T Nation

Homebrewing Hard Cider

I decided to brew up some hard cider for the fun of it. I used the balloon method (in the link).

Whole Foods is slangin those massive 128oz jugs of apple juice, so I said what the hell… I’ve made beer once with a friend, but it was his equipment. So I decided to go TOTALLY ghetto style, lol. I put regular bread yeast in there and I put some fresh ginger in one of the jugs.

Anyway, I understand that after the yeast is done the balloon will start to deflate and that this should take 7-12 days. What I’m wondering is what kind of ABV can I expect? Also, can I finish it in the primary fermenting bottle, or is that just a waste of time? I don’t plan on bottling it as I’m doing this on the cheap. So if aging it a little a bit in the primary fermenter won’t help I’ll just drink it straight away.

Also, post your homebrewing stories…

Wooops, here is the link…

http://plaza.ufl.edu/scott28/wine.html

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Go for it dude. We made some mead out of cider and honey when I was in college. You can get some pretty potent stuff going.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
I would think you could expect about 4-5% ABV from a 2 week fermentation.

I would suggest you syphon off the finished brew, or you risk messing up the taste.

BBB[/quote]

You suppose I could use a coffee filter to get the yeast out instead? I don’t have a siphon, but I suppose I could find one in a few weeks though.

[quote]timbofirstblood wrote:
Go for it dude. We made some mead out of cider and honey when I was in college. You can get some pretty potent stuff going.[/quote]

Nice. I also did up a 2 liter of ginger and raw sugar so I’m hoping to get a nice potent ginger beer.

If this ghetto brew turns out well I’ll probably head out to the brew shop and get some proper equipment for bottling etc…

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
beebuddy wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
I would think you could expect about 4-5% ABV from a 2 week fermentation.

I would suggest you syphon off the finished brew, or you risk messing up the taste.

BBB

You suppose I could use a coffee filter to get the yeast out instead? I don’t have a siphon, but I suppose I could find one in a few weeks though.

A siphon is just a piece of tubing. You can cut a 3’ length off your garden hose, if you’re really going ‘ghetto’, lol.

BBB[/quote]

OK, so it doesn’t need a swans neck or anything. I suppose I’ve seen people siphon gas without it… I’ll give that a go then. Thanks BBB.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:

You just need to have your recepticle lower than the brewing vessel, since syphoning relies on gravity.

BBB[/quote]

Awesome, thanks dude. You do any brewing of the alcoholic variety?


wait a second!?

You need a better fermentation lock than a balloon or your results will suck. Spend a few dollars and buy a glass jug, a fermentation lock and some decent yeast. There are good cider yeasts out there – or you can use champagne yeast instead which is perfect for cider.

Try this place online. It is right down the street from my house where I get all of my brewing supplied. They can answer any questions you may have by phone or email even if you decide not to order from them.

This is a bubbler fermentation lock…don’t forget to get a ruber stopper to fit both the lock and the jug.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
wait a second!?

You need a better fermentation lock than a balloon or your results will suck. Spend a few dollars and buy a glass jug, a fermentation lock and some decent yeast. There are good cider yeasts out there – or you can use champagne yeast instead which is perfect for cider.

Try this place online. It is right down the street from my house where I get all of my brewing supplied. They can answer any questions you may have by phone or email even if you decide not to order from them.

[/quote]

Why would the results suck? The pinhole in the balloon closes when there is no gas, and when there is gas there is constantly an outflow of CO2 so no bacteria will get in.

I’m using the jugs you posted, but I’m trying to not spend any money. I’m starting a new job tomorrow so I’m considering getting a proper airlock later.

[quote]beebuddy wrote:
Why would the results suck? The pinhole in the balloon closes when there is no gas, and when there is gas there is constantly an outflow of CO2 so no bacteria will get in.
[/quote]

Ah! Didn’t realize there was a pinhole in the balloon. Still be careful and constantly watch because I find it doubtful that bacteria won’t slip thru a pin-prick even when it is deflated. Making brew is a lot like practicing safe sex…

The fermentation locks I posted would cost less than a package of balloons – not including the price of shipping.

Regular bread yeast will work but you need to make sure to start it at least a day before to grow it to a decent pitchable size colony. Be careful because sanitation is also important at this step too. Yeast are very fickle creatures.

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[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
beebuddy wrote:
Why would the results suck? The pinhole in the balloon closes when there is no gas, and when there is gas there is constantly an outflow of CO2 so no bacteria will get in.

Ah! Didn’t realize there was a pinhole in the balloon. Still be careful and constantly watch because I find it doubtful that bacteria won’t slip thru a pin-prick even when it is deflated. Making brew is a lot like practicing safe sex…

The fermentation locks I posted would cost less than a package of balloons – not including the price of shipping.

Regular bread yeast will work but you need to make sure to start it at least a day before to grow it to a decent pitchable size colony. Be careful because sanitation is also important at this step too. Yeast are very fickle creatures.
[/quote]

I was reccomended to prick the balloons first, but I forgot on one of them so here’s what I did…

The balloon was already half full of CO2 so I placed some scotch tape on it and then pricked it. It prevents the balloon from popping. It’s a cheesy parlor trick.

I noticed the airlocks at the site were cheap, what get’s me is that the fermenters are a total ripoff. I got those huge jugs filled with apple juice for 6$. I’ll reuse them too.

But yea, I’ve brewed beer successfully, but it was my buddy’s kit and I had to give it back to him. I haven’t worked in awhile and so I’m really just doing this to save money on any beer that I might buy.

My friends brother wanted to try this he’s doing

(for each gallon)

1 gallon store bought apple cider (or would juice be better)
1 pound of brown sugar
half a container of honey
1 pack activated yeast

left to sit for a few weeks. This shit won’t kill people will it? It’s supposed to be ready in like a week.

[quote]beebuddy wrote:
I decided to brew up some hard cider for the fun of it. I used the balloon method (in the link).

Whole Foods is slangin those massive 128oz jugs of apple juice, so I said what the hell… I’ve made beer once with a friend, but it was his equipment. So I decided to go TOTALLY ghetto style, lol. I put regular bread yeast in there and I put some fresh ginger in one of the jugs.

Anyway, I understand that after the yeast is done the balloon will start to deflate and that this should take 7-12 days. What I’m wondering is what kind of ABV can I expect?

Also, can I finish it in the primary fermenting bottle, or is that just a waste of time? I don’t plan on bottling it as I’m doing this on the cheap. So if aging it a little a bit in the primary fermenter won’t help I’ll just drink it straight away.

Also, post your homebrewing stories…[/quote]

this thread is made of win ::hic::

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My friends brother wanted to try this he’s doing

(for each gallon)

1 gallon store bought apple cider (or would juice be better)
1 pound of brown sugar
half a container of honey
1 pack activated yeast

left to sit for a few weeks. This shit won’t kill people will it? It’s supposed to be ready in like a week.[/quote]

It sounds like a lot of sugar, but what do I know…

It’s basically what I’m doing.

I’m a pretty avid homebrewer (beer). Basically you can make brewing as simple or as complex as your budget allows. You can make something in buckets you find behind a grocery store if you like.

You have yeast and sugar for it to consume (juice). A key point you need to stress is sterility. Make sure your fermenting vessel has been washed thoroughly…a dilute bleach solution or oxyclean is best. During the fermenting process you don’t want any competing bacteria in the vessel.