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Old 07-29-2014, 03:24 PM   #1
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Hard Cider

So I want to make hard cider. I am likely going to start with apple but I want pear too.

There are a couple of options for the actual juice.
  1. Buy it. Either pasteurized or not.
  2. Make it.
1. is pretty easy, and may be where I start. The downside is when it comes to pear, that becomes harder to find in gallons at any reasonable cost. This takes us to

2. This has become an interesting challenge. I want to try and not drop $400+ for a crusher and press. And I don't want to give up that kind of space. At least until I am happy with the cider and want to make a LOT of it in one go. So.......


I think I can mulch apples with the KA meat/food grinder. I tried this morning and I was cautiously happy with the results. Used a corer/segmenter thing to make manageable pieces (manageable for the throat of the grinder). Turned a few apples into mulch in a reasonable amount of time, and with someone feeding and someone using the tool it would go really quickly. So I think crushing/mulching is sorted.

The issue is pressing. I had a great idea, what looks like a cider press that I already have? Ahh.. the 5 pound LEM sausage stuffer. This is where the process fell down some. If you just drop the mulch in it pushes out like meat for sausage would. Ok, I don't have a bag, but Kathleen cut up a tea towel for other things so a square of that behind the nut for the tube and that should do it.

No. The juice bubbles up through the pressure relief valve. I can fix that too.. so I put a washer on that to "almost" close. I could hear air escaping when I cranked down. Then I started pressing and no air, no juice.

I ended with apples on the ceiling, and in my air, up the wall, up the cabinet, under the cabinet. The gasket gave and allowed a blow out. Not one that isn't cluey I backed off lickety split and minimized the shower.

I think it is time to order one of those fruit bags they use in the presses for the next go.

So, who juices their own apples? I don't want sauce (cooked). I need raw juice. I hope apples are hard that pears to do with with.

Thanks
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:12 PM   #2
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My best advice is to find someone with a cider press. A friend owns a press, we combined our apple bounties and came away with lots of juice. Be sure to save your plastic juice, pop, and milk cartons, with lids!
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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Ifn' I had found someone I wouldn't have tried alternative means...
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:02 PM   #4
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If you have a hydraulic jack you could probably rig one up and a clean pillowcase could be used to hold the pulp for squeezing.

Good luck!

Quest for Cider - experiments at building an Apple press

When I was a kid my father used to make a barrel of hard cider using half pear juice and half apples. He believed the pear juice made a smoother finished product. We picked up the windfall pears and took them to a local apple farm to be ground and pressed with apples he purchased from them. The juice was placed into a used oak whiskey barrel, purchased fresh each year. I wish I had his original formula I know he added a large amount of honey, rye whiskey, raisins and oatmeal to the barrel of juice. The honey and whiskey insured a high proof finished product, I'm not sure what the raisins and oatmeal were for. We drank the cider for the first few weeks as fresh cider, then it was allowed to get hard and eventually it became cider vinegar. The only rule that we were told was not to shake or jiggle the barrel because it would make the finished cider cloudy. Today I doubt that you could find a commercial cider maker who would custom squeeze such a small amount and sell it without additives.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:42 PM   #5
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Could ou use an electric juicer? I might be a bit long winded but......
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:06 PM   #6
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I make cider every year (below is the 8 gallons I made last fall). Unless you plan on dropping a small fortune on equipment, it's WAY easier to let someone who has the equipment do the work and just buy the raw juice. I get my juice from an orchard the next county over for $2.50 a gallon, fresh out of the press. So for the 8 gallons below, it cost roughly $25 in ingredients, including the yeast.

If you have the option, I would highly suggest using a mix of tart and sweet apples. No single variety really has all the right parameters.

You'll also need yeast. I know guys that use dedicated cider yeast but, to be honest, I've always used white wine yeast. I feel like it makes a clean drink where the aromas jump right out of the glass.

Other than that, it's pretty easy to make. You'll want to get a hydrometer (available for $7 here) to measure your sugar. Get an airlock and drilled stopper while you're at it, too. The important thing is to make sure there is enough sugar present so you end up somewhere between 5-7% alcohol.

You'll also need a suitable container. I use glass or plastic carboys. Brand new they run around $30, but there are always deals on craigslist or eBay.

I always like to see people get in the home brewing/winemaking hobby. I've been the president of our local club for the past two years. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions, or maybe even post a simple tutorial.

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Old 07-29-2014, 11:43 PM   #7
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Thanks Steve. We have most everything already from Kathleen's adventures in wine making. I am obviously starting small so I need the gallon jug. I have been planning on using Nottingham Ale yeast since I have heard good things about it. Luckily we have a brew store a few minutes from the house (we found this out a couple weeks ago).

I want something sorta sweet and fizzy.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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Dropped by the brewing store today. Got the gallon jug for the secondary (with stopper and lock), some tubing and yeast. It is likely this first batch will be bought juice (cider) if I can find it without the preservatives.

If not then I am likely crushing apples this weekend.
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Old 07-31-2014, 01:14 AM   #9
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And it is in a bucket.

I went with store bought juice (some stuff from Mom's Or....c Market) which came with its own secondary fermenter

So we are now going down the path.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:01 AM   #10
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Have you tried just freezing it...you know to make it hard...

running and hiding
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