As you may have seen from my Twitter and Facebook stream, I have decided to “cook up” a batch of hard cider to celebrate the season. During our recent visit to the UK, we were both reminded how much we love the cider that is available in every pub, so I thought this was a perfect project.
I got a lot of information from these posts over at The Paupered Chef blog.
- How to make hard apple cider
- The Final Word (for now) on Homemade Hard Cider
To the right is a picture of my fermenting setup. (Click photos to enlarge) The wonderful folks over at the Home Wine Beer Cheesemaking shop in Woodland Hills suggested I keep the process around 60 degrees while it fermented, so I came up with this jury-rigged setup using our picnic cooler and some ice packs. Setting the coolor on end allowed me to account for the height of the airlock and stopper on top of the jug and the ice pack keeps it nice and cool. I swap out the ice pack about once a day. It isn’t designed to cool the juice, just keep the ambient temperature in the right range.
In this next picture, you can see the air lock close up. This devices allows the CO2 gas generated by the yeast to escape while keeping any contaminants out. Mold and fungi our your biggest threats so this is a very necessary part of the rig. That said, the yeast and the air lock only cost $2.59 at the store mentioned above, so making your own cider is, so far, a pretty cheap experiment.
You place a small amount of water in the bottom of the airlock and then, as the gas collects, it floats the center portion up. Once enough gas collects, there are vents along the bottom of that center portion that allows the CO2 to “burp” out.
Total cost so far:
1 gallon Whole Foods Apple Juice in glass carboy jug – $6.99
Yeast and Airlock – $2.59
I let you know how it all turns out in a future post.
Bubbles forming as hard cider ferments
Air lock on hard cider fermenter does its thing