Home / Beer Brewing Process / Brewing TV – Episode 67: How to Make Hard Cider

Brewing TV – Episode 67: How to Make Hard Cider

How about them apples?! In this episode of Brewing TV, we make hard cider. While both options work well, you’ll learn the differences between using fresh-pressed apple cider and store-bought cider. Chip and Northern Brewer cohort Chris Smith show you how to treat, ferment and finish hard cider. The session includes tips on back-sweetening cider as well. After watching this video you’ll be ready to start making your own hard cider at home. [Original postdate: September 7, 2012]

For more cider-making resources and useful products see:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/cider View all the great products and community at Northern Brewer America’s #1 Homebrew Supplier.


Check Also

HERMs Brewing instructions

A walk through on the basics of using a HERMs system (Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash) ...


  1. NinjaGibsonRockstar

    what about other flavors like cherry cider ??

  2. call it still cider here in uk , no bubbles ,when poured its still

  3. 223 years ago today, “The Dreadful Night” occurred in Western Pennsylvania, after an uprising called The Whiskey Rebellion.

    The United States was brand new. Soldiers who had fought for independence from Great Britain found themselves on opposite sides of a skirmish. Some were having their rights violated practically before the ink was dry on the Bill of Rights. Other Veterans of the Revolution were doing the oppressing at Alexander Hamilton’s behest.

    The Whiskey Rebellion saw farmers stand up to an unfair tax handed down by the federal government, and the government responded with the force of a monarchy. It may have all sprung from Alexander Hamilton’s desire for glory. Or Hamilton, the first Secretary of Treasury, may have had other motives for setting the precedent of force which still lives on today.

    It all started after the Revolution, in 1791, when the federal government was in debt, and had no official money. The notes they paid to soldiers were worth fractions of what was promised, but many had no choice but to accept the funds and go home in order to try to survive.

    But the soldiers were not the only ones who needed to be paid after the war. There were a number of rich investors and bankers who had provided the capital needed to win the Revolution. They too were awaiting repayment.

    Alexander Hamilton had a better relationship with these financiers than with the soldiers. Hamilton was one of the leading banking figures of the time. He proposed a tax which would have two purposes. The tax would raise the revenue necessary to pay back the wealthy financiers of the Revolution. But the tax would also bring under the jurisdiction of the federal government a group of pioneers living in rural western Pennsylvania. The tax was to be levied on the production of whiskey, and not just at a commercial level. Everyone who made whiskey owed the tax. This would be the first federal tax on domestic goods.

    This was a problem for the people of western Pennsylvania. Most people in this area used whiskey as a currency. Whatever surplus grain a family had would be converted into whiskey in order to preserve it. Whiskey would still have the calories of grain and was drank by almost everyone. It could be used for preserving and making some medicines.

    Whiskey didn’t spoil, was widely used, and easy to transport. This made it an ideal currency. No need for banks, no need for paper money the worth of which can be manipulated. These people had tangible goods with intrinsic value absent of government mandate.

    But Alexander Hamilton and the federal government insisted that the tax on whiskey be paid in coin.

    For western Pennsylvanians, this amounted to an income tax. But even worse, now they had to find a way to convert their whiskey into coin. They had no use for coin since they used whiskey as a currency. But now the federal government would require them to use more time and effort just to pay the tax.

    But it gets worse. Producers of whiskey were given a choice. They could pay a flat tax or pay a per gallon price. For commercial distillers who produced a lot of whiskey, the flat rate was cheaper than the per gallon rate. But for individuals, the per gallon rate was cheaper.

    This was a political reward that Hamilton gave to commercial whiskey distillers in the area. They would now have the cheapest whiskey available since the flat tax worked out to a lower per gallon rate than home-distillers were forced to pay.

    Hamilton did this to gain a foothold of support in the area (his enforcer was a large scale distiller) and to convert the economy of western Pennsylvania away from a whiskey-based currency. The sooner everyone was brought under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the sooner the government could raise money to pay for spending.

