Cider is easy and fun to brew! Technically, Cider in the English sense is alcoholic. In these amber waves of grains (millet hopefully!) we have to qualify it as hard cider. Because I’m lazy, I’ll just call it cider but I mean the alcoholic type.
Cider is a great gluten free drink to brew. You can just use any cheap apple juice as your base, though if you can afford it real cider makes a tremendous difference in both taste and body to the drink. Since I operate on a fairly tight budget, I usually use cheap apple juice.
Cider is a great base that is wonderful on its own (apple juice + sugar + yeast) but is also something which you can build on for complex flavors.
A few cider terms I’ll reference in my posts:
- Stabilize–except for my dry-hopped cider I prefer some sweetness to remain. This means I need to stop the yeast from eating all of the sugar. A combination of potassium sorbate and campden tablets will do the trick of stopping more fermentation. This is known as stabilizing.
- Backsweetening–usually the yeast will eat most of the “apple” flavor along with the sugar. A can of apple juice concentrate (or two) for a five gallon batch can return the cider to a state that is delicious.