|Home brew cider is not difficult to make, you just need apples or a good quality unpreserved apple juice, a good recipe and some basic wine making equipment. There are many specific apple varieties known as cider apples but it may be difficult to get the exact right variety unless you live near an orchard. It is even more difficult to get hold of the right Cider pears. In that case you may have to settle for any decent apples/pears from the supermarket. In case you go for apple or pear juice - make sure it is not preserved, or you will get a fermentation problem.|
The basic recipe for cider contains:
If you are making still cider, you can preserve it at the end of fermentation, using a home brew stabiliser sachet (potassium sorbate and sodium metabisulphite), or by using campden tablets. The advantage of this is that your cider will stay fresh and unoxidised for longer and it will also be possible to add a fining agent to get it crystal clear. For sparkling cider, you can not add preservative as you will need a secondary fermentation inside the bottles (or the keg - Rotokeg or similar). You still rack it off and remove as much sediment as you can before bottling, but you can not use a fining agent as you want some amount of yeast left in there for the secondary fermentation to take place.
Cider recipe with sweetener
For still ciders, it is possible to add sweeteners such as honey, or apple juice after the fermentation for a better balanced cider (or else it may be bone dry). For a sparkling cider again, you can't do that as it would just ferment away. If you want a final sweetness in the sparkling cider, you can either use unfermentable sugars (hard to get hold of), or use a cider yeast with a sweetener added (non-fermentable). The Better Brew range offers one of these (available in most home brew shops).
Magnum Cider making kitsThe Magnum cider kit range contains a special cider yeast with sweetener included. This will ensure a medium level of final sweetness, preventing the ciders from fermenting down to bone dry. This is also an unusually fully flavoured range of ciders for home brew kits. Most homebrew specialists stock this range but if you can't find it, contact Hambleton Bard Homebrew for your nearest full range homebrew supplier stocking home brew cider making kits.