The Shop: Products and Recommendations

My goal at PricklyCider.com is to help other home and craft cider makers produce superb and unique hard cider. The following are products I am offering or recommending to aid you in this process. Check out the Cider Yeast Shop to obtain unique cider yeasts that you can trial along with me. These are usually non-Saccharomyces yeast strains that offer unique aromas and performance characteristics. Note, I am not a yeast lab. I’m just trying to offer you some of the interesting yeasts that I have assessed. I propagate them like I would for my own fermentations using organic sterile apple juice and Fermaid-O. Go to the cider yeast shop to see what I currently have available.

You can also purchase my book. It’s a great reference guide for beginners or experienced cider makers. It helps you develop your method for making cider, provides useful reference tables, and provides both hard cider and food recipes to inspire your next batch and your next party.

Go to the Art & Science page to find all the ways you can purchase it or consider buying it with the following Amazon Affiliation link. This links doesn’t cost you anymore but will give me a referral commission if you use the link.

The Art & Science of Cider

Cider Supplies

You may notice that PricklyCider.com doesn’t contain advertisements. I’m not opposed to advertising but I’m not interested in promoting just any product or service. If a product or service is to be listed on PricklyCider.com, it needs to be worthy of you. Below are a list of products that I have personally purchased, actively use, and find worthy. If you are also inclined to purchase them, I hope you might consider using the following Affiliation links through Amazon. They won’t cost you anything more but they will give PricklyCider.com a referral commission if you use the link. Just click on the image or the name of the product to be taken to Amazon. Thank you in advance.

The New Cider Maker’s Handbook by Claude Joliceur: This is the only other book besides my own that I still actively use in my research. It’s a must have for any cider library.

The New Cider Maker’s Handbook

Tilt Hydrometer: They are not cheap but I love my Tilts. These are great for monitoring ciders where you want to arrest fermentation, track new yeasts you are trialing, or know when your fermentation is complete.

Torpedo Keg (2.5 Gallon): I recommend kegs, even for home cider makers. They offer the home cider maker a cost effective solution to perform processes you might think only large professional cideries could do. This size is perfect for pairing with a 3 gallon Fermonster.

Torpedo Keg (1.5 Gallon): My second favorite size of keg given it’s footprint and ability to slip into many residential refrigerators. I chose Torpedo kegs because they stack efficiently and have a wide range of sizes. The 1.5 and 2.5 gallon sizes are easily cleaned and sanitized in most kitchen sinks.

FerMonster (3 Gallon): Carboys are inexpensive fermenters, until you drop one. They are also not fun to clean. FerMonsters give you the clear sides to monitor your ferment and a wide mouth for cleaning or adding adjuncts. My only complaint is that the side walls flex so you must move them by lifting with the neck/lid.

FerMonster (1 Gallon): The perfect replacement for all your glass one gallon carboys. Just lift it by the neck/lid.

Acid Titration Kit: These are inexpensive and great for assessing the total amount of acid in your apple juice. After specific gravity, it’s the next most important measurement in truly understanding your apples.

Mixed Syringe Pack: This pack will let you convert a standard wine acid titration kit into the malic acid testing process defined in my book, which requires a 1ml and 3ml syringe.

Pectic Enzyme: I use pectic enzyme to help clarify my juice and create more fruity aromas. It will also help prevent pectin haze or the formation of pectin masses during aging. This is a great option because it comes in a sealable container for easy dosing and storage.

Yeast Nutrient: I use organic nitrogen for culturing my yeast. You should avoid inorganic yeast nutrients with diammonium phosphate (DAP) for cider. Fermaid O and Go-Ferm are both organic nitrogen yeast nutrients products. I have been using Fermaid O.

Star San Sanitizer: Star San is my favorite no-rinse sanitizer. Really, you don’t need to rinse.

One Step Cleaner: Besides getting used for cleaning bottles and kegs, this regularly gets pulled out to remove tea stains from my tea cup and odors from plastic storage dishes. It works amazing well. They can’t advertise as such in the US but in other countries it used as both a cleaner and sanitizer.

