A scientist turned engineer, Dave started making wine in 1970. His approach combines simplicity with sound scientific principles.
How to make Cider from Supermarket Ingredients
Cider is easier to make at home than either wine or beer and makes a very pleasant alternative, especially on a warm summer evening. To make cider traditionally, you need fresh cider apples and a heavy-duty screw press. To make it even more traditionally, you need a barn, a large oak cask that you can call a hogshead if you must, sackfuls of cider apples, a huge granite mill wheel and channel, and a horse that doesn't mind walking in circles for a few hours.
Alternatively, you can use supermarket apple juice and dried baker's yeast.
What You'll Need
Pop down to the supermarket and get a large plastic flagon (about 64 oz or 2 liters) of pure apple juice (not a cardboard carton) and a packet of dried baker's yeast. The brand of apple juice doesn't matter, but make sure there are no added preservatives, as these could prevent it from fermenting. (Some additional vitamin C is no problem.) If there are no preservatives, the juice will usually have been pasteurised to stabilise it. This gives it a darker colour than fresh juice, but we can live with that.
You will also need a teaspoon and a drinking straw, but you probably have these already! If you like, you can arrange everything neatly on the table and take a photograph like mine, but this step is entirely optional!
How to Do It
- Open the flagon and completely remove the inner foil seal (if any).
- With the drinking straw, enjoy the top two inches (5 cm) of apple juice. Waste not, want not! (The reason for this is to make a little room in the container.)
- Carefully tip half a level teaspoon of dried yeast onto the surface of the juice, but do not shake or stir.
- Replace the cap. Tighten it, then back it off a quarter turn to allow gas to escape.
And that is it! There is nothing more to do but wait (the entire process takes about five days), watch, and read my deathless prose...
Watch as the yeast quickly re-hydrates and expands across the surface, forming a slurry. The dormant yeast cells waken in a yeast heaven and soon start gorging on the sugar and nutrients in the juice and replicating like crazy. This is a yeast orgy. Clumps of cells start to break off and fall slowly to the bottom, where they carry on working on the fruit sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.
What Will Happen
After a few hours, the juice should be bubbling merrily, with a good head of froth on top. Baker's yeast tends to be a much faster starter than wine yeast and doesn't take long to get going. You'll notice that the juice has gone cloudy. This is normal. The yeast population is now far larger than the original teaspoonful and the rising carbon dioxide bubbles keep everything in motion.
The fermentation doesn't go on forever. After a few days, the available sugar is all used up, the bubbling stops, and the yeast cells start to drop to the bottom. It's impossible to say when this will happen as it depends on the sweetness of the original juice, the strain of yeast, the ambient temperature, and several other factors.
- When the fermentation has slowed to one or two bubbles per second, typically after five days, taste it using a drinking straw. It should be fairly dry. If it is still sweet, try again in 24 hours.
- When you're happy with the dryness, tighten the cap and put the flagon in the refrigerator (not the freezer!) This will help it to fall clear.
The cider is already ready for drinking but will look and taste better after a couple of days in the fridge. It doesn't matter if it is not completely clear. There is nothing unwholesome about a little yeast. After all, you eat it every day in bread. Some commercial ciders of the scrumpy style are traditionally served cloudy. Always keep the flagon in the fridge until serving. This prevents any risk of exploding flagons if you've been in too much of a hurry. When serving, pour carefully to avoid disturbing the sediment.
If you have judged your end point well, it will have a slight sparkle when poured, giving a freshness to the taste. If you left it a little too late, it will be still and dry, but perfectly drinkable. On the other hand, if you refrigerated it too soon, it will be sweeter and a little frothy.
Cider apples are different from both dessert and cooking apples. True cider apples are extremely hard, even when ripe. When crushed in a mill, the juice runs clear. The softer dessert and cooking varieties tend to crush to a sloppy pulp with cloudy juice which is no good for cider.
Supermarket apple juices are not made from cider apples, but they are extracted and cleared using hi-tech centrifuge and filtering techniques that are not available to the amateur. Be grateful they have done the hard work for you!
Explanations, Hints, and Tips
This method was designed to work with no special equipment and with baker's yeast. In some parts of the world, such as the Middle East, wine yeast is not available. But if you do have access to wine yeast it will give a higher quality cider.
Sterilisation is vital if you are making cider by traditional methods. However, in my method you start with a sealed, sterile juice flagon and ferment in situ opening the top only for the minute it takes to remove some juice and add the yeast. Spoilage is highly unlikely.
Why not stir the yeast in? By floating the yeast on the surface, the growth process starts locally in the concentrated slurry that forms when the yeast absorbs the liquid and re-hydrates. A blanket of carbon dioxide soon forms which forces the air out of the flagon and protects the juice from oxidation. If you stir the yeast in, the start will be slower and the protection less.
Temperature: Warm room temperature is best. Shirt sleeves temperature, if you like. If the juice has been in a fridge, don't start and don't open it until it has warmed up to room temperature.
Sunlight: Yeast doesn't like sunlight. It's best not to place the flagon on the windowsill. Having said that, it doesn't need to be kept in the dark either.
