The alcoholic beverage industry is rapidly changing, with American consumers embracing re-introduced drinks such as the classic hard cider. This change is probably due to the increase in the production of cider drinks. Hard cider is an alternative to some of the beers with bitter and hop-heavy flavors. To achieve excellent results, you need to use hard cider equipment.
It is an alcoholic drink since it is a product from the fermenting of apple fruits. It has the name “hard” to help distinguish it from apple cider juice, which is a non-alcoholic counterpart made from pressing fresh apples.
How Different Is Hard Cider From Beer?
Even though hard cider goes through the fermentation process, it is not part of the family of beers. The two only share fermentation as a similarity. Cider is made from the fermentation of fruit juice, while beer is a fermented drink made with malt and flavored with hops. Therefore cider cannot be beer since it does not contain any malt or hops hence its unique quality.
Still, you should note that many brewers are embracing hopped ciders. They are introducing aromas and hop flavors you can only find in beers to hard cider creating an excellent beer replacement to the gluten intolerant.
How do you Make Hard Cider?
- Find the Best Fresh Juice to use
The best fruit juice to use is freshly pressed sweet cider that you can find from a local orchard. The fresh juice should be free from preservatives. Therefore, if you are sourcing your fruits from a local farm, ensure that they do not use any chemical treatment on the fruits.
When you are purchasing cider, you should also ensure that it is sterile to prevent users from getting sick after using the cider. If you are buying from commercial cider makers, select one that is “cold pasteurized” to safeguard the flavor of the cider. The process involves the use of ultraviolet light since the regular operation of using heat changes the taste of the juice.
- Select the Right Yeast
There is a selection of yeast that you can choose from for the fermentation process. One that is most common is the champagne yeast or white wine yeast strand. It contains an agent that can help to preserve the apple flavors of the cider.
There are other options to suit your taste, such as the mead yeast and the Nottingham ale yeast. You can find various types of yeast online and in several brewing supplies stores.
- Give it Time to Ferment
Set your cider aside and give it time to ferment. You should always be aware of the smell it emits since that will inform you if you are on the right track or not. If it emits a rotten egg smell or a smell similar to burning matches, then your cider requires more yeast. The process should not take more than two weeks. The third week is to allow the settling of the enzymes.
- Aging Process
Once the fermentation is complete, you should store the cider in well-sanitized bottles without any headspace. Let it rest till it matures and develops the flavor you desire.
Your cider is now ready for bottling. If you want to get sparkling cider, you need to add the right amount of priming agent to the drink. If you want a regular cider, adding a small amount of sulfite will help to prevent the reemergence of yeast.
Hard Cider is increasingly becoming a popular drink option for those who want a switch from beer or those under a gluten-free diet. If you are looking to make the drink commercially, you can find the best hard cider equipment to use from our store. Our commercial-grade hard cider equipment is easy to clean, durable and gives you control of the whole making process.