I just uncorked my first batch of homemade apple cider. The sun is shining, the kids are playing and this is yummy!
I read about this easy, cheap method for turning off-the-shelf juice into a sparkling cider and decided to give it a try. [Props to Mr. Money Mustache and The Honey Badger (of Simple Brew Kits) for the original post.] I guess it was more about having a fun project than saving money on booze. In the end, I’m not sure the gallon of juice was cheaper than the equivalent in Corona – but it was a lot more fun to make 😉
San Diego has tons of homebrew stores, so I dropped by The Homebrewer, right in my neighborhood. They had everything I needed – a rubber stopper, air lock and yeast. All total was less than $5.
Next, I went to our local Sprouts since I figured they would have all kinds of high-quality juices. Nope. Pretty much the same shelves of big-brand juices imported from China. But they did have a private label apple juice in a perfect 1-gallon bottle. It cost about $7.
After I got it all home, I used boiling water and soap to clean everything. I think there are homebrew products made specifically for this, but I’m sticking to all beginner’s courses for now. I then put some whiskey into the air lock (they recommend a distilled spirit or water) and pushed it into the stopper. Now this is where I probably made my biggest mistake. I poured the whole packet of yeast into the bottle. My thinking is this, “the yeast will turn the sugar to alcohol and once there is no more sugar, the yeast will die so who cares how much you put in”. And it pretty much worked out that way. The only problem was that 2-3 hours after I put the rubber stopper in the bottle, the yeast went so crazy that foam started overwhelming the airlock and coming out of the top. From some posts I read, this isn’t a big problem in terms of spoiling the juice, but it was pretty messy. I put a few towels under the bottle to soak up the foam. After things calmed down a bit, I pulled the airlock and washed it with boiling water again. I didn’t have the stopper out for more than a minute and the foam had created a nice protective layer on top of the juice, so no spoilage.
Finally, I stuck the bottle in a corner of my garage and checked on it every few days for 2 weeks. And now our story comes full circle! So save your pennies and quarters and make yourself some of this yummy concoction.