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Old 11-29-2011, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default Hard Cider / Mead

So, today I started on making my own alcohol for the first time. I went down to the local grocery and started looking around for a good jug. I ran across a glass bottle of Apple Cider that was 2 quarts in size. There were some other juices there that would probably work better, but I'd rather have the glass over plastic. I also would have liked a 1 gal. jug, but they didn't have one.

I can't go to the wine or ABC store since I'm not technically 21 yet (though by the time this batch is ready, I will be) so I'm settling for standard bread yeast. Anyway, when I got home, I poured myself 3 glasses of cider, and replaced the liquid with 15 to 20oz of honey, 1 cup of sugar and of course a table spoon or so of yeast that I activated while I was sterilizing everything. If the product turns out tasting anywhere near what the cider and honey mix tasted like, it should turn out very positively.

To cap the bottle, I picked up some balloons and poked a couple holes in them with a pin. I tested the system, and the balloons will hold a positive pressure, and when you put your ear to them, you can hear a slow leak of air. So I have confidence that it will work.

I've got a large bottle of olive oil that's almost empty too, it's plastic and only 1 quart, but I may have a go with that one too, maybe just a random assortment of fruits and stuff... bananas, oranges, golden delicious apples, pineapple...



2 quart on the left, 1 gal. on the right.

I won't be wowing any vineyard owners anytime soon, but this seems like it could be really fun once I get a hang of it. Anyone else make their own alcohol? My grandparents used to do it, but they had a good supply of free fruits. Blackberries grow wild in Vancouver and they had neighbors with a plum tree who never picked the fruit. So they would trade a bottle of what they made for the rights to the plum tree. I'm told they did the same thing with the grocery stores (unfortunately for me, the store here doesn't have trouble with fruits being too ripe to sell).

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Old 11-29-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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good!! Go for it!


I've been home brewing four years now.

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Old 11-29-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
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Keep track of your recipes and post the ones that turn out well. I've got a 5 gallon batch of wildflower mead (honey wine) that I have to bottle. It really is extremely easy to make hard cider or mead - the ingredients may cost a little up front but the yield WAY more than pays for itself at the end.

For the record, I usually do about 12 pounds of honey to 5 gallons of distilled water and I use Lalvin D-47 yeast. Activate the yeast, get the water up to 80 degrees or so, mix it all together, and let the yeasty-beasties have at it in a 5 gallon bucket. After a couple weeks, they croak and you're left with sludge. Transfer that mix to a 5 gallon glass carboy and let it settle out by itself or mix bentonite in as a clarifier. Let it sit another few weeks, siphon it off into bottles, and let it sit for six months or more. (You can drink it immediately - it's pretty good. But it gets better the longer it sits.) The result is outstanding mead that you'll easily pay $20-$40/bottle for in the liquor store. Yield is about 26-27 bottles for basically the cost of the honey.

I'd like to make my own wine with my own must, but the grapes I have growing near me would only make a questionable Sangria...they're not all that hot. Wine kits are around $140 and are still a bargain for what you end up with, but that's not exactly self-sufficiency at its finest.

Thanks for sharing what you're doing and good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:04 AM   #4
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Sure will! The balloon has partially inflated, just 6 hours in now. Maybe 500 more of those and we'll have something worthwhile!

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:06 AM   #5
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Not that I'm condoning underage drinking or anything ^^^^rolls-eyes^^^^.

I have been making my own wine for several years now. I use a little more advanced technique though. I bought all my stuff at a local "old timer's" store. To this day I've made a raspberry, apple cinnamon, and a black cherry, which is currently still clearing (it's been clearing for over a year but I have continuously checked on it).

Hope yours turns out good.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:22 AM   #6
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well, my uncle has taught me many things.. how to shoot, how to skin a deer, and how to make the best wine you'll ever taste.. right now i have just shy of 400 gallons sitting. my uncle has around 700 i think. i have been his apprentice since i was little and only the last couple years really learned how to do everything myself. anywhoo... we rack our wine every six months. and add suger syrup( boil water and suger until its syrup like) depending if you want dryer or sweeter wine. i actually just bottled up 80 bottles a couple weeks ago. its great to use as a gift. and super great to sip with dinner or around a fire! as far as how many different types or flavors.. . we counted once and i think it was around 20 ish... from blueberry to rhubarb, white and red grapes, mead... and the list goes on......good luck on your new adventure. my advice is to shop around and actually get some good equipment, take notes of what you add or dont add. and everything you do for each batch.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:39 AM   #7
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If I'm to understand you correctly, you siphon off the liquid and rebottle it every six months? How come? Wouldn't 2 or 3 times be enough?

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjfuller1
i have just shy of 400 gallons sitting. my uncle has around 700 i think.
we counted once and i think it was around 20 ish...
I'm just wondering where you live. The reason I ask is because in Alabama you can't have more than 30 gallons or something like that of one type of homemade wine. Anything more than that is classified as bootlegging or illegal distribution.
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkt View Post
For the record, I usually do about 12 pounds of honey to 5 gallons of distilled water
If you have a good spring water that is infinitely better than distilled, well or city water. Distilled water has the wrong ph to make the best mead.

Also, get raw honey locally. That is the best stuff.
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkt_tater View Post
Not that I'm condoning underage drinking or anything ^^^^rolls-eyes^^^^.
I think now would be a good time to exercise my 5th amendment rights

Also, I'm originally Canadian, and you Americans have some funny ideas about drinking. That's all I have to say on that subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikingdad View Post
If you have a good spring water that is infinitely better than distilled, well or city water. Distilled water has the wrong ph to make the best mead.

Also, get raw honey locally. That is the best stuff.
What pH is that specifically?
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