Articles Comments

The Beer Circle » Brew It Yourself » Novice Homebrewer: My First Cider – Tasting & Bottling

Novice Homebrewer: My First Cider – Tasting & Bottling

Roughly two weeks ago, I wrote about a sudden inspiration to attempt to brew my own hard cider.  I worked with what I had available to me –  a couple of Mr. Beer fermenters and a spare growler I had laying around – very much winging the whole thing.

After a relatively easy “brew day”, the concoction bubbled away rather furiously for a little over a week before finally settling down.  As fermentation slowed, the airlock on the growler revealed to to me a slight overpressure within, which then eventually subsided.  After two weeks, I decided that the time was finally right – it was time to bottle the Mr. Beer batches, and drink (hooray!) the growler batch.  I removed the bung, airlock, and sealed the cap of the growler. I set the finished product outside in the cool November night to settle the yeast down for drinking the next day.  Then, I poured.

Here Goes Nothing.

Here Goes Nothing.

I was wonderfully surprised!  It poured very clear, despite originating from a yeast-containing vessel.  The yeast cake stayed nicely at the bottom, which I appreciated, because I certainly didn’t want to drink any of that.

The juice-batch apfelwein from the growler that came out had a distinctly boozy, dry taste, but not offensive in any way.  It tasted a lot like a still, dry Strongbow.  As it wasn’t bottle-conditioned, there wasn’t much in the way of carbonation, but the process did impart a light fizziness to the taste.  Letting the product carbonate in bottles will increase this, but in the growler’s case, I wasn’t trying to create a cider grenade.

I’m happy about my choice to use brown sugar vs. corn sugar for the brew.  Corn sugar is more completely fermentable, allowing the yeast to simply eat all the sweetness present in the brew.  Brown sugar contains some unfermentable elements, which is what I think gave this its pleasant amount of minimal, balanced sweetness.  I don’t have any way of measuring the ABV of this brew, but the tongue/brain hydrometer would take a stab at somewhere around 6%.

After enjoying the fruits of the growler batch, it was time to bottle the Mr. Beer sets.  I added two teaspoons of brown sugar to each bottle prior to filling and definitely did not get it all over the counter in the process, in an attempt to give the brew something to work with in carbonating (and slightly boosting the ABV of) the end product.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As for my next experiment, I plan on throwing a fresh batch of juice on top of the old yeast cake.  This stuff was so tasty, I want to see if I can’t wake those guys up again.  Stay tuned for the next installment, where we open a bottle of the Juice and Cider batches, and see how those turned out after bottle conditioning!

Last updated by at .

Written by Garrett Miller

Garrett brings a somewhat different perspective on beer to the table. While always thrilled to try any new, exotic brew that finds itself his way, Garrett finds that he's often quite satisfied with reliable, common craft choices. As such, Garrett is a fan of trying and reviewing these (admittedly less expensive) beers, and using them to introduce the exciting, flavorful world of craft beer to those not-yet-acquainted. Garrett’s favorite styles are IPAs and bourbon stouts, but won’t turn his nose up at anything. Find Garrett Miller on Google Plus

Filed under: Brew It Yourself · Tags: , , ,