If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is quickly approaching. However, those in the Southern Hemisphere are starting to think about the coming winter. Either way, it’s time to be thinking about your fall hard cider plans. You might be deciding what to do with that final batch of last year’s hard cider or maybe you are picking apples from this year’s harvest and pondering what cider you should sample when you get home. It’s never too early or late to be thinking about preparing a fall hard cider. And, nothing says fall like spiced pumpkin cider.
This hard cider recipe combines all the classic fall ingredients: apples, pumpkin, and warm spices. Yes, for my fellow Americans (and maybe others), The name is a nod of appreciation and remembrance to the great Charles M. Schulz. Maybe we should pair this hard cider with some popcorn and jelly beans! Search the internet for Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Great Pumpkin if that didn’t make any sense. Regardless, I wanted a hard cider that reminds you of fall with fresh apple and pumpkin pies. For this hard cider recipe, I assumed you either don’t have any of last years cider or are just starting to press fresh juice. The plan is to use organic store bought juice and pumpkin purée. You could easily switch that out with fresh pressed and even your own pumpkin if desired. I just thought I’d keep it simple and you could prepare this one in advance and have it ready for a long day of picking or pressing or even the holiday table.
You will get some color from the pumpkin as well as the spices, but since I ferment the pumpkin in the primary, don’t expect a bright orange hard cider when you are done. It will have more of an orange hue. As for the flavor, I think the warm spices add a level of perceive sweetness. If you want more sweetness, you can add non-fermentable sugars (see the tips for making sweet hard cider) or even pasteurize it after back sweetening and letting it carbonate . My method using kegs means that I will filter and force carbonate it. While I like my hard ciders on the dry side (very little residual sugar), I will use some organic Erythritol if I need to provide some balance to a highly acidic cider. Often the spices provide this balance for me.
Click on the link to go to the Great Pumpkin hard cider recipe or check out all my hard cider recipes in the recipe section. As always, if you have questions about adapting this recipe to your method or just aren’t sure about something, drop me a note.