Back in October we went to our first cider pressing and came home with a gallon of fresh squeezed. If we would have had a carboy, a big 5 gallon glass bottle, we would have brought home 5 gallons easily.
We both like hard cider, a lot. We had taken a class, gone to a big tasting out in Port Townsend, but it is really a seasonal thing isn’t it? If you don’t have apples and access to a press aren’t you out of luck? Not really.
We bought some organic cider in jugs and added it to our fresh squeezed and started the fermentation process. There wasn’t much to it. A flurry of activity up front, keeping things sanitized. Ensuring that we had enough sugar to make enough alcohol to keep the cider free from bad bacteria was the hardest thing. We added some sugar to get us to 7% alcohol in the finished product. Then we sealed it and watch the carbon dioxide escape through the one way valve. We kept the fermenting cider in a utility closet that stayed uniformly 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
We racked it once. This was just siphoning off the cider and leaving the sediment in the bottom.
Then came bottling day. Actually bottling day came and went as my schedule had me coming home after 8 that week. But we earmarked a Saturday to do it. Amazingly a friend came by with a batch of finished cider. No adjustments, no sugars added to sweeten it and it was pretty good. We’ll need to keep the bottles refrigerated so they don’t blow up though.
We like a sweetish cider. Snobbishly referred to as a “Soda Pop Cider”. It isn’t like drinking a wine cooler, just a sweet edge to compliment the dry. I always think of Syrah wines in this respect. Spicy, dry, with a sweet finish if you pay attention. The ciders I like have that combination. We tasted ours, which seemed a little bland, almost watery and added a gallon of fresh cider to bring up the sugar. Residual yeast should kick in now and carbonate our bottles for us.
Bottling was a cinch. I filled and Le Femme capped. Done.
Next step, taste, and pasteurize in the bottle to kill the yeast.