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.