Somehow I've managed to brew all these years without ever making a hard cider. I decided this was the year to end that.
I started with just under 4 gallons of the Heyser Farms raw cider, made from their Spencerville Red apples. Here's what the farm has to say about this variety of apple, which they have patented:
It has a tangy flavor when first picked, then sweetens in storage. This apple is unusual because it has both a high acid and a high sugar content -- that's what gives it that distinctive and memorable flavor.
I then put just under 3 gallons in my 3-gal Better Bottle, spiked that with S-05 yeast, and set her bubbling. No pasteurization, but I did pasteurize the yeast starter and gave it a population boost at the onset.
Additionally, just under 1 gallon went into a 1-gal glass jug, spiked with some WSP-001 yeast, which is the yeast I isolated from a spontaneously fermented date wine.
Both parts are fermenting nicely after about 30 hours, with a nicer krausen actually forming on the WSP-001 than the S-05, at least so far.
This is the simplest recipe I've ever done. Fresh-pressed cider + yeast. No sugar added, no molasses, no heating/pasteurizing/etc., just chill, oxygenate, pitch. For the sake of being thorough and complete, here are the "details": Batch #1 ==================================== Ingredients: * 2.75 gallons raw Heyser Farms Spencerville Red cider, unheated and unpasteurized * 1 packet Safale's S-05 yeast Process: Dissolved yeast in 100ml of a 50/50 water/cider solution that had been pasteurized then chilled. I then placed the starter on a stir plate for a few hours until the krausen began to form. The rest of the cider was refrigerated in its original jugs until just before pitching, when I poured it into a sanitized 3-gallon Better Bottle, aerated, and pitched the entire contents of the yeast beaker. ==================================== Batch #2 ==================================== Ingredients: * 0.90 gallons raw Heyser Farms Spencerville Red cider, unheated and unpasteurized * 1 jar of WSP-001 Wild Ale yeast Process: Decanted water from jar, swirled to loosen yeast cake, and pitched into cider, which had been transferred into a sanitized 1-gallon glass jug. ====================================