Linvilla Hard Cider

Sunday I ran out to Linvilla Orchards to scoop up some fresh apple cider to make a second attempt at making a hard cider.

Apple Cider

Last time I made hard cider was October of 2005. I followed some simple “rules” I found online and kind of went from there. This time I am essentially using the same “rules” + “experience”= to make a “new” hard cider. I still like the idea that hard cider should essentially be just real apple cider and yeast, that’s it. The only other thing I added was a yeast nutrient to help with fermentation. No additional sugar or spices or other bizarreness.

I bought the cider Sunday and let it sit out at room temperature all night to come up to ambient temperature. When I got to it after work it was 70 degrees, perfect. I dumped the five gallons of cider into a sanitized five gallon carboy, took a gravity reading (1.052), hit it with about 60 seconds of O2, dropped in an opened Servomyces capsule (yeast nutrient), and pitched my yeast. That was about it. Maybe 30 minutes worth of work, 60 minutes if I include the time it took to sanitize the O2 aeration stone and moving slowly. Hard cider, at least like this, is just about as easy as it gets.

Linvilla Hard Cider

Last time I used an Champagne yeast which made the cider very dry, beyond crisp. The original cider was decent for a first try, extremely crisp, tart, English cider like according to some people. But, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something with more flavor. One option would be to try and make a sweet cider like commercial American ciders, but without the capacity to force-carbonate the cider this would be dangerous. The reason it would be dangerous is the fact that the extra or additional sugar plus the yeast necessary for bottle-conditioning would lead to the possibility of exploding bottles from over carbonation, or as us homebrewers call them “bottle bombs”. So this time I figured I’d get a little crazy and use a pseudo-Belgian-style yeast with the cider, Safale-33. It could be great, it could be awful, I guess we’ll all find out together.

I’m also going to try and not age it as long as last time. Last time I bulk aged the hard cider for like nine months then bottle conditioned it for like three before serving based off of the online “rules” from before. This time, I’d love to have it on the table by Thanksgiving. Really I suppose I should be aiming for an earlier “brew” date for the cider so it could be around for Halloween and Thanksgiving time, but oh well. The biggest issue will be if the cider will clear by then or if I’ll be willing to bottle and serve it still “cloudy”. If it ferments and clears by the first week of November we’ll be looking good. Until then…

3 Responses to “Linvilla Hard Cider”

  1. ann Says:

    Please oh please oh please if I am a really good girl can I try this when you think it is ready? I’m so excited! Oh, and by the by, shame on you for being at Linville and not poping by for a visit. So close and yet so far away…

  2. Brian Says:

    “Mother may I?”
    “Yes you may.”

  3. Fool Circle - Artisanal Ales » Blog Archive » Two Ciders Says:

    […] side-by-side, but it was the last two 2005 Ciders. In the picture the one on the left is the 2007 and the one on the right the 2005. Some similarity and differences in these Ciders. Both were made […]

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