Quantity: One flagon (64 oz or 2 liters) of cider is not very much. If you want to make a larger amount in a single batch, start by kicking off one flagon exactly as described above. When it is going well, say after 48 hours, transfer it to a larger vessel and pour in more juice, remembering to leave a couple of inches air space at the top. Cap it and back off the cap as before, to let gas escape. After that, proceed exactly as with the single flagon. But if you are going to do this, you should sterilise the large vessel before use.
Alternatively, if one flagon isn't enough, start two, three, five, or ten! The great advantage of fermenting in the original container is that there are no sterilisation worries.
Alcoholic Content: The alcoholic strength of this cider depends on the sweetness of the original juice. Typically it will lie in the range 4 to 6% ABV (alcohol by volume), or about the same as a medium-strong beer. You can increase the alcohol by adding sugar at the start, but this increases the chances of stopping the fermentation early, leaving an oversweet drink, because of the relatively low alcohol tolerance of baker's yeast. I prefer to accept the natural strength as it comes.
Still, Flat, or Sparkling: No one talks about still beer. If beer has no bubbles, it is called flat, not still, and flat beer is to nobody's liking. That is because beer is made from grain and contains little or no acid. It needs the carbon dioxide gas to give it sharpness or life. Cider, made from apple juice, contains malic acid. This lends a freshness to the taste, even in the absence of gas. So still cider is an accepted style, while flat beer is always a failure.
Quality: This cider is not meant to win any prizes. Better results can be obtained with fresh apples, wine yeast, and a great deal more work and knowledge. But you can be assured that it is perfectly wholesome because you know exactly what went into it: no preservatives, no chemicals, just juice and yeast.
Cheers! And thanks for reading!
Questions & Answers
Question: I made my first batch of the cider and it worked great! Can I add some sugar to this cider recipe and how much would you, the writer of this article, recommend? Or could I add a couple of raisins to the apple juice? Also when we finished our first batch, the yeast had settled at the bottom of the bottle, making the last bit undrinkable. Would you recommend rebottling the cider into other bottles after the 5 days?
Answer: If you add sugar (or raisins) before it is perfectly clear with no haze or sediment it will simply start to ferment and will end up dry again and a bit stronger. Options: you can sweeten it with sugar just before drinking it; you can sweeten it with an artificial sweetener which won't ferment; or, you can add a chemical stabilizer (I prefer not to do this). It is good practice to pour the clear cider off its sediment into new bottles especially if you are planning to keep it for a few weeks.
Question: I followed the recipe to the letter. It is now in my glass. It is sour as freak but that's still drinkable. I mixed two different kinds of apple juice. Both were pure. It tastes a little bit on the weak side. But as I get to the bottom of my glass it picks up and I can taste the alcohol. Am I imagining my cider's weakness or is something else making it weka?
Answer: Apple juice contains acid (mostly malic acid) and sugar. When you drink it as juice, the sweetness balances the sourness of the acid. When you ferment out all the sugar, you taste the sour malic acid. Experiment with different apple juices. Some are less acidic than others. Second question: when freshly poured, there is maximum dissolved and bubbling CO₂ which adds to the sharpness. By the bottom of the glass, it is flatter and so will taste different.
Question: Can this cider recipe also be used for store-bought apple and blackcurrant juice?
Answer: Yes it can. But read the label carefully to make sure there are no preservatives in the juice.
Question: I bought an apple and lemon mix juice and added 200 mg of sugar and yeast. It has been fermenting for the last 3 days. Should I wait longer or will it be ready?
Answer: I'm assuming you mean 200 grams, not 200 milligrams? If so, it is far too much sugar for a cider. What is the total quantity of juice? I'd suggest leaving it to ferment until it stops which could be weeks, then treat it with some respect as a strange wine. Meanwhile, why not buy some pure apple juice and follow the method in the article?
Question: I did all of this and then got to the part where it said to wait if the juice was refrigerated. I think you should maybe put that at the beginning, but I don't know if it will work. Do you think it will?
Answer: Yes, it will work but will take a little longer to start. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll fix the article.
Question: Can this cider be left longer to turn it into apple cider vinegar? And is or are there any other processes involved?
Answer: If over-exposed to the air during and after fermentation it might turn into vinegar, if infected with airborne acetobacter bacteria. However, this is a hit & miss process and not to be recommended.
Question: How to get rid of the alcohol in the apple cider? The cider bought in the supermarket has no alcohol.
Answer: Cider, for hundreds of years, has been an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting fresh apple juice. In most countries, supermarkets sell true cider. Removal of alcohol from fermented cider (or beer) is an industrial process that cannot be replicated on a domestic scale.
Question: So, my flagon (bottle) for making cider, and it has been sitting for 5 days and still has a slurry on top. It's clear otherwise. Should I fridge it to help move slurry to the bottom?
Answer: If it is still bubbling you can leave it a day or two longer. If not, put it in the fridge for two or three days. The slurry is just yeast and will do you no harm.
Question: How long will the cider last once made and in the fridge?
Answer: Unopened, it can last in the fridge for several months. Once opened, I'd recommend using it within a week.
