How to Make Hard Cider

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How to Make Hard Cider

Making hard cider is relatively simple: you start with some juice, add some sugar and yeast and then let it ferment. If you’ve got the time, hard cider homebrewing is the perfect Fall hobby! Here’s what you need:


1 Gallon of Juice (Fresh pressed or store bought juice will work as long as the juice does not contain Potassium Sorbate or Sodium Benzoate.)

Additional Sugars (if desired. Most juice will ferment to 4%-6% AVB without additional sugars.
Adding additional sugar to the juice will boost the ABV.) The following will boost you alcohol by approximately 1% for a 1 gallon batch:

3 oz Honey
2.2 oz Table Sugar (White or Brown)
2.7 oz Belgian Candi Sugar
2.2 oz Dextrose (Corn Sugar)

Yeast (Check the alcohol tolerance of the yeast strain you are using, and be sure to add only the appropriate amount of sugar to stay within that range. Most yeast strains fall somewhere between 11%-18% ABV. We recommend trying a champagne yeast).

Pectic Enzyme (aids in clearing pectin haze) ½ tsp per gallon.

Campden Tablet (Optional. Add ½ crushed tablet per gallon of fresh cider and let sit for 24 hours before adding the yeast. This will kill any wild yeast that may be present. Not necessary for store bought juice.)



Primary Fermentation


1. Mix up sanitizer and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with the juice.

2. If adding additional sugars, heat up a small amount of the juice to dissolve the sugar and add to sanitized fermenter.

3. Dissolve the pectic enzyme in a small amount of juice and add to the fermenter.

4. Add the remaining juice to the fermenter.

5. Sprinkle the yeast in the fermenter once the juice is below 75° F.

6. Close the lid and fill the airlock to the line with water.

7. Allow the cider to ferment for at least 1-3 weeks at room temperature before transferring (racking) to the secondary.


Secondary Fermentation


1. Sanitize all equipment.

2. Practice the following steps with sanitizer, until you’re confident to siphon the cider.


3. Move the bucket to a table or other elevated surface. It’s best to do this 48 hours in advance so that any yeast that gets kicked up has time to settle.

4. Place the gallon jug lower than the bucket for an efficient siphon.

5. Put the tubing end of the siphon into the jug and lower the siphon halfway into the bucket.

6. Gently pump the auto-siphon 2-3 times to start the siphon.

7. Carefully lower the siphon into the bottom of the bucket to finish siphoning, being careful not to stir, agitate, or disturb the bottom sediment in any way.

8. Place and airlock and stopper on the jug and let sit for another 2-4 weeks.




1. Cider can be served with or without carbonation (sparkling or still).

2. For sparkling cider you will need to add some additional sugar at bottling in order to carbonate. You will be aiming for approximately 2.5 volumes of co2.

3. An online priming sugar calculator can be found here 

4. Carbonation drops may be used instead of weighing out sugar.

5. Be sure to choose the appropriate bottle for carbonation. Cappable beer bottles, swing top bottles, and P.E.T. soda bottles will work. For still cider you can also use wine bottles or any bottle with a tight sealing lid.

6. If carbonating, dissolve sugar in a small amount of water and add to sanitized bucket.

7. Siphon cider into bucket - this will allow the sugar to mix with the cider.

8. Having someone help you at bottling time will make things easier.

9. Place siphon tube into the bottom of a sanitized bottle, and start siphon.

10. When the cider reaches the top of the bottle, stop the siphon by pinching and holding the siphon tube (you can also purchase a siphon clip, which will simplify the process).

11. Remove the siphon tube (keep it pinched shut) and proceed to the next bottle.

12. There will be some headspace in the bottle after you remove the siphon tube. Every bottle should have approximately 1 inch between liquid and closure.

13. If your last bottle is not fully filled, drink that now as your reward for all of your hard work. Too much extra headspace in the bottle will cause the cider to oxidize.

14. Once all bottles are filled, cap/seal them and store them at room temperature for 2 weeks to carbonate.

15. If serving still you can chill and serve immediately.


For any additional questions, or refills on ingredients or replacement equipment, you can reach us during normal business hours or email us at [email protected].


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