While browsing the Homebrewtalk.com forums, I came across a recipe for a hard cider that it seemed everyone (mostly) raved about. Its called apfelwein, and the particular recipe I made was created by a guy on the forum named EdWort. So, after reading all the great reviews on it, four week ago I whipped up a batch. Its really easy, here is the recipe from the site:
5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives) I use Tree Top Apple Juice
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast
5 Gallon Carboy (I use a Better Bottle)
Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock
- First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
- Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
- Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
- Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
- Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
- Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
- Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
- Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
- Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv.
It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, see here)
Apfelwein really improves with age, so if you can please let it sit in a carboy for up to 3 months before bottling or kegging, then let it sit even longer.
I followed this exactly, and last night, I kegged it. I have to say, it is
I have made ciders in the past, some good, some not. None of them were nearly as good as this particular recipe. Dry, yet sweet, and still has a nice apple flavor hanging around. Also, its very strong... like Hercules strong. Here's a picture, only the second pour out of the keg so its still clearing a bit:
And as fantastic as this stuff is by itself, it also makes an amazing winter/fall warmer. Here's what I did:
1. Pour off about a cup of apfelwein.
2. Put it in a saucepan with a 1/2 TBS raw sugar and about a half of a small cinnamon stick.
3. POUR IT IN A MUG AND DRINK IT!
I highly reccomend making some of this! Its totally easy, especially if you don't have any actual brewing equipment. I used a Homer bucket from home depot to ferment it. Anyone can make it, although without a keg you would have to bottle and carbonate that way.