Question: Will it make a difference in the taste of the cider to use cider yeast? I've had a taste and it seems OK. Will cider yeast make any difference to the alcohol strength of the cider?
Answer: Cider yeast is best for cider if you can get it. It doesn't change the ABV (alcohol by volume) but could give a more authentic flavour. Wine yeast is also far better than baking yeast and easier to find than cider yeast.
Question: I can only get cardboard litre containers of apple juice here. If I sterilize a 2 litre glass wine bottle and start the fermentation, leave for 48 hours, can I then transfer to a 10 litre plastic (sterile) bottle adding 8 more litres of juice?
Answer: Yes, that will work fine. In the Middle East, they like their clear plastic juice bottles. They look good on supermarket shelves. But I've noticed in UK we've moved away from plastic to help save the planet. Just make sure the juice you use is free of preservatives.
Question: How would adding 200g of granulated sugar affect the cider?
Answer: Most apple juices will give you a cider of around 5% ABV without sugar addition. Adding sugar will increase the fermentation time and result in a stronger cider, but it would taste unbalanced and too alcoholic. I prefer to use natural apple juice, unsweetened.
Question: I have started with 5 liters in a plastic container. I used 2 and a half teaspoons yeast. The container looks a bit puffy. Do I let some gas escape my cider bottle by loosening the lid a little?
Answer: Never ferment in a fully closed container. The screw cap should always be backed off enough to let gas escape. Take care when you release the pressure! By the way, you don't need to use so much yeast.
Question: Can cider be stored out of the fridge once it's been made like wine can?
Answer: Yes, it can. At room temperature, it will continue to ferment right through to dryness and will build up CO2 pressure in the bottle. This will make it sparkle when opened. But be careful not to close the cap too soon or the pressure could burst the bottles.
Question: When I make the bigger version, once I have poured it over into the bigger container and added more juice, I then add more yeast on top I assume?
Answer: You should never have to make a second addition of yeast. The actively fermenting yeast colony simply expands to colonize the increased quantity of juice.
Question: Can I put the end product of this cider recipe into a SodaStream and inject some life?
Answer: Yes, you can. If you are going to do this, let it ferment to dryness first so it is completely flat and still.
Question: I tried your method with out-of-date apple juice. It wasn't doing much so I added about 1/2 tsp. sugar. I left it for 6 days. It seems OK but I think I got a hard cider! Is this safe to use in cooking?
Answer: Six days is long enough for it to have fermented to dryness. It is probably OK, if the 'out of date' apple juice had not been opened, but I can't guarantee that! Always better to use fresh ingredients in the future.
Question: How long will it take for wine yeast to start fermenting?
Answer: It usually starts within a few hours.
Question: How long will it last being stored and does it need to be stored in the fridge?
Answer: If you want to store it, pour it off its sediment into fresh plastic soda bottles and cap tightly. Keep it away from sunlight. It doesn't need to be stored in the fridge and will keep for several months unopened.
Question: I've bottled my first attempt and siphoned into sanitized 500ml coke bottles. While siphoning it tasted quite fine. I did add a bit of sugar before siphoning and bottling. I put them in the fridge and have noticed there is still a bit of sediment on the bottom of the bottles. Is sediment at the bottom of bottled beer normal and can I try and drink it now?
Answer: The sediment is only yeast and is nothing to worry about. But if you added sugar before bottling it is likely to referment in the bottles, especially if you keep them at room temperature. If you added too much sugar, the bottles could burst. Refrigerate before opening, open carefully, and you should be OK.
Question: Would Tesco 100% Pure Pressed Apple & Raspberry Juice 1L be all right for making cider?
Answer: If there are no additional preservatives or anti-oxidants, it should be OK. Read all the small print and if there are no unwanted extras, give it a go.
© 2011 Dave McClure
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on July 23, 2020:
Dave B - it should work OK. I would put the bottles in a warmish place for about a week to encourage the bottle fermentation, then move them to a cooler storage area. Carbonation drops are convenient but ordinary sugar cubes will work just as well and are cheaper.
Dave Bananaman on July 22, 2020:
I started with a batch in a fermentation bucket, I used 9 litres of apple juice and 2gm of champagne yeast, yesterday it had stopped bubbling and you could put a straw in the bucket and taste it without getting blown away with fumes. It tasted like still cider but very dry. Tonight I've bottled in and put carbonation drops in the bottles and left it to settle on the side. I'm sure I read somewhere that once the bottles feel hard to the touch to refrigerate it, is that right. Any comments or advice is appreciated.
My next experiment is going to be a mix of apples and pears from the garden with apple and pear juice from the shop
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on June 29, 2020:
Salim - around 5%. Exact figure depends on the sugar content of the juice you used.
Salim on June 29, 2020:
How many percentage alcohol in the apple cider ? 7 days
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 20, 2020:
Chris- 9 years is pretty old for yeast. No surprise that it didn't start. If you click on my profile here, you'll find about 6 articles on wine & cider making. I also have a new work in progress website called Ex-pat Plonk which should be findable. Welcome to the hobby!
