Pasteurized Cider is preferred. Unpasteurized cider can be used, but may result in funky, tangy flavors.
Any apple juice or cider (or other fruit juice) can be used, but it must not contain potassium or sodium-based preservatives like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate! Acidic preservatives like citric acid are ok.
Typical cider or apple juice will give a finished product around 5% abv.
Mix 0.2 oz (1.25 tsp) of IO-Star (or Star San) with 1 gallon of cool water in the jug. This sanitizer will kill 99.99% of bacteria within 30 seconds! It foams, so we recommend filling with water first before adding sanitizer and shaking. Set aside leftover sanitizer in a pot or bucket. This can be used for up to one month.
Juice and yeast should be at room temperature before starting.
Pour cider into the jug. If using a funnel, be sure the funnel is clean (preferably sanitized)
Add 1/2 yeast packet (leftovers can be sealed with tape and put in fridge for another batch). Make sure the cider and yeast areroom temperature. Too hot or too cold will shock the yeast.
Insert airlock into rubber bung and insert into jug. Fill airlock with water to fill line (about halfway).
We recommend loosening the perforated airlock lid, in case the cider builds up too much pressure
Wait 1 week for fermentation to complete, and 1-2 weeks more for cider to clarify (2-3 weeks total)
At this point the cider has no oxygen and is safe from bacteria. Leave here until you’re ready to drink.
When ready, pour gently into pitchers or growlers. Be careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom.
Store the cider in the fridge and drink as soon as possible for maximum freshness.
If Making Sparkling Cider
Sanitize bottles with solution before filling.
Using a small funnel, pour gently into the provided 1L swing-top bottles. Fill to bottom of the neck
Add three carbonation drops to each bottle and seal the bottle.
Store at room temperature for 1-2 weeks to carbonate. Then move to fridge. Drink within 1 year.
Optional Flavoring Additions (do all before fermentation)
Dissolve 1/3 Cup brown sugar in 1 Cup heated cider before mixing with cider to boost abv by approx 1%
Honey or maple syrup are not recommended as they ferment very slowly.
Steep in heated cider before fermenting: cardamom, peppercorns, clove, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, orange peel, lemon peel.
Spike your cider with spiced rum for a nice cold weather treat.
Stevia, sucralose, monkfruit, lactose, xylitol are non-fermentable sweeteners that can be used for sweet cider. Do not add extra sugar or juice before bottling – it will re-activate the yeast and may cause an explosion!
If making cider over 8% abv we recommend adding yeast nutrient (not included) before fermentation.
Tips for Even Better Cider
There are some easy ways to make your cider even better!
Use an auto-siphon and bottle filler to transfer the cider and bottle. This will reduce oxygenation (keeping your cider fresher and tastier for longer) and reduce risk of infection.
Add pectic enzyme to unpasteurized or cold-pasteurized cider before fermentation to get crystal clear cider
Juice your own apples to get unique flavors. Beware though! You need 16 lbs of apples for 1 gallon of cider!
Freeze “distill” your cider to make applejack. Put in the freezer for 24 hours and skim off any ice chunks that form. The result will be a sweeter, stronger, more apple-y drink.