Home Brewing Cider

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by JHUNSY, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. JHUNSY

    JHUNSY Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2013
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    Des Moines, IA
    Well I have recently discovered an interest in the likes of home brewing, but more specifically home brewing cider. From everything I have read and seen it appears to be a good starter route and a rewarding hobby to dive into. I figure I will give it a go and let the motorcycle sit on the back burner until I get more money (having the funds of a college student sucks).

    I was hoping to get some advice and recommendations from anyone here who has had a go at it. Would it be better to piece things individually or begin with a kit? If individually, what all would be necessary to get started. I have checked out a few books from the Iowa State Library and searched through previous threads here which lead to someone referring to HomeBrewTalk, which looks like a good option but I am not liking their forum layout over there and figured any resources would be of help so why not ask some fellow Cyclones?

    TIA and go easy on me (I am a complete noob here). Also wondering if anyone here has checked out Beer Crazy in Urbandale? It appears to be the only decent home brew store in the DSM area online that I can find.

    Cheers
     
  2. lionnusmb

    lionnusmb Member

    Dec 31, 2008
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    Ankeny, IA
    A new homebrew store opened up in ankeny called c&s in uptown. They are very friendly. Although they do not have the selection beer crazy does, they are very inviting. I have never brewed cider but brew beer from grain about once or twice a month.

    I would tell you to piece everything from scratch. Feel free to be a shade tree brewer and make a point of making good brew as cheaply as possible. A kit is going to mark up the price about double. Get things from craigslist, yard sales and menards whenever possible. Do search engine searches whenever possible and find projects that you can do that are in your wheelhouse.

    doing things on a shoestring budget is going to be so much more rewarding than just buying a kit. Trust me, save where you can because this hobby is a rabbit hole where you can go as deep as you want and will always find that it keeps going deeper.
     
  3. CYvilEng

    CYvilEng Member

    Aug 20, 2012
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    As someone who did the same thing as you, I'd recommend just going to beer crazy and tell them what you want to do. Tell them you don't want a big investment up front and they'll tell you what to get minimum.

    Here's what I recommend to start assuming you are starting with nothing and want to do 1 gallon batch to start.

    Buy apple juice in 1 glass jugs then you get the jug to brew in.
    Get a hydrometer and graduated cylinder to test the specific gravity.
    Airlock and rubber stopper. Bring a jug with you to get the right size.
    An auto siphon is very handy esp if you are going to age in secondary. In the beginning I used it for bottling until I got my bottling bucket which was a very nice addition.
    If you're bottling get a spring tip bottle filler and bottle caps.
    To bottle carbonate you'll need to either backsweeten with sugar or add priming tabs to each bottle.
    Yeast nutrient is beneficial to prevent "rhino farts."
    Dextrose is corn sugar that won't leave taste behind. You can use white or brown sugar if you want.
    I use Nottingham and s-05 yeast. I prefer the notty though.
     
  4. dmclone

    dmclone Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    #4 dmclone, Apr 14, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
    If your interested in saving money, I have everything you need to homebrew for 1/2 the price you'd pay. I've used the equipment 5 times.


    btw I've have made this stuff twice and its turned out great and just gets better as it ages. Very very easy to make

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/edworts-apfelwein-33986/
     
  5. dmclone

    dmclone Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    [TABLE="width: 345"]
    [TR]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Megapot w/guage and ball valve[/TD]
    [TD]$170[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Stir plate[/TD]
    [TD]$49[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Flask 2000ml[/TD]
    [TD]$23[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Glass Carboy 6 gallon[/TD]
    [TD]$35[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Carboy Brush[/TD]
    [TD]$5[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Wort Chiller[/TD]
    [TD]$39[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Auto Siphon[/TD]
    [TD]$13[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Racking Tube[/TD]
    [TD]$12[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]5/16â€￾ siphon tubing[/TD]
    [TD]$5[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Refractometer[/TD]
    [TD]$49[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Beer thief[/TD]
    [TD]$15[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Thermometer[/TD]
    [TD]$10[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Bayou Burner[/TD]
    [TD]$50[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Star San[/TD]
    [TD]$10[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]28" Plastic Spoon[/TD]
    [TD]$5[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Bottling Bucket 6.5 gallon[/TD]
    [TD]$15[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Bung, airlock, temp guage,etc[/TD]
    [TD]$20[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Funnel[/TD]
    [TD]$10[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Bottle Capper[/TD]
    [TD]$10[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]About 50 bottles with 1/2 bombers[/TD]
    [TD]$10[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    $550 and I'd let it go for $250. No piecing out.
     
  6. bugs4cy

    bugs4cy Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    Another thumbs up for Beer Crazy. We jumped into the fray this fall with cider. Recently bottled the hard cider, but letting the meads hand loose for awhile.
     
  7. rdtindsm

    rdtindsm Member

    Jan 30, 2008
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    Look into kvass. A russian drink made by fermenting rye, often just rye toast, for a couple days. It is sold on the streets as a soft drink. The alcohol content is negligible because of short fermentation and because yeast only make alcohol in anaerobic fermentation. Just creates carbon dioxide and a fizzy drink. Easy to do and fun to experiment with.

    If you research the web, many links will be about making kvass with lacto-bacillis fermentation (yogurt organisms). Same process used to make sauerkraut. Will confess that I just made some sauerkraut that came out well.
     
  8. JHUNSY

    JHUNSY Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2013
    2,597
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    Des Moines, IA
    Thanks for the responses! I'll probably end up checking out Beer Crazy like you guys recommended and reading up a bit more. I must admit I am surprised at the lack of Cyclone Fanatics who don't home brew (figured there must have been more?).