    The tax destroyed the way of life for your average rural Pennsylvanian. First, they were singled out for a tax that most city dwellers would not be affected by. Next, they were forced to find a way to earn coin in order to pay the tax. Then, the tax made their whiskey more expensive compared to commercial distillers. This meant it was harder to sell, making it harder to convert the whiskey into coin to pay the tax.

    Many people from this area moved out west to avoid the intricacies of society and government. Some were veterans of the Revolution. They would not accept this tax.

    They were outraged that this tax was levied against them while the Northwest Indian War was going badly for the U.S. making the area unsafe. Seeing the tax as an advantage to grain growers (who owed no tax) and big distillers in the east (who owed a flat rate) also fueled western Pennsylvanian’s anti-federal sentiment.

    They decided that if this was the way the new country was to treat its people, they wanted no part in it. They refused to pay the tax and served vigilante justice to tax collectors and other sympathizers of the federal government. They reacted similarly to how the United States reacted to unfair British taxes which sparked the Revolution.

    By 1794 the climax of the situation unfolded. A U.S. Marshall was sent to the area and a showdown ensued. Some rebels were shot in a skirmish and their leader, a veteran of the Revolution, was killed. The tax collector and U.S. Marshall were captured only to later escape, and the fury of western Pennsylvanians peaked.

    There was talk among the rebels that they should secede from the United States and form their own country. The plan that emerged was a watered down version of protest in which the rebels would march through Pittsburgh nonviolently. This was meant to send a message that they would not back down against what they saw as Hamilton’s attempts to pay back the wealthy by taxing the ordinary citizen.

    President George Washington decided it was time to send in the army. A commission he sent to western Pennsylvania returned and recommended using the military to enforce the tax laws, and restore order.

    By October 1794 Washington was seeing troops off, and heading back east, much to the dismay of some moderate locals including Congressman William Findley. He saw Washington as a fair president who just wanted to do what was right. Alexander Hamilton was the real force behind the army heading west, according to Findley, who was included on Hamilton’s list of possible rebels to be arrested.

    Hamilton went with the army of nearly 20,000 as a civilian adviser. He was instructed by Washington to maintain the utmost discipline among the troops. As they advanced toward their target in western Pennsylvania, Hamilton was to prevent any breach of law by the troops, such as pillaging the countryside.

    Officers harshly punished any soldier caught stealing, but the soldiers were doing so because of the lack of rations and clothing. Hamilton decided to solve this by making the theft of these goods legal. According to William Hogeland in his book The Whiskey Rebellion:

    The quartermaster corps, [Hamilton] announced, would impress civilian property along the way. Now families watched helplessly as bayonet-wielding soldiers–no longer freelancing thieves but officials, authorized by the president–commandeered hard-won winter supplies of grain, meat, firewood, and blankets on behalf of the government of the United States. A steady, freezing rain meant the arrival of winter. Families whose sustenance was carted away faced grim months ahead (218).
    Once the army and Hamilton finally arrived at the target county in western Pennsylvania, they contonued their oppression. They did not care much to follow the due process laid out in the Bill of Rights in new Constitution, despite Hamilton’s assurances to the President.

    Many residents had signed oaths of support for the U.S. government. By signing, they risked local vigilante justice. But the U.S. promised that they would be pardoned as punishment was served to the region for failing to pay the new tax, and leading an insurrection against officials of the federal government.

    These oaths were ignored and many who had signed them were arrested by Hamilton and the army anyway. A month earlier the first arrests of a few rebels had been made, prompting the most guilty among the rebels to flee. Anyone left in western Pennsylvania had minimal roles in the insurrection, and had certainly not led it. The most violent rebels, who had committed the worst acts against government officials, had already fled.

