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New England Hard Cider Recipe

All right. This Fall will mark year 3 of making hard cider and I put together a New England Hard Cider recipe.

The first year we used the old press, the second year I used unpasteurized cider from a farm, and this year, well, I don’t know where I am going to source the apples/juice but it’s all about focusing on the fermentation.

From what I have read, it’s all about fermenting cold – think lager temps not ale temps.

So, the plan is to get cider apples from a place like Poverty Lane Orchards or get farm pressed cider from Cider Hill Farm. Then, use some additional ingredients, follow some additional processes, and be patient, patient, patient.

New England Hard Cider

4 Gallons apple juice (from apples I press myself or get from a farm where they do the pressin’)
.5 pound extra light dry malt extract
.5 pound honey
.5 pound light brown sugar
.5 pound white sugar or whatever it takes to get to a starting gravity of 1.060
.5 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
2 packets of Nottingham Ale Yeast
.5 pound seedless raisins
4 ounces of American oak chips


Dissolve malt extract, honey, and brown sugar into cider. Take gravity reading. Add white sugar until 1.060 gravity reading. Treat mixture with Campden tablets and let sit for 24-36 hours in airlocked carboy or heat mixture for 20 minutes at 150°F. After either method, cool to pitching temperature of 50°F.

Pitch nutrient and hydrated yeast. Aerate well.

Ferment at 52°F (maybe even colder – Nottingham can handle 54°F but we’ll see how it performs at 52°F first) for a month to 6 weeks or until primary fermentation is finished. Boil raisins in a cup of water for a minute or so. Add raisins to carboy for 2 weeks and maintain the fermentation temperatures.  Rack cider to secondary carboy on oak chips. Age for one month at fridge temps.

Treat with Campden tablets before bottling if backsweetening is preferred. Sweet to taste with white sugar. Bottle and condition for a couple of months.

Make this hard cider in October and it will be ready in March and beyond.




Extra Special Bitter (ESB) Recipe


  1. Any thoughts on staggered nutrient additions at the beginning as if making mead?

  2. I could do that. The .5 pounds of malt extract was solution to the lack of yeast nutrients when I built the recipe.

  3. You’re probably right. The one cider I brewed two years ago was a 30% malt 70% cider thing (a Graf??) and it came out pretty good. So a little DME and a single addition of nutrient would probably work out great. No need to go mucking around with it. Keep it simple is the way to go.

  4. Randy

    What is the purpose of the raisins? Just aroma?

  5. Hi Randy,

    It’s a good question – it’s an ingredient listed in the BJCP guidelines for the style. My thoughts were maybe they add some tannins to the cider. They could impart some flavor, I guess. If I didn’t boil them, they may even introduce another yeast strain to the cider. It will be the first time I use them, so I can let you know once it’s finished what they brought to the cider.

  6. Randy

    Thanks John, I appreciate the response. I always forget to check the BJCP guidelines, until about 5 days into fermentation, but it is a very good point. I look forward to reading your results on the cider.

  7. Paige

    Hi there, I just got my cider into the secondary gallon. (I only made 1 gallon) and there is A Lot of headroom due to large amount of sediment. Its about 5 inches from where the neck narrows and 7 from the top of the jug. Should I leave it in or go ahead an move to bottles to avoid oxidation? Many thanks!

  8. Let it sit in the secondary gallon until it clears. You shouldn’t have a problem with oxidation. Once it clears, then you should bottle.

  9. Craig

    Sun dried raisons are a great source of wild yeast, so yes, this would contribute another addition of yeast to the fermentation.

  10. Thanks Craig – next year, I won’t steam them and I will just add them in to see what the wild yeasts bring to the table.

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