    Also what do you guys think of this as an alternative following the bottling? http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/
     
  9. BKLYNCyclone

    BKLYNCyclone Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2007
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    Twin Cities, MN
    dmclone's kit is great for the price, FYI. If you ever want to venture into beer brewing from cider, that's a pretty smart way to start out.

    That being said, if you're doing cider, you really only need a few things. You can brew in glass jugs, but I'd spend the $35 or so and get a 5 or 6 gallon carboy. This way you can buy cheap plastic jugs of apple juice, and make 5 gallons at a time. After that, you just need a racking cane, bottling wand (get the spring tip), tubing, bottling bucket, bottle capper, bottles, & caps. Menards carries food grade 5 gallon buckets, and most home brew shops will sell you the valve the bottling buckets have separately for fairly cheap. You'll save a bit of money if you go this route, but it'll be a 5 gallon bucket instead of a 6.5 gallon.

    Last, just go ahead and get the Star-san sanitizer. It lasts forever, and is great because it doesn't leave off flavors and doesn't have to be rinsed. I usually make a 2-3 gallon batch, shake it in the carboy/bucket, and let the foam do it's thing.

    Recipe-wise I use Red Star Montrachet yeast, brown sugar, 100% apple juice and lots of time (8 months). Doing a variation right now where I did 1/5 cranberry juice so will have a cranapple version for thanksgiving. Also, been adding frozen apple juice concentrate on occasion to provide a sweet rather than dry cider. I keg, and use a keezer, so I don't have to worry about bottling or bottle bombs.

    Good luck. It only takes 30-60 minutes to do a batch or two of this, including clean up. However everything I've read is that the cider really comes into its prime after 8 months of fermentation so allow what you can for that and be patient. If you bottle, you can just hold back bottles as it will continue to condition at room temp.
     
  10. CYvilEng

    CYvilEng Member

    Aug 20, 2012
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    Des Moines
    You must do something to the yeast if you add more sugar at the end. You can bottle pasteurize to kill the yeast, cold crash to suspend the yeast but you can't let it warm up again, or add potassium sorbate(i think) to stop the yeast from multiplying.

    I normally bottle pasteurize. If I let them get too carbonated I'll just store them in the fridge bc heating an over carbed bottle scares me.
     
  11. intrepid27

    intrepid27 Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2006
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    Marion, IA
    I expect some samples on Sunday.
     
  12. dcxme1183

    dcxme1183 Member

    Feb 1, 2010
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    I will say the smartest thing I ever did was switch over to kegging. I don't really have the patience for bottling.
     
  13. gharris

    gharris Member

    Apr 13, 2006
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    Columbia, SC
  14. dcxme1183

    dcxme1183 Member

    Feb 1, 2010
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    Minneapolis
    I always have one line dedicated to cider at home, but lately I've been getting sick of it. Dry hopping has helped to keep me going. (It also helps you learn hop characteristics when you limit it to a single hop). If you're using store-bought apple juice or cider, I'd also recommend mixing brands, or even better when you can, apple varieties. I find single juice ciders can be a bit one dimensional.
     
  15. Clonefan94

    Clonefan94 Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2006
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    Schaumburg, IL
    I've never made a cider, but I would suggest signing up over at http://www.homebrewtalk.com/. I see a couple of links to there already, but this site can't be stressed enough. There is a huge wealth of information over there for all things brewing. Also a lot of great recipes in their recipe forum.
     
  16. ripvdub

    ripvdub Well-Known Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    7,680
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    Sk-Ankeny
    I started brewing this summer and been working so much overtime that I don't have time for all grain batches. Maybe I'll try and throw a cider batch together. I'm going to go spend some cash on a new carboy(s) and a corny keg.
     
  17. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2012
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    Johnston
    I want to try a cider also, but I'm a keg-guy also.

    The bottle pasteurizing looks easy enough. Just don't burn yourself :twitcy:
     
  18. isukendall

    isukendall Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Fort Collins, CO
    I recommend doing the EdWort Aplefwein recipe for starters. I have one of these going all of the time, or at least a variation of it. All you really need to do this is a bucket, an airlock, apple juice/cider, and yeast. And whatever you need for bottling/kegging.

    Check out the homebrewtalk megathread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/man-i-love-apfelwein-14860/
     
  19. dmclone

    dmclone Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2006
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    I've done this recipe twice and it turns out great. If anyone wants to try it around the Des Moines area, I have a few bottles I'm willing to part with if you want to try it out. I'm not big into this type of drink but my wife loves it and it's pretty strong stuff. I think it's around 10abv if I remember correctly.
     
  20. colbycheese

    colbycheese Well-Known Member

    If you use Groupon or Living Social, you can get deals every few months or so for $160 starter kits from Midwest Brewing for around $70. That's one heck of a deal.

    Also, keep your eye out on Craigslist for people selling homebrewing supplies. Some people go crazy with it, then get bored with it real quick. That's the best way to get awesome deals.

    Several friends and I have made a lot of batches of hard cider. To be honest, there's usually no difference between using fresh-pressed cider, and just fermenting a couple of gallons of Mott's apple juice... honestly! I go to Costco, buy a 6-jug pack of Mott's Apple Juice (with no preservatives) pour it into a disinfected carboy, pitch it with yeast, and let it go. For less than $25 you can have 6 gallons of alcoholic goodness. I've also experimented with the Mott's juice and added cinnamon sticks to the fermentor, as well as various frozen juice concentrates - all with good success. I recommend using sparkling wine dry yeast for your cider.

    Good luck!
     

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