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How to Make Hard Cider (Gluten Free)

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As we mentioned in a couple previous posts, while at the AHA National Homebrewers Conference in Philly last month, we attended a seminar on cider-making. Though we had never brewed a cider before, we do enjoy drinking them and figured this would be a good way to dip our toes in the apple juice, as the saying goes. We were quite encouraged by the relatively low initial equipment investment compared to home brewing (all we had to purchase was a 5 gallon fermenter, a couple airlocks and carboys) so we decided to give it a shot. The entire process took about 3-4 weeks and our cider is now sitting in several growlers, packed up and ready to be served at the North Fork Craft Beer, Wine & BBQ Festival tomorrow. We separated our 5 gallon batch into 5 carboys so we could  experiment and flavor them all a bit differently: stock apple, fresh cherries, fresh cherries + vanilla + spice, cider spices: clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc and the wildcard, ras al hanout, which is a North African spice blend. Be sure to stop by the LIBME table tomorrow and give one (or all 5) a try and let us know what you think. Below is a bit of a picture tutorial on the process but if you have any questions please feel free to comment, E-mail, Tweet or just track us down and ask.

 

 

 

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Where it all began…NHC seminar on cider

 

 

 

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Saison yeast used in brewing (part of our NHC gift bag)

 

 

 

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Sanitizing, one of the most important steps

 

 

 

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How we keep it clean

 

 

 

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Our fermenter taking a quick shower

 

 

 

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The main ingredient

 

 

 

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Boiling water to rehydrate our yeast

 

 

 

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Apple juice going into the fermenter

 

 

 

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Apple juice. Or is it…

 

 

 

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So easy, even your pet can get involved

 

 

 

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Taking water temperature before we add yeast

 

 

 

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Yeast + water

 

 

 

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Our fermenter, getting ready to do its job

 

 

 

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Yeast, not melted ice cream

 

 

 

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Multitasking

 

 

 

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Taking the temperature while stirring. Multitasking round 2

 

 

 

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Now we wait…

 

 

 

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And wait some more

 

 

 

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After a week, it’s flavoring time

 

 

 

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Cherries cut and ready to go

 

 

 

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Warning: you will wind up with red fingers

 

 

 

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Carboys that will soon house our cider + additions

 

 

 

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Spice additions

 

 

 

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Sanitizing once again

 

 

 

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Into the carboy go the cherries

 

 

 

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Ready to be topped with cider

 

 

 

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Extreme closeup

 

 

 

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Racking cider into the carboys

 

 

 

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There it goes…

 

 

 

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Almost full…

 

 

 

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Cider science experiment

 

 

 

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Enjoying a little time in the sun before hitting the cellar

 

 

 

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Geez, we liked it better outside

 

 

 

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Two weeks later, time to move into growlers (or a keg, if you choose)

 

 

 

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Our “keg”

 

Written by A+K

August 9th, 2013 at 3:42 am

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