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making hard cider soon, looking for tips

 
pollinator
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so I have a couple different varieties of apples to chose from including crab apples. I have already ordered the cider press and I plan on ordering champagne yeast today... my goal is to make some type of alcohol-containing drink from the juice of the apples I have available on the property. I have done a little research and it seems pretty simple but wanted to see if anyone had some tips or info. Does anyone have any experience in using crab apples for this type of thing? Thanks in advance!
 
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Aaron, it sounds like you are set up for success! I've used both ale and champagne yeast to make hard cider, I prefer the dry (and harder) product from champagne- though it's personal preference. My one tip regarding crab-apples is that they need a lot more time in the bottle to round out. even after 6 months I found it a little green. I've never had the discipline to cellar a bottle past 2