Making homemade hard apple cider from juice is probably one of the simplest recipes for homebrew. It’s also incredibly refreshing and delicious.
Here are a few of the reasons why you should totally try making hard apple cider from juice:
- Simple: Using store-bought jugs of juice eliminates the need to sterilize equipment. Just add the ingredients, pop in a $2 airlock and you’re done.
- Dry or sweet: I like really dry cider, so I let my cider keep fermenting until it is as dry as possible. If you like sweet cider, then stick it in the fridge early.
- Fun fruit flavours: Making blueberry apple cider or raspberry apple cider is easy! Just use a mix of fruit juices for a fun and flavourful cider.
- Affordable: Apple juice is much cheaper than hard apple cider. And if you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree, then using your own pressed apples means that making hard apple cider from juice is practically free!
- Sulfite free: Store-bought cider contains a lot of sulfites. Even if you don’t have a sulfite allergy, you may be sensitive to the load of sulfites in commercial hard cider. However, homemade cider is sulfite-free!
Newbies Start Here
If this is your first time making homemade cider or wine, then here are a few things you should know:
- This recipe can be made without added sugar or yeast nutrient, however, it won’t ferment very well, and you’ll end up with low alcohol and flat cider. Here’s a different recipe if you want to make a simple fruit juice cider.
- I recommend getting a hydrometer. They are only about $20 and will help you measure the sugar levels and tell you when your cider is ready for bottling.
- Sanitizing the bottles isn’t required, however, it is the best way to prevent your cider from going off. Here’s a whole post on the different ways to sanitize for making cider and wine.
- Want more information on making cider and wine? Here’s a basic overview of everything you need to know.
Hard Apple Cider From Juice
Using store-bought apple juice is the easiest way to make hard apple cider. This simple recipe is so delicious and easy to customize. Best of all, homemade apple cider is sulfite free!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 gallon 1x
- Category: Alcohol
- Be sure to sanitize anything that is going to touch the cider. If you are fermenting in a store-bought jug of apple juice, then you will only need to sanitize for racking and bottling.
- Remove 1/2 cup of juice from the jug. This will leave enough room to prevent the fermentation from bubbling over. I recommend testing the sugar content of your apple juice using a hydrometer. It needs to be at least 1.050. Feel free to add up to 1 cup of sugar. This will increase the potential alcohol content and/or sweeten the cider (depending on the length of fermentation).
- Add the yeast nutrient and the yeast. Put the cap back on your bottle of juice and give it a good shake to mix everything up.
- Remove the lid and top the bottle with an airlock.
- If you are using unfiltered apple juice, then you will need to rack the cider to a clean jug after 1 week. If you are using filtered apple juice, then racking isn’t necessary.
- Allow the cider to ferment for 2-4 weeks (1-3 weeks after racking) prior to bottling. Exactly how long you leave the cider to ferment will depend on your personal taste. If you like sweet cider, bottle after 2 weeks. Wait 4 weeks for a dry cider.
- If there is a lot of sediment in your fermentation jug (dead yeast), then rack prior to bottling.
- To prime the carbonation, add mix the 1/8 cup of white sugar or dextrose in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Then mix the sugar-water into the cider just before bottling.
- Leave the bottled cider to ferment at room temperature for another 1-2 weeks, until it is carbonated. Then store the cider in the fridge and enjoy within 2 months. Because this recipe is a sulfite-free recipe the cider is not shelf-stable and will continue to ferment, even in the fridge. So if you like sweet cider, drink it within 1 month.
- If you are using homemade apple juice, you will need to pasturize it to prevent contamination from wild mold, yeast and bacteria. To pasturize the juice, bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then pour into the fermenting jug and allow to cool to just above room temperature before adding the yeast.
- Don’t use apple juice that contains additional sugar, preservatives or additives. All you want on the label is juice and maybe Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
- Don’t use juice made from concentrate. It just won’t taste good.
- Feel free to use juice that is a mix of apple and berries. Avoid citrus, bananas and tropical fruits which may change the nature of the ferment.
- A hydrometer isn’t necessary, however, it’s the easiest way to test how much sugar is in the apple juice and when it is ready for bottling. Otherwise, you can just guestimate using the recipe.
- I like to use brown sugar, which adds a depth of flavour, however, white sugar is fine as well.
- Be sure to use bottles that can handle the build up of carbonation. Either plastic pop bottles or flip-top beer/cider bottles. Test for carbonation by squeezing on a plastic bottle or popping open one of the flip-top bottles.
Keywords: apple cider, berry cider, fruit cider, hard, alcoholic, simple, store-bought juice, spring, summer