    “The Dreadful Night” began in the middle of the night on November 13, 1794. Hamilton had created three lists of people: those who were not to be arrested, those who would be arrested, and those who were to be brought in as witnesses for questioning. The first list was not provided to the generals. Hamilton gave them the authority to arrest anyone they suspected of having participated in the rebellion, aided the rebels, raised liberty poles, or robbed the mail. He also authorized the troops to arrest local officials who failed to suppress the insurrection. The officers and soldiers who were passed these orders were delighted to finally have some excitement and authority on this trip west.

    One particularly unstable officer named White was put in control of the 40 prisoners which Hamilton thought would give the most valuable intelligence on the whole situation. These prisoners “were brought to a dark log structure” where they were tied up and seated on the muddy floor, and guarded by soldiers instructed to keep the prisoners away from the warmth of the fire. The tavern keeper was told he would be killed if any prisoners received food, and thus for more than two days the sadistic officer in charge

  4. Chris smith super knowledgeable, but looks like hes about to have an MI

  5. too much alcohol makes you anxious and will turn your face pink like a baboon's ass.

  6. These guys are total virgins

  7. melanie taillon

    Can I just say that the blonde guy who explains everything is the CUTEST human being ever!!!!

  8. What a lot of messing around with additives. Mix apple juice, sugar and yeast and away it goes. Does anyone remove the frothy scum which forms on top? I always have. I've made six batches of cider and got it right now with added sugar levels, dry, sweet and medium this last batch. For years I've made beer and wine previously and never used a starter bottle or yeast nutrient, they've always fermented for me without fail.

  9. sofakingdrunk66

    Quick question for you…
    I am new to homebrewing on my 2nd batch of Hard Apple Cider…
    And just like my first batch there doesnt appear to be any bubbles in the airlock is this normal?

  10. Thanks great info

  11. During my investigation, I couldn’t get a single mainstream beer company to share the full list of ingredients contained in their beer. But I did get some of them to fess up to the use of these ingredients in writing so I’m going to share this information with you now.

    Carcinogenic Caramel Coloring

    Newcastle, a UK brand, confessed to using what I would consider one of the most controversial food additives. Toasted barley is usually what gives beer its golden or deep brown color, however in this case, Newcastle beer is also colored artificially with caramel color. This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creating carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.

    Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

    Many of the beers I questioned contained one or more possible GMO ingredients.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup (Guinness – unable to provide an affidavit for non-GMO proof)
    Corn syrup (Miller Light, Coors, Corona, Fosters, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Red Stripe)
    Dextrose (Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light, Michelob Ultra)
    Corn (Red Stripe, Miller Coors Brand, Anheuser-Busch Brands)
    Most beers brewed commercially are made with more GMO corn than barley. Many of the companies I contacted dodged the GMO question – however Miller Coors had a very forthcoming and honest response. They stated “Corn syrup gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor” and “Corn syrups may be derived from a mixture of corn (conventional and biotech.)”, admitting their use of GMOs.

  12. I think I will try to make a kombucha batch with stronger than normal tea and regular sweetener and add some nice apple cider in the mix. Kombucha normally has a small amount of alcohol but it has a ton of great bacteria and yeasts for health.

  13. to brewing tv: during primary fermentation is there or is there not usually a funky smell. Is this normal or did I do something wrong. some forums say it's ok, others say it's not. editing this message for update. never mind, I cooled the room temp down and the smell has gone.

  14. What I heard from the blond "… UM! … UM!…UM!!"

  15. There's a lot of talk about adding chemicals or unnatural ingredients to wine/beer/cider here. Most of it is kinda old, so I'm not gonna comment on the specific thread, but instead just leave this here:

    It's not a new practice at all. Adding actual pieces of burning sulphur to supress fermentation has been done centuries ago. Finings like Isinglass, Gelatin and Irish Moss also have a long history.
    Someone here wrote that only in the US beer and wine may have finings added to it. That's not true. Even the famous and mostly misunderstood Reinheitsgebot in Germany allows some variants of finings and other chemical additions that aid in the brewing process. Included are burnt lime, gypsum and epsom salt, beer coloring, hop extract and PVPP fining (which unlike isinglass and gelatin is not natural). The reason PVPP is allowed is because it "can" be filtered out of the beverage before packaging. I say it "can" because in practice filters won't be 100% effective.

