Although beer is my love, I also enjoy wine, a mixed drink and some good old fashioned hard cider. I have made apple wines, and dry ciders but what I really like is a semi sweet cider. From what I have read Woodchuck's Cider in the bottle has a gravity of about 1.028. That is really sweet! My dry ciders that are fermented with wine or champagne yeast finish around 1.000, maybe a little higher.
So with Winter hopefully winding down soon I wanted to make a semi sweet cider that would be ready to be put on tap in about 6 weeks. Like anything else, ciders are as easy or as hard as you want to make them. I have tried my fare share and have tasted great examples of both. For this recipe I went very simple. Apple juice, champagne yeast, apple juice concentrate, and potassium sorbate. Thats it! Believe it or not, it tastes extremely similar to Woodchuck.
Step one: Buy 100% apple juice or apple cider that has no preservitives in it. (I usually make 3-5 gallons)
Step two: Sanitize a carboy and funnel. (You don't really have to have much head space because you don't get a krausen.)
Step three: Pour half of each jug of juice into the carboy and recap them so that you can shake the rest to aeriate. Shake the carboy to aeriate the other half. Pour the rest in from the jugs.
Step four: Pitch some Champagne yeast or wine yeast.
Step five: Wait a month. (Ya I know it sucks)
Step six: Add potassium sorbate to kill off the yeast. How much to add depends on how much you are making. If you want it dry, you don't need to add this, just bottle or keg as is.
Step seven: Backsweeten with cans of apple juice concentrate. This gives you the flexability of getting it to the sweetness you enjoy. I will probably bring this one back to about 1.018.
Step eight: Keg and enjoy.
Side note: Once you add the potassium sorbate and kill off the yeast you will not be able to carbonate this in a bottle. This may be obvious but I figured I would throw it in anyways.
If you want it to be sweet and bottle it AND have it carbonated you will just have to sweeten each glass you pour, seven up works great.
If I only knew how easy this is to make while I was in high school.....
Simple Hard Apple Cider
Made 3 gallons 2/11/11