Chris on May 19, 2020:
I checked the yeast date and was surprised that I was sold 2011 yeast in 2020! I put in a fresh pack and minutes later it was bubbling... i think this hobby is going to stick. Do you have a website or book where I can learn or any good reading?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 19, 2020:
Chris - this method is so simple there are very few reasons for failure to start. These are: preservatives in the juice, dead yeast (can happen if badly stored), temperature too high or too low. Which was it?
Chris on May 19, 2020:
Hello There, finally jumping on the band wagon, I did one of these batches and it is still bubbling away after three days, but I did it with red grape juice. Yesterday I started a batch with pure apple juice, no preservatives, but when I looked today, still nothing, no bubbling, I will have a look at it every few hours to check, I did use another brand of bakers yeast, but I suppose bakers yeast is Bakers yeast. If after two days there is still no bubbling, I will have to make another plan... Hope this cider starts to orgify soon.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 18, 2020:
Ethan - both juices should work but it is up to you to read the label carefully and make sure there are no preservatives included. Cloudy juices are likely to result in cloudy cider which is OK, but not to everyone's taste.
Ethan6565 on May 17, 2020:
I’m new to making cider and wondered if this Tesco 100% Pure Pressed Apple & Raspberry Juice 1L would be ok the ingredients are Apple Juice (90%), Raspberry Purée (9%), Aronia Juice or this cloudy Apple juice from Morrison The ingredients is Apple juice. Which on do you think or do you have any other suggestions
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 05, 2020:
Hi Mia - If you add sugar (or raisins) before it is perfectly clear with no haze or sediment it will simply start to ferment and will end up dry again and a bit stronger. Options: you can sweeten it with sugar just before drinking it; you can sweeten it with an artificial sweetener which won't ferment; or, you can add a chemical stabiliser (I prefer not to do this). It is good practice to pour the clear cider off its sediment into new bottles especially if you are planning to keep it for a few weeks.
Mia on May 05, 2020:
Made my first batch of cider from your recipe and it worked really well.
Just a couple of questions :)
It was a little too dry for me...could I add a little sugar to my next batch...if so how much would you recommend? Or someone suggested adding a couple of raisins???
Also when we got to the bottle of our first batch all the yeast had settled to the bottom. Would your recommend rebottling the cider after the 5 days, or it is ok to have the yeast sitting at the bottom?
Thank you for your help and for the super easy recipe :)
Denzil on April 29, 2020:
Excellent! Thanks so much for the feedback.
I'll check back in in a few days & give you an update.
Stay well. Stay safe.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 29, 2020:
Denzil - a 1/4 tsp /litre is plenty. 8 hours isn't long if it is cold, e.g. below 20C. It should start bubbling today but if it doesn't, either the yeast was dead (unlikely but it can happen) or there are some preservatives lurking in the juice. Check the label.
Denzil Burgon on April 28, 2020:
Sorry... Quarter teaspoon per 1litre.
Denzil Burgon on April 28, 2020:
Greetings from South Africa.
It's been only 8hrs &
I've followed all the instructions but no bubbling at all yet. Cloudiness & slurry have formed. I must admit it was a bit chillos last night. Warming up now.
Could it be that I didn't use enough yeast...quarter teaspoon?
Great site & love your content & simple, happy approached.
Edward Philip Dossor on April 23, 2020:
My mistake. Been having a few and I'm feeling it. I guess it was a mixture of disbelief at the fact of making booze in my own house and, well that's it. It was all in ma heed. It works! Great recipe! Thanks!!!! You don't have to publish this.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 19, 2020:
Hi Karen - it's not ruined, but it will explode soon if you don't take prompt action! Instructions, point 4, says: Replace the cap. Tighten it, then back it off a quarter turn to allow gas to escape. It doesn't say, re-tighten it! You ferment in the flagon with the cap backed off enough to let gas escape, always. So, do this now, over the kitchen sink as it is likely to foam up: Remove the cap completely and let it foam up to release the dissolved CO₂. Clean the cap and the neck of the bottle using cotton wool soaked in boiled water. Stir the bottle using a stainless steel knife washed in boiled water. This will help dissipate the foam. Finally, replace the cap but this time keep it loose so the gas can keep escaping. You will have lost some in frothing over but nothing should be spoiled. It is always cloudy with yeast while fermenting, but it will fall clear later in the fridge. Hope that helps!
Karen Tegner from South Africa on April 19, 2020:
Hi Dave, there are so many people trying your recipie here in SA including myself.
2 days ago I got the apple juice and yeast and followed your instructions. This morning the bottle looked cloudy and I tried to open it to taste (dont judge lol), it bubbled up to the surface and I relocked quickly. Is this now ruined?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 13, 2020:
Hi Philip - not sure what you mean by "the apple juice was only 9 %" but here's what I would do with these components: Start one litre fermenting as you have suggested. After 1 or 2 days, it should be fermenting strongly. Wash out your 5 litre water bottle with cool boiled water. Pour in your fermenting litre and add one more carton of juice. Cap the bottle loosely so the CO2 can escape. After another day, add another two cartons. Again cap loosely and leave it to ferment for four or five days. Then chill it in the fridge.Good luck.
Philip from South Africa on April 13, 2020:
We have a 5 week lock down here in South Africa and no access to alcohol so I am trying your Apple juice and Yeast cider recipe.
I only have 1 Litre containers of 100% pure juice and they are a little flimsy. I have halved the amount of yeast to 1/4 teaspoon and added a tiny amount of dissolved sugar as the apple juice was only 9 %
The ambient temperature is generally 21-26 degrees. I do have a 5 Litre water container but no tablets to sterilize it.
Any tips on what to do for the best ?
Great website ! I just hope it works !
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on December 21, 2019:
Yes, that would be cold enough to stun it. I use clear plastic Lucosade bottles for my cider. They can take a lot of pressure.
KurdiBairn on December 19, 2019:
Hi Dave - got 9 litres bubbling away since Sunday in 2x5l flaggons. Should be okay by tomorrow/Saturday, I'm guessing. I've screwed up the last couple of times and some of the bottled cider has ended up redecorating my house. What temperature do I need to get it to in order to stop fermentation? I'm back in Scotland now, so would leaving it out the back do?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 13, 2019:
Dave - with cider, to make 25 litres, start with a 2-litre flagon exactly as per method above. When it is bubbling well, e.g. after 2 days, pour it into a 5-litre drinking water vessel. Add another 2-litre juice. After a day or two, when it is bubbling well, pour it into a 25-litre drinking water vessel (the type that fits on the water dispensers). Add more juice to half-fill the large vessel. After a day or two, add more juice to fill the vessel to the shoulder (not higher). Then ferment to dryness. But I would recommend perfecting 5-litre quantities before going for 25. The big batch is tricky to handle.
YarkshireDave on October 12, 2019:
Dave, thank you for checking in on the page. I'm also in Qatar- the yeast/apple brands match my purchase. So, first time going well. If I want to up the quantity eg: 5 gallons, should I start in small bottles and pour together or, up all quantities and start everything in a 5 gallon.
Have you ever had success brewing in a bucket instead of a closed top bottle?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on February 16, 2019:
KurdiBairn - good idea, some of the best ciders are cloudy.
KurdiBairn on February 14, 2019:
Made it with Innocent cloudy Apple juice and sparkling wine yeast from Amazon. And a sprinkle of turbo yeast. Nice and dry after 5 days, fresh and naturally fizzy
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 04, 2019:
George - I agree real ale shouldn't be pressurised with CO2 or refrigerated, but it is normally served while still alive (i.e. at the end of fermentation) or in some cases bottled at this stage, to finish fermenting in the bottle. So there is usually some natural CO2 still present. Totally flat ale is a pretty rare offering. Hope you enjoy the cider!
George on January 04, 2019:
" flat beer is to nobody's liking "? In most of the world where beer is usualy lager style I agree. However in the UK (even Scotland) traditional ale is a flavorsome drink and has no need for gas and refrigeration give it "sharpness or life". Love your easy cider recepie - I will give it a go. Home traditional cider maling is very hard work as I have found.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 15, 2018:
Iluka - If you add sugar it will almost certainly start to ferment again. Stopping it a little earlier is better, but again it will referment in the bottle. (That's where the sparkle comes from). You can add a small amount of artificial sweetener, if you are OK with that. It will work and it is not fermentable.
Iluka on October 14, 2018:
Hi Dave, I have made your cider a couple of times a few years ago, but it was a bit dry for my taste. How can I make it a little sweeter? Should I add extra sugar at the end when it's in the fridge, or is it better to stop the fermentation process sooner. Cheers
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on September 01, 2018:
Daniel - 2 possibilities, either your apple juice had preservatives in it or your yeast was dead.
Daniel on September 01, 2018:
Hi, I followed everything here exactly, except I used brewers yeast instead of bakers yeast. After a week the cider didn’t seem to have fermented, and the patches of yeast have gone completely moldy
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on August 09, 2018:
Gabriel - The ABV depends on the variety of juice you use but most will yield 5% minimum if fermented to near dryness. 1.5 litres of this will have an effect!
Gabriel on August 02, 2018:
I worked with your recipe last winter when the rooms were heated, and now in Southern Spain, where the temperature is perhaps even a little on the high side for fermentation, but both times it worked a treat. All the better, for my supermarket stopped selling cider apart from the Heineken 'Apple Bandit' variety. Thank you very much!
A note: this winter I drank 1,5 liters of my homemade cider in one evening. In spite of the relatively low alcohol content, that proved a bit much - the stuff definitely has a bite of its own!
andrew on June 05, 2018:
I've heard brewers yeast can be used for a healthier alternative, is the correct
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 13, 2018:
Hi Davox - dextrose is more expensive and will ferment slightly quicker but the end result is the same. There are many ways to refine the process but my aim here is to present a simple reliable method to get people started.
Davox on April 11, 2018:
G'day Dave, I've made two batches of your grape juice wine which have turned out quite well,(a bit better than I expected). I did tweek the recipe a bit by using dextrose instead of sugar , racking then chilling and finally clarfying with a little egg white mixture and racking again. The whole process at least three or four weeks, I see no need to hurry it. Used local (Oz.) supermarket juice , as you described and a good wine yeast, end result resembles a rose; nice chilled. I am looking forward to having a crack at your cider recipe . Thanks for the info and web page.
Ian Harding on April 09, 2018:
This looks like a great idea, I'll be starting a batch this evening. I make your grape juice wine on a regular basis now and it is absolutely FAB!
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on February 14, 2018:
Wob - It should work fine, but make sure that the juices have no preservatives. For predicting the ABV, check out my article on this: https://delishably.com/beverages/How-Strong-is-my-...
Wob on February 11, 2018:
Hi. I am about to start my cider and was thinking of using a mixed apple and mango juice. do you think it will work the same? Also is there a way of working out The abv if I know the amount of sugar by volume? Cheers
clapper on January 30, 2018:
thank you so much Dave!
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 29, 2018:
OK, I think it is not going bad, but you probably are sensitive to the smell of fermenting bakers yeast, which is quite sharp on the nose! Let it finish, as per the method, pour it off the lees, and keep it for 4 weeks before drinking, and most of the sharpness will have worn off. But, if you can't buy wine yeast, you can try this for your next batch of wine:
Buy a bunch of fresh ripe grapes, Muscat if you can get them, but most will be OK. Eat most of them but save about 20 of the best. Crush these and drop them into your 5 litre fermenting jar. Add half a carton of good grape juice, like KDD. It is more than likely that it will start fermenting within a couple of days. When it does, call it Day One and proceed with the method as before. When the wine is ready for bottling, save some of the sediment (which is mostly yeast) to start your next batch - and so on. Good luck ;)
clapper on January 29, 2018:
baker's. Bloody hell! this is the third time my hooch went bad and all the while I thought I just wasn't clean enough. It's the same kind you used in the picture, although it may be an old bag, not sure.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 28, 2018:
Hi clapper - it might be the yeast. There's really no other cause, assuming everything is perfectly clean. Are you using a wine yeast or a baking yeast? By the way, a sulphur smell in wine isn't normal either.
clapper on January 28, 2018:
Dave, I'm sorry to spam you, but I made another batch, exactly like you did, besides adding a bit more sugar. It's been around 6-7 days and it's still fermenting. up until today it smelled like cider with some yeast, now it smells/tastes like vomit again. I have no idea what i could have done wrong. Is the yeast I'm using infected? I'm also making wine but that just smells like sulfur which i know is normal. I'm using Al-Marai apple juice. What could be going wrong? is the same going to happen to the wine?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 13, 2018:
This is not normal. Use it to clean out the u-bend and start again! With no spurious additions. . .
clapper on January 13, 2018:
Hello Dave! So today was the big day. I let the cider sit in the fridge for a couple of days and i was ready to take it out. Except when I smelled it, it had the stink of vomit. Is this a repercussion of the fruit? I am extremely reluctant to taste it. Do I throw it away, or is this normal. I'm guessing it's the former.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 08, 2018:
You will probably get away with it but it was an unnecessary risk! At the end of the fermentation, discard the pieces with the rest of the sediment (unless you want to eat them!)
clapper on January 07, 2018:
I know. I gobbled up all your articles yesterday. They are all fascinating. Anyways, I came home today with some fruit I bought, and then something came over me and i cut up 3 cherries and a small peach and added them to my 12 hour old brew. Did I do something stupid? should I start over? They weren't frozen nor boiled so is contamination certain? If not, what do I do with the pieces after fermentation is done?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 06, 2018:
Qatar, not Saudi - a much more civilised country!
clapper on January 05, 2018:
It's very nice to see a fellow scotsman in(presumably) saudi arabia practicing his god given right of getting wasted
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on November 26, 2017:
There should be no need. If you catch the end point well, it should be naturally sparkling.
Jeremy on November 26, 2017:
So are you able to bottle and add carbonation drops to make this fizzy after fermentation is finished?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 03, 2017:
You don't need to pasteurise fresh juice but do make sure that you sterilise all the equipment you use (presses, juicers, filters, etc) and the fermenting jar. With supermarket juice this is not necessary because it is pasteurised and sealed sterile. But you must add the yeast immediately to your pressed juice. If you don't, then you will need to add sulphite to sterilise it.
Stephanie on October 03, 2017:
I love this idea. Am waiting to be able to try making cider this year. I have a question. If I am using fresh apple juice and possibly pear juice, not necessarily together, do I need to pasteurize the juice first in order to be able to put this into sealed jars at the end. Kind of like moonshine?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 25, 2017:
Stella, not sure I'd like that, but what matters is making what works for you! Keep experimenting.
Stella on April 25, 2017:
Ive made this before and i added mixed berry dessert topping to make a sweeter and mixed berry flavored cider. It worked really well
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on February 26, 2017:
Balisteve - I state quite clearly that better results are obtained with wine yeast and in fact the one I recommend is originally a Champagne yeast. But there are many countries where wine yeast is not available. I live in one and so do many of my readers.
balisteve on February 26, 2017:
tip , use champagne or at least white wine yeast . most bread yeasts tast like crap in brews , also bout 1/4 cup brown an 1/4 cup white suger per 2 litres will give you a brew bout 10% after 4 -6 days . wait till its bubblin nearly stopped , then taste wannt sweeter add honey or suger the stick it n the fridge . want carbonated 1\2 ts sugar per 500ml an cap. ahh brown suger light to dark ,depends on your taste . HAVE FUN oh yea if ya doin carbinated wait another week or longer before to stick it in the fridge.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on January 15, 2017:
Prince - I do state that wine yeast will give better results. Champagne yeast is also a good choice of wine yeast because it settles well. But there are many countries where wine yeast is simply not available. Baking yeast does work for cider and is universal.