    None of this is unsafe if handled correctly! And a lot of it helps to move products across countries without spoilage. Still I think it should be clearly stated on the package of a product what ingredients are used, not just on beer labels.

    Homebrewers: Decide for yourself! My motto is trying to balance a natural process with a quality taste. Since we're not in a competitive market, we can experiment with our process a lot and see what works and what doesn't.
    An example: Do you really need a kettle fining to get a clear drink? Better yet: Do you really need a clear drink?

  16. Fifty shades of Graih

    what about ascorbic acid? I used pressed apple juice with that as the only additive to make a cyser that still in the first stage.

  17. Only thing apples are good for

  18. 250 gallon tote AGGGGHEEEMERM SORRY.

  19. Barley and the Hops TV

    Maybe one day I'll make cider…but I kinda want to make those natural funky Sidra-style ones.

  20. all for brew and Brew for ALL !! great !!

  21. Well this is just wonderful if your already an experienced brewer and don't need ANY of this information!

  22. will white labs yeast die at 18 percent sugar gravity of 1.122

  23. How long do you have to leave the Oak in the Vodka? thanks.

  24. the best cider is Dicken's Cider.

  25. add pectin enzyme initially. It makes it clear much better.

  26. I just so happen to have access to a small 400 producing tree orchard consisting mostly of 99% McIntosh apples and they are as ripe as needed for cider at this point. This place here in Idaho has a commercial press as well, they do most of their sales at a local farmers market in small 50 gallon batches in 1/2 to 1 gallon jugs and it sells out every time. If you never tried natural unpasteurized McIntosh cider your in for a treat.  I have made some small batches of hard cider form this farm and like it the way it comes out naturally and the higher in alcohol content as possible without adding sugars and letting it settle as long as possible to a clear amber state. The best I can describe of the taste is 'floral like the way blossom smells if that makes any sense, but not particularly sweet. I have a 5 gallon carboy at the ready and going to make a batch of the stuff here soon. Thanks for the tips btw and great vid as well.

  27. What nutrients is he talking about ??

  28. I was wondering why my cider which was clear after fermentation then added to keg at which time I added sorbate and back sweatend would come out cloudy through the tap I followed direction when I pour from fermentor into glass it was clear any suggestions

  29. Why are they adding sugar after its fermented out? Just to sweeten it?

  30. Uh, a specific gravity of less than one is due to the density of ALCOHOL being less than water. That's 2 error on this channel – come on- go back and add comments via youtube to correct the error.

  31. If i ferment it to below 1000 gravity, will i be able to carbonate it in the bottle with some sugar?

  32. no. malt liquor contains alcohols from grains that have been malted and kilned. you can add sugars to raise alcohol and final gravity. I do not believe it would change classification of cider when adding sugar though LM

  33. If you add sugar to the cider, doesn't that technically put it in the same class as malt liquor?

  34. So… To make cider you need.. Cider?

  35. great video. have you tried making ice cider?

  36. Had a mango cider i once backsweetened with lactose… it was SO GOODOODOOOD.

  37. Emmanuel Fontain-Ogwang

    hey there, awesome video, do you think it would be possible to do a two week cider? or would it be too sour/sweet? and to backsweeten do I need to kill the yeast first?

  38. hard cider, or 'cider' as it's called.

  39. How many campden tablets do I use for 5 gallons of unpasteurized cider?

  40. Thanks for this!

  41. this might be a dumb question…but this is all gluten free right?

  42. Both you guys – thank you. I've been doing cider for years, one way, the way I learned, without further education. I have had great success, but this video absolutely taught me a thing or two I've not done before. I'll be tweaking my process. Very appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *