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Beer Style: Common Cider
Recipe Type: other
Yield: 5 US gallons
I've read a lot of cider recipes, and tried a few. This is easier than most, and better tasting than all I've tried. I've also never had a failed batch, and I've made it countless times. I've even brewed a scaled-down 1-gallon batch in a hotel room with no equipment - not even an airlock.
First, let me say that fresh apple cider (unless you press it yourself) is almost *always* pasteurized, usually by ultraviolet light. So I see no real need for boiling anything, which keeps you from setting the pectin in the juice such that it will never clear. I've never once had a problem with wild yeast or bacterial contamination.
Just pour the fresh cider, thawed concentrate, and yeast nutrient into a sterile primary fermentation bucket, agitate for oxygenation, then pitch yeast according to package directions. Seal and add airlock. Wait til noticeable fermentation stops - usually around a week. The champagne yeast will clean out residual sugar til it's just about at 1.000.
At that point, siphon off to another container. The cider will be around 8% ABV, but it will be very thin and way too dry. Use more thawed apple juice concentrate to sweeten it up and prime it. I typically use another 5-6 cans. This will give it a good balance of sweetness while preserving the unadulterated apple flavor. No secondary fermentation necessary.
I bottle it immediately and allow it to carbonate at room temperature. Time varies. Easy trick to knowing when it's ready is to bottle at least some of it in one or more sterile recycled plastic soda bottles. When they're as hard as an unopened soda from the store, the whole batch is carbonated and ready to drink. There will be quite a bit of residual sugar, so refrigeration *is* necessary unless you pasteurize it. Three days in the fridge and it will clarify quite nicely. I've not yet ever had any last long enough to worry about lingering fermentation bursting a bottle :)
Source: Michael Phillips