Prince on January 15, 2017:
I just did this on my own a while ago, and decided to look back and see if the internet agreed with my methods.
I used the same process, just with champagne yeast, and it works great! Nice recipe (though I wouldn't suggest using baking yeast to make drinks)
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 17, 2016:
Hi Chris - it should still be OK in cool temperatures but will take longer to ferment, maybe up to two weeks. On the plus side, the longer slower fermentation often results in higher quality. The loose lid lets the carbon dioxide gas out so the bottle doesn't explode! But it also makes it impossible for airborne bacteria or wild yeasts (or fruit flies!) to gain access against the stream of CO2 escaping via the screw-cap's thread.
Chris Conway on October 17, 2016:
Great to see you've attentively addressed this article for years! Just trying my first batch in New Zealand. It may prove tough here since we rarely get over 20-Celsius, but I figure no harm in letting it sit for 4-6 days before refrigerating.
I leave my lid screwed on very loosely; is the lid purely to enforce sterilisation, or is there a need to have it somewhat restrictive?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 10, 2016:
Derek -Basically same procedure, but start the fermentation in about one litre, then when it is going very well, pour it into the big vessel and add the rest of the juice over the course of a week, then let it ferment out, or nearly.
Tea adds tannin which gives some astringency. You can also experiment with some lemon or grapefruit juice for acidity. Another good one is a little cranberry juice, not too much. It adds to the flavour and if you get it right it can look like Magners, slightly rose coloured.
derekthomson on October 06, 2016:
Tried this, it worked perfectly, thanks.
Just 2 questions:
I would like to brew about 25 liters using a home brew fermenting bin and store in a pressure keg, is there any difference in procedure.
Although first attempt very good, I found this slightly bland, is there a way of giving it a little more character, I've read somewhere that tea can be added. Is this a good idea, anything else that I could add/do to improve finished product .
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on August 31, 2016:
Tobias - yes. This method uses sterile pasteurised juice in a new container, opened once only to add the yeast, after which there is positive pressure from inside, forcing CO2 out through the loosely fastened screw cap. Nothing is going to get in to mess it up.
Tobias on August 31, 2016:
In other booze making tutorials they use an airlock. Is this just as safe without one?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on June 19, 2016:
cider Bhoy - you might get away with it but probably not. It is likely that the preservatives would stop the fermentation.
iggyboy - if you are going for wine strength, you'll get a more balanced result if you go 50:50 apple and grape juice.
iggyboy60 on June 19, 2016:
This works and works well. Got a bit silly, did 5ltrs of AJ with 5grms of wine yeast and 1kg of sugar. Got a 14% alcoholic blast and it tastes awesome. Took a total of six weeks to ferment and then clear. Well worth the extra wait for a top result. I'm hooked.
cider Bhoy on June 13, 2016:
Thanks for the recipe.Once the fermentation process is underway can i add juice with preservatives as preservative free juice is really expensive in Indonesia?
thanks for your reply
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 26, 2016:
Gilliatt and Ty - After a couple of days in the fridge you can transfer it to another bottle. It will keep fresh and improve out of the fridge for several weeks, as long as you have worked cleanly.
Joseph on May 25, 2016:
Hey mate, can u store the cider in a second bottle outside the fridge or no. Ty
Gilliatt on May 25, 2016:
Hi Paraglider, thanks for the recipe! Wondering if I put it in the fridge for 2 days and then put it into another sterile container and sealed it, would it last a couple of days without being refrigerated as I would love to take it camping with me. Cheers!
Dougie on May 09, 2016:
Thanks so much!
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on May 08, 2016:
Hi Dougie - It can still fall clear and probably will, after about two days in the fridge. Wine yeast is always a slower starter than baking yeast but it more than holds its own in the main fermentation stage. Total time should be about the same.
Dougie on May 07, 2016:
also, I used wine yeast, but the fermentation isn't as explosive as it was when I used the baker's yeast; so I was wondering if it'll take longer?
Dougie on May 07, 2016:
I used cloudy fresh pressed apples and I was wondering if it was possible for it to turn clear after fermentation?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on November 12, 2015:
How much taste it has depends on the quality of the juice you used. But after only 4 days, it won't have finished fermenting. give it a bit longer.
Eric on November 12, 2015:
So it's been four days now and I just tried it for the first time and it has very little taste. It doesn't taste sour or like vinegar it's kinda like carbonated water. Any explanation for this? Can I just add sugar to make it palatable?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on November 09, 2015:
I prefer to start the yeast in pure juice. If you are going to add extra sugar, dissolve it in boiled water first and leave it to cool to room temperature. Brown sugar or honey are OK but certainly alter the taste. Some people like it.
