DIY Project — Apple Cider Fermentation

Before prohibition, cider was the most popular drink in America. Cider ferments when yeast eats sugar in the apple juice and excretes carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Ingredients and Materials

1-gal. glass bottle*/†
Airlock and one-hole stopper — either three piece or bubbler*
Potassium metabisulfite* (optional sterilizer)
Autosiphon* (optional)
Four wine (700-ml) or eight pint-sized fliptop bottles*/† (be sure they can hold pressure)
Measuring cups and spoons

1 gal. Apple Juice (no preservatives or additives except citric acid)
Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast* (can also use champaign yeast)
* available at local brew store
† available at most grocery stores
(Northern Brewer is a good resource but please patronize your local brew shop)


  1. Boil 1 qt. water, mix 1/2 t potassium metabisulfite in a cup of boiled water. Wash all utensils, bottles, and materials in sterilizer and then rinse with remaining boiled water. Invert and let air dry.
  2. Drop 1 t (scant) yeast into the gallon bottle and pour in 1 gal. (minus 1 c) juice. Put the lid on the bottle and mix.
  3. Insert the one-hole stopper and then the airlock into the stopper. Fill the airlock with the now-cool boiled water.
  4. Let jar sit in cool space where it won’t be bothered for a month. After a few days, be sure that bubbles are coming to the surface. If not, pitch in another scant teaspoon of yeast (this is rare). Check on the jar each week, making sure the airlock is topped up with water.
  5. After the bubbling has stopped (usually a bit less than a month), clean the bottles with the same method as above (Note, if you are going to get another batch going, you can start at step 1 with the next batch in parallel to this step; use the extra cup of apple juice from that batch to finish this recipe). Add 2 oz apple juice to each pint bottle and/or 4 oz to each wine bottle (this adds carbonation). For sweetness, add 1/2 t Truvia to each pint bottle and/or 1 t Truvia to each wine bottle (vary according to taste after a few test runs) (the yeast cannot digest the Truvia).
  6. Use the autosiphon to empty the gallon jar being careful not to dislodge the yeast settled on the bottom. This can go into a sterile container with a spout to be poured into bottles using a funnel or right into the bottles directly (which is difficult to do).
  7. Close bottles and let sit for at least another month. Pop a top occasionally to test for carbonation.
  8. Chill and Enjoy.

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