Beer Style: Common Cider (27A)
Recipe Type: other
Yield: 5 gallons
This recipe won the AHA cider competition this year.
The most important thing I've found is getting fresh juice (freshness shouldn't be a problem if you're pressing your own) that tastes like apples. This is sometimes a little harder than it might sound. In Washington, the majority of apples grown are "eating" apples, rather than juice or cooking apples. The Johnagold apple juice I used didn't have sufficient apple taste, so after the sugar had fermented away, there wasn't much taste left. I put some apple taste in with the concentrates. (The current batch I'm making uses juice from Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples, but still doesn't have a strong apple taste, even before fermenting.) I'm told that blends of different types of apples work better than juice from a single type.
You might want to keep on eye (taste bud?) on the fermentation and stop it before it completes, or use a different type of yeast that won't take it so far. Mine was bone dry after three weeks, so I sweetened it up some with the lactose.
Pour cider into 3 gallon carboy with 6 crushed Campden tablets. Add yeast after two days. Ferment for three weeks at approximately 68 degrees.
Oops! That's a little too dry. Rack to keg, adding three ounces lactose. Force carbonate for two weeks.
Damn! Still doesn't taste quite right. Add some apple juice concentrate to get an apple taste.
Filter with 0.5 micron filter and force recarbonate. Bottle using counter-pressure bottle filler.