Eric on November 09, 2015:
Hello again. Just for future reference, after I try this a few times I'd like to try and increase the alcohol content. I read your article about controlling the strength and that chart comparing sugar content to alcohol content was very useful. But if I want to add sugar straight to the apple juice, do I add it first and shake it up before adding yeast? Or would I add the sugar after it's fermented for a few days? Also, would brown sugar be ok? I read somewhere that it could give a nice, different flavour. Thank you again! I'm so excited to try this!
Eric on November 09, 2015:
Great article! I just started it yesterday but was wondering how tight the cap should be. I did just under a half turn because a quarter seemed too tight but I check up on it every few hours and the plastic bottle really expands and I'm scared it's gonna blow! I just loosen the cap until I hear the pressure release and then leave it where it is, maybe tighten it just a smidge. Is that normal or is my cap too tight? Thanks!
Douglas on October 05, 2015:
Thanks for your help!
I found that it didn't separate from the sediment very well and even after a day in a binbag filled with ice and another day and half in my sink filled with ice, it still had some levels of sediment appearing at the bottom of the new bottles.
I tried filtering it with coffee filters, but that only really half worked. are there any tricks to quicken the process, other than what I've already done?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on October 03, 2015:
Douglas - there is no risk of blindness from fermenting fruit juice. There is a risk from distilling spirits without due care and attention, but that is a completely different activity.
Your cider will fall clear in time, whether you chill it or not, but it clears faster in the cold. your proposed method should work fine.
Douglas on October 01, 2015:
I've just had a little taste of my cider and it's perfect!
I was just wondering about the risk of blindness? I've been really careful to sterilize everything that I've used, but I've heard rumours of the potential production of methanol? and I was just wondering if you could put my mind at the rest as I have a party on saturday that I'm intending to drink it at.
also, I've brewed 15 litres and the 5litre bottles will definitely not fit in my fridge, so I was wondering if I packed a bin bag filled box with ice and line it with polystyrene and left it out in my hut if it would do the same job?
and lastly, how do I guarantee the cloudyness will subside? because I'd much rather have it clear.
a fast reply would be really appreciated
thanks so much for the recipe!
Douglas on September 27, 2015:
Following your advice I decided to try this cider method, although I improvised by using 5 1 litre cartons with a 5 litre bottle. However, I found that it was "pure apple juice from concentrate". Now, it didn't say anything about preservatives, but is that okay?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on September 19, 2015:
If you add sugar before it is completely stable, it will start fermenting slowly again and probably not fall clear. Not usually a good idea.
Dan1825 on September 19, 2015:
Thx paraglider I will keep it for a month, also if I add sugar to it, would it affect the cider
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on September 18, 2015:
Dan - the sour taste was always there in the apple juice. It is the fruit acid, mostly malic acid. Before fermentation, it is masked by the sugar in the juice. After fermentation, the sugar is all converted to alcohol. Cider is always going to be sourer than beer, for example. But it will mellow if you keep it for a month or so. You don't have to keep it in the fridge, but most people prefer to serve cider cold.
Dan1825 on September 18, 2015:
I have a question. I made my cider it has a really sour tast is that normal plus do I have to put it in a fridge
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on September 11, 2015:
Jamie, yes, and you don't need to use much of the dregs. Start with a new vessel and add some of the dregs to the fresh juice, not the other way round.
Jamie on September 05, 2015:
I'm also in kingdom, I brought some cider yeast out with me to make a batch, can I reuse the yeast dregs left after brewing by adding fresh apple juice and a bit of sugar?
Vegas Elias from Mumbai on August 03, 2015:
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on August 01, 2015:
Hi Caroline - yes, just wipe everything clean with paper kitchen towel and a little boiled water. It will settle down in a day or so and will be fine.
Caroline Cairo on August 01, 2015:
Hi Dave, Yesterday I started 2 one liter masafi bottles and I guess I didn't leave enough room at the top of one and it has bubbled over - now with some dry foam stuck to lid and outside of bottle - can I clean the lid with boiling water and replace of start again?
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on April 13, 2015:
I've used Masafi in the past. It is one of the better supermarket juices. Glad it's working out!
Strongbow on April 10, 2015:
Today is 4th day and it's already taste like Magners. I used
1. MASAFI apple juice 2 ltr (very sweet)
2. 6 tbsp Sugar (melted in microwave with 3 tbsp Water)
3. 1/2 teaspoon Haiko yeast (Very slow reacting baker's yeast)
From the taste I can tell, there is more than 6% alcohol in there.
I don't know how to thank you Paraglider. In my country cider beer is not available anywhere. Strongbow is my favorite.
Dave McClure (author) from Kyle, Scotland on February 24, 2015:
Sugar on its own doesn't ferment well. Yeast needs nutrients and acid. Better to use fruit juice and a proper method.
dillwill on February 23, 2015:
Hi hope yu doing good . ok I add 1 cup of sugar on the same bottle dissolve it and add 1 spoon of yeast after 6 hr it ferment like crazy, after 11 days I decant it to another bottle using modify hose stick then put it in freezer for 4hr bcoz no access to refrigerator .. then I start drinking I can feell little buzz but cant get high.. should I use airlock