Making Hard Cider

Making Hard Cider

Brian Williams

  1. Obtain Apples, Grind and Press

Wash the apples and cut out any bad parts

Grind, press and strain juice (cider) into a container. Beer making stores rent the grinder and press, if you don’t have one.

We typically get about 8 gallons of juice from a couple of bushels of apples. We do mix some pears and quince if we have some. The variety of apple will effect the quality of the cider.

You can legally make 100 gallons of cider per person, 200 per household.

  1. Pour juice into clean fermenting container, such as a 5 gallon glass carboy ($35)

Measure the sugar level in the juice with a hydrometer and record the result.

(Note: A five gallon carboy is heavy. Put it into milk crate to make it easier to carry.)

  1. Add yeast, such as ale yeast, to the juice

Proof the yeast, ale ($5) or other wine yeast, and mix it into the juice. (Get yeast from a beer supply store) Record the date, variety of apples, type of yeast, and hygrometer reading on a label for the container and in your cider log book.

  1. Put on an air lock ($3) and let this sit in a cool dark place until it stops bubbling, 1 to 2 months. Usually rack this into a second fermentation container to keep the cider off the lees.
  2. Rack off the cider into bottles after about 6 months

Measure the sugar level again with a hydrometer and record the result. (usually 1) Comparing this to the original reading will tell you how much alcohol is in the cider. (Difference X 131.25 = per cent AL by Vol)

One carboy will fill about 50 12 oz bottles ($15/case of 24) or about 24 22 oz ($14 case of 12)

Sterilize the bottles (upside down in a canning kettle, for instance)

Siphon the cider into the bottles being careful not to siphon any lees at the bottom of the fermenting container. If you want some fizz, put .5 teaspoon of sugar into each bottle after you fill it.

  1. Cap and store

Get bottles, caps and capping equipment from a beer supply store. Label the box with info and the bottle with the date. Enter the information into your cider log.

  1. Wash everything
  2. Equipment list
  3. Apple grinder and press
  4. Fermentation container, such as carboy
  5. Yeast
  6. Bottles, caps, and capper
  7. Siphon hose (and some way to keep the hose off the bottom of the container)
  8. Hydrometer
  9. Brushes for washing the container
  10. Resources


Rocky Top Homebrew Supplies

1617 Harrison Ave, NW



Weston Fruit and Apple Press


Simply Cider Presses


  1. Numbers


40 apples = 20 pounds = 1 gallon juice

2 bushels apples = 100 lbs = 5 – 7 gallons juice

1 gallon juice = 10 12 oz bottles

1 bushel = 1.2 cu ft