Hard Cider / Mead

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by tCan, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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    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...

    [​IMG]

    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).
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    good!! Go for it!


    I've been home brewing four years now.
     

  3. bkt

    bkt New Member

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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.
     
  4. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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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!
     
  5. bkt_tater

    bkt_tater New Member

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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.
     
  6. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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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.
     
  7. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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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?
     
  8. bkt_tater

    bkt_tater New Member

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    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.
     
  9. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    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.
     
  10. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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    I think now would be a good time to exercise my 5th amendment rights :p

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

    What pH is that specifically?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  11. bkt_tater

    bkt_tater New Member

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    Why do you think I should plea the 5th?
     
  12. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    Yes, raw honey tends to be tastier than pasteurized stuff. I'll give spring water a whirl. I've always been a little leery of bottled "spring" water...it's not clear to me it didn't come from someone's tap somewhere. :) I'm trying to avoid chlorine and other chemicals that would inhibit the yeast.
     
  13. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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    Read that again. My 5th rights.

    It's all jokes anyway.
     
  14. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    here is some advice from a fellow homebrewer.

    The glass jug that came with the juice is not a good idea to ferment in. I doubt there is enough headspace in it to handle the fermentation of a cider. If you are going to use a jug that small then you should use a blow off tube, take a tube put 1 side in the top of the jug and put the other in a bucket of sanitizer and water or vodka. That way the foam will go out the tube into the bucket not on your ceiling. you will also need a secong jug to rack the cider into after it is done fermenting. After fermentation is complete there will be a lot of crap at the bottom of the jug, think dead yeast and yeast poop, you do not want to leave the cider on top of that.

    Also when it is all finished you will want to back sweeten the cider. What you use to back sweeten depends on if you want it carbonated or not. For your first cider I would recommend not trying to carb it. So after you bottle it add some fresh cider to sweeten it up a little bit. You will want to put it in the fridge immediately so that the yeast will stop. If you do not you will have a bottle bomb and that **** sucks. cider is really sticky and a pain in the ass to get off the walls and ceiling.

    I would not expect anything tasting to good using bread yeast. but it will be a good learning experience. My first batch of beer got dumped because it tasted like garbage...all 5 gallons of it. but since then I have made amazing beer, cider and lemonade.

    If you plan on brewing in the future I would recommend getting a couple carboys or fermenting buckets, a few airlocks and a racking cane thats about all you will need besides sanitizer.

    HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community. is a great forum for info on anything to do with brewing
     
  15. fmj

    fmj New Member

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    I have a new found love of lemonade. Country time to be exact. I have even taken to mixing vodka with it. Been thinking about finding some lemon flavored vodka for mixing with my country time.

    The point to this is...can i make a hard lemonade that tastes like country time? If so, i might just be tempted to get into home brewing. (just what i need, ANOTHER expensive hobby! as if trout fishing, deer hunting, reloading and shooting arent enough)
     
  16. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    If it's got sugar in it, chances are you can find a yeast that will thrive in it. The acid in lemonade may be too much for many strains of yeast; do some google searches to see what yeast might work.
     
  17. tCan

    tCan Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I've got about 4 inches between the top of the jug and the cider. It's not really fermenting vigorously, I'll probably have to let it go for 3 weeks. There is only a small ring of foam around the edges. Hopefully it won't be a problem.
     
  18. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    our law here states 200 gallons per drinking age person living in the residence


    just found this.. sorry about your luck

    "Today under federal law any household (in most states, one exception being Alabama) can produce up to 200 gallons of wine per person within a household."

    Read more: Homemade Wine Prohibitions | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5431821_homemade-wine-prohibitions.html#ixzz1fFj5Ostb
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  19. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    yea 3 times is about right sometimes. 3 x 6 =18months. depending on how sweet you want it. as the other person mentioned think dead yeast and such all sitting in the bottom. we dont want that flavor to stay in our wine. so we rack( siphon from one bottle to another) every 6 months. trying to leave as much of the sludge as possible. we also add suger syrup. it feeds the yeast, making it sweeter tasting and also having a higher alcohol content
     
  20. Jared

    Jared New Member

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    depends on what you mean by "tastes like" I would think it would be hard to get it to taste exactly like country time, but It could taste close, or at least better then country time with vodka. As far as cost goes it is not that expensive for a bare bones kit. All you need is a glass jug or food grade plastic bucket, an airlock and some sanitizer. I just bought a third fermentor from my local homebrew store for under 20.00 and its a 7.5 gallon. If you want the fancy glass carboys its going to be more expensive but if your just trying it out to see if you like it I would go with the plastic. As BKT said the acid in lemonade will kill weak yeast, I use redstar champagne yeast (about $1) if you want it sweat you will need to kill the yeast or back sweeten with splenda or another non fermentable sweetener.

    Just watch that foam it might be ok especially since it is bread yeast. Cider can violently ferment and cause a huge mess