The Exciting Conclusion to Hard Cider Homebrew!

Our homemade hard cider, tastes like apple champagne and I'm ok with that.

Way back in September Dana got the idea to make our own hard apple cider.  There are soooo many apple trees around the Berkshires, many of them lesser know varieties of cider apples from back in the day when everyone made their own hard cider.  We discovered that the trees behind my parents house were all differnt, from bitter to floral to acidic, clearly this was someones old cider orchard.

Apples from my grandparents tree, they don't actually own the property anymore but that's just a technicality.

We picked many different trees, from my parents house, my neighbors, an angry farmer down the road and a few people who let us climb all over their back yards in exchange for a bottle when we were finished.

The Rabbit makes as excellent ladder and apple cart!

We picked over three weekends in September, with the help of friends and family, gathering enough apples to press 10 gallons of juice our first weekend.  Our friends took half and we promptly turned our 5 gallons into apple cider vinegar.  Lesson learned: you’ve got to use sulfur and yeast, not raisins and hope.  Good thing we need lots of apple cider vinegar to make our Fire Cider!

My great grandfathers apple grinder, over 150 years old and still workin' it.

We used my great grandfathers apple grinder and press, both well over 150 years old.  Dana has plans to hook the grinder up to a bike so we can grind more apples with less back breaking work next year.

After grinding a batch of apples into a pulp, Mike and Dana load the press.

After grinding a bucket full of pulp it goes into the press.  We did this many, many times.  We let the apples sit for weeks after picking the second time around to allow them to soften and sweeten, it was still hard work and way more fun that going to the gym!

Lined with cheese cloth and full of pulp the press is ready to go.

And then, we press!

And now for some sweet cider!

Becca gets the first taste, wicked good guys!

Dana checks the sugar content, it's super sweet.

We went through this process many times, making over 15 gallons that we fermented in 5 gallon food safe buckets in our back hallway for months.  We racked the cider once or twice by transferring it to different buckets.  We let the cider and the yeast we added develop for a few months.  When it was time to bottle the fermented cider we added a bit of priming sugar and then capped all our bottles, hoping that when we opened them in a month they would be bubbly and delicious!

We just finished bottleing all our cider, 3 case of champagne bottles and a whole bunch of beer bottles, about 13 gallons all together.

It says 'wicked hard cidah, guy' and it's the truth!

We haven’t had any bottle explosions and, over a month after bottling (supposedly the best flavor develops after 3 months in the bottles but we were too excited to wait any longer!) we tasted our home made hard cider.  Got to say, it’s really good, like apple champagne, oh yeah!  We’ll be having a big tasting party for everyone who helped us with our cider project in the spring when the flavor has had all the time it needs to fully develop it’s awesomeness!

Pretty to look at, bubbly and delicious!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Phoebe
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 21:38:39

    I love you both! The pictures are wonderful! Wish I could be there to try it. 🙂


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