How to brew hard cider

Traditionally Hard Cider was brewed using the wild yeasts already present in unpasteurized cider, the problem with this is the results were very unpredictable. The recipe below uses a campden tablet to kill the wild yeasts and then we add in Champagne yeast for a more predictable result.

My grandfather suggested that the next batch I make to include a package of raisins into the mix while it ferments. He said this adds a great flavor to the hard cider. He should know as hard cider was much more popular in his generation. Have any of you home-brewers out there heard of this? He said his father would place cider into an oaken wine barrel and pour an obscene amount of raisins into the barrel and let it sit until it became hard.


The below items are “per gallon”
1/3 lb sugar
Please checkout this resource for converting to cups
In this case it is 2/3 cup approximately (per pound). I used raw organic sugar.

1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
1/2 tsp Energizer
1 campden tablet

Yeast is “per batch”
1 pkg Champ. Yeast

  1. Put juice in primary fermentor
  2. Add campden tablets and pectic enzyme immediately
  3. Stir in all other ingredients except for the yeast
  4. Cover primary fermentor
  5. Wait 24 hours
  6. Add yeast and recover primary fermentor
  7. Stir Daily
  8. check gravity after 3 days up till 5 days. Look for a gravity of 1.040
  9. Move to secondary fermentor siphon off the sediment – if you have only one fermentor then put into a temporary 5 gallon bucket (ordinary one from hardware store) clean the primary and then move back to the primary
  10. Attach Air-lock
  11. Lets sit for 3 weeks and look for gravity of 1.00
  12. Add 1/4 cup of dissolved sugar per gallon of cider and then bottle it

To make wine

At step 11 siphon off to another clean secondary fermentor. Let sit for additional 2 months. Siphon again if necessary, wine should start to become clear before bottling.

Adventures in Home brewing

  • First of all I hate most commercially brewed hard ciders such as “wood chuck” however I really enjoyed my own brew, and not just due to the sense of satisfaction that comes along with having done it myself. It is legit.
  • When I emailed my uncle the recipe I accidentally forgot the forward slash in “1/2” and sent him instead “12”. He got to 8 tsp of energizer and decided something was rotten in Denmark. I called the home-brew supply store and they said his brew should be fine, but more dry than normal. I don’t know the results of his brew yet as he is out of the country.
  • I added more sugar than the above recipe called for when I bottled my cider. I’m not sure if that is why my cider has become super carbonated. When I shot the video the carbonation was perfect, however by now it takes me almost a full 10 minutes to open one bottle.
  • I gave away a bottle to my business partner Keith at Savvior Technology Solutions and gave him a warning that there might be a bit of extra carbonation. At this point I wasn’t aware of how bad the problem was, when he opened the bottle it proceeded to explode like champagne after a Super Bowl victory and painted his desk, which included many bills to be mailed out. Looks like the corporate Amex bill is getting paid covered in hard cider residue.