weeks ago we went to the apple festival at the Portland Nursery and bought 6 gallons of fresh pressed cider. We drank two of them :)After dragging them to Tim's place on foot (we borrowed one of the nurseries wagons to cart the cider home) the brewing process began.
First the cider was boiled with honey and ginger and champagne yeast. After sterilizing all the bits and pieces, the cooked cider was cooled and transfered into the carboy and left to settle. Tim has a fun little tiny apartment on Hawthorne that has an old bachelor kitchen with new appliances. There is a spot in his cupboards that must have been an old "ice-box" (you know, pre-refrigerator kinda thing)that perfectly fits the carboy with the air-lock on top. You can close the door to this cup-board and not have to smell the funk at all! Its so perfect!

For the first week or two this concoction bubbled and stirred like mad!
It was a yeasty dance going on inside that carboy. Kinda crazy. Its calmed down quite a bit now. In the next few weeks it will settle a lot, all the sediment gathering at the bottom.Believe it or not - but this will go clear in the next few weeks, by the time we drink it there will be no color left at all.

Hard cider is pretty easy to make if you have all the brewing equipment around. It just takes a bit more patience than normal beer brewing. In a month or so we will separate the brewed liquid from the sediment and then let it sit some more (although Tim thinks we could simply skip this step and go straight to bottling and let there be a little sediment in the bottle, I wrinkle my nose at this). Then once its clear we mix with more honey and bottle. This added honey will allow the cider to carbonate in the bottles. I like fizzy hard cider, non fizzy is an option, you just skip the last step and simply bottle.

I've done this once before. Starting in October when the apple cider is fresh here in Oregon and then popping open the bottles in May for my birthday. So its a long fermentation process, much longer than beer. Supposedly the longer you let it sit the better it tastes. Honestly the first time I made it, the stuff turned out like moon-shine! It didn't taste like the store-bought stuff either, it wasn't sweet at all, more like a wine than the cider I was expecting... but my oh my it was good!

We are making a honey ginger hard cider. Yummy. The cider itself (non-alcoholic style) is delicious, so I can hardly imagine what it will taste like when its done!

Happy Halloween!



Amanda said...

Oh goodness, this is so exciting!! I've never had homebrewed cider before!

Can I trade you a bottle of my mead for a bottle of your cider? I'll be bottling the mead soon, and it should theoretically age for about a year. It doesn't have to, but it really is so much better!

Leah said...

for shizzle girl! that sounds like a plan!