Hard Cider Tip #26: Force-Carbonating

Force Carbonating

In part III of my developing your method post, I explore carbonation and how this can impact your method for making hard cider. The method I generally use, is force-carbonating. The most common method to force-carbonate is using a kegging system. Kegging systems can come in various sizes, but 5 pound CO2 tanks and 5 … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #26: Force-Carbonating

Hard Cider Tip #25: To Sweat or Not to Sweat

Sweating Fruit

When you pick apples in Southern Arizona, whether you sweat or not isn’t often a choice. Even at cooler elevations over 5000 feet, the sun can be brutal and I often work up a good sweat gathering apples for my hard ciders. Believe it or not, apples can also sweat or at least they lose … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #25: To Sweat or Not to Sweat

Hard Cider Tip #24: Non-Fermentable Sweeteners

Sweeteners

I’ve discussed in my post on how to make sweet hard cider the use of non-fermentable sweeteners like stevia and erythritol. I generally prefer drier hard cider, but I also enjoy balance. That means if a cider has a lot of acid, having a little residual sugar can help balance it. Tannins and their bitter … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #24: Non-Fermentable Sweeteners

Hard Cider Tip #23: Reusing Yeast

Harvesting Yeast

This is the first year I have harvested my yeast for reuse. Since I splurged on some liquid yeast from White Labs and Omega, I thought it would be an interesting experiment. I also have an idea about trying to evolve a yeast using selective pressure through bottom cropping of early attenuating colonies. This also … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #23: Reusing Yeast

Hard Cider Tip #22: Sulfite and Sorbate

Sulfites

There is often a debate about the need, use, and benefit of sulfites (or sulphites if you live in many other English speaking countries) when making hard cider or even wine. Using or not using them along with sorbates can be a cause for much debate. Therefore, I wanted to explore the reasons why you … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #22: Sulfite and Sorbate

Harvesting Prickly Pears: Dangers and Rewards

Prickly Pear Harvesting

In my book, The Art & Science of Cider, I advocate for making hard cider that represents where you live. Almost every place in the world does or can grow apple trees. However, they also grow many other great fruits, flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Hard Cider is the perfect method to include and highlight these … Continue reading Harvesting Prickly Pears: Dangers and Rewards

Hard Cider Tip #21: Refractometers

Refractometer & Hard Cider

I have used a refractometer since I started making hard cider. To me, it seemed like it would be much easier to use than a standard hydrometer. I have since started using a Tilt Hydrometer, but it is completely different from how you use a standard hydrometer. I will spend a little time at the … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #21: Refractometers

Hard Cider Tip #20: Bottle Cappers

Winged Capper: Bell & Clamping Plate

As a home hard cider maker, there are a variety of ways you can package your cider. By package, I mean putting it in a container from which you intend to serve it. Surprisingly, there are a number of ways to actually package your hard cider. They have canning machines now. You can also package … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #20: Bottle Cappers

Hard Cider Tip #19: Esters

Esters & Hard Cider

There can be hundreds of compounds in your hard cider that create aromas and flavors. Esters are one of those. They are generally described as sweet or fruity. For example hexyl acetate is often thought to smell like apple. However, they can also be described as solvent, which could be ethyl acetate. Other esters can … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #19: Esters

Hard Cider Tip #18: Fusel Alcohols

Fusel Alcohols: Good or Bad?

Have you even heard someone comment about fusel alcohols or higher alcohols and wonder what they were talking about? It’s not the fuel used to power rockets to the moon. That was actually liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen, and kerosene. When yeast convert sugar into alcohol, ethanol is what most of that alcohol is. However, it … Continue reading Hard Cider Tip #18: Fusel Alcohols