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First Time Cider

Classification: cider, hard cider

Source: Eric Schweikert (, HBD Issue #1590, 11/28/94

I've had really outstanding luck with a recipe out of a wine-making book, which I thought I'd include here. Some of the ingredients are wine-specific, but I found them all in my local brew shop.

Ingredients: (for 5 gallons)


Mix all but yeast and nutrient, wait one day for sulphites to dissipate. Pitch yeast. Champagne yeast will give you dry cider, ale yeast a sweeter cider (which I prefer). Ferment to completion, rack to carboy, age one month, bottle with 3/4 cups corn or brown sugar (try using 1 litre PET bottles).

For best results, use the second set of ingreds. to make a starter mixture with 0.5 cups sugar in 1 cup boiled water on the first day and pitch the lot the second day.

For most predictable (sp?) sweet cider results, use champagne yeast. When complete and aged, add sulphite to kill the yeast, add 10+ oz Wine Conditioner for sweetnes (to taste), filter, and sparkle with CO2. (too much work for me)

With champagne yeast this goes to completion rather fast (<1 week). Note that with ale yeast you're fermenting close to the yeast's alc tolerance (this finishes at quite low FG), so fermentation may go on slowly for quite some time (2+ weeks).

Unlike beer, this gets _much_ better over time (it's apple wine, I guess). My 2-year-old first batch is really great now, even though it tasted sort of yeast-y at first. I'd wait at least a month before drinking, though you may want to open a few early for the holidays.