Bottle Drying Rack: This product is great. I have one rack that I use to store my used bottled prior to cleaning and two others that I use for cleaning and storing cleaned bottles. This comes with the drip tray and two racks. Remember that the racks are stackable as well. Just remember that you need to have the same bottled type in each corner. I run mine through my cleaning and sanitizing solutions to keep them in good shape and if you are storing upside down, you can keep sanitized bottle ready for filling.

Refractometer: The best way to assess sugars at the orchard and quite handy when processing apples. I even use mine for post fermentation assessments. It’s much easier for me to grab a drop of cider and use the online calculators to adjust for ethanol refraction than setup a hydrometer.

Counter Pressure Bottle Filler: Yes, there are cheaper versions but I’m not sure I would have ever figured out how to fill bottles with those other systems. The valving is intuitive and I really like having a pressure gauge on the leakage valve.

Long Neck Bottles: Your best source for bottles is getting used ones from friends and family. Simply clean and sanitize them (see above for cleaning and sanitizing products). Your next best option choice is your local brew store. However, from a price standpoint and convenience of having them delivered, Amazon if a great option. I have purchased several boxes and they arrived in good shape. Remember these use 26mm caps.

26mm Crown Caps: These are the caps most commonly found on cider and beer bottles. They work on the long neck bottles listed above. If you need 29mm crown caps that are most common for champagne bottles, scroll down a little on the page. Personally, I like black, white, or silver caps and this link is for the black caps. 500 caps may seem like a lot but that would be about 47 gallons of cider packaged in stand long neck bottles.

Grifo Bench Capper: I love my Grifo bench capper. I was initially cheap and tried those winged cappers. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. If you are going to bottle, a bench capper is the only option and this model is solid, moderately priced, and packed with features like a bell for both 26mm and 29mm caps.

29mm Crown Caps: Finding 29mm crown caps is not allows easy. This is where I usually order them. Note these are the larger caps and require a 29mm bell on your capper. These are usually found on champagne bottles and not the 26mm crown caps found on long-neck beer bottles. If you want to riddle your sparkling cider or you are like me and prefer crown caps over corks but want to use champagne bottles at times, these work great.

YDP Agar Plates: Want to explore the world of yeast. Getting some pre-poured agar plates is the best way to start. The problem can be picking ones that will work. I’ve tried the cheaper offerings and they just didn’t work. These plates have a thick bed of agar and have been great for my home culturing.

Inoculating Loops: The other key tool for yeast culturing at home are aseptic inoculating loops. This allows you to add or remove yeast colonies from plates and slants for storage or propagating. You can also use these to capture yeast from cider.

Apple Peeler: If you want to bake or dry apples, this little device is a must. But, it’s also the way I quickly create peels for using in my fermentations. Remove the corer-slicer feature and you get just the peels. This is one of my favorite kitchen and cider making tools!

Are you considering a different product? Drop me a note and I’ll let you know if I’ve tried it.

Thanks again for being part of the PricklyCider.com family. If you aren’t, follow me so you too can get interesting articles about cider regularly delivered to your inbox.

4 thoughts on “The Shop: Products and Recommendations

  1. For small batches, what do you think about just centrifugal juicing unpeeled (but cored) apples? Using a mix of Honey Crisp, Empire and Red Delicious.

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    1. I prefer a masticating type of juicer (wide mouth so you can drop in the whole apple) but I have used centrifugal juicers too. They aerate your juice a lot more so you get more browning in the juice but that also creates a lighter colored juice post fermentation.

      The Honey Crisp, Empire, and Red Delicious would be a great blend. I would peel the Red Delicious and add the peels to the fermenter for extra polyphenols.

      I just peeled, cored, and sliced about 30 Arkansas Black apples. I will add the peels to the fermenter. I juiced the apple that was peeled and cored. We took this pomace and blended it, spread it on parchment paper and are drying it as fruit leather. I saved the cores and juiced them with my whole apples to minimize waste.

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      1. I like red peels because of the color contribution they provide so the Empire apples are good for that as well. If you are running the peeler, you can alway freeze the peels and pull them out for future batches. Peels are where many of polyphenols are concentrated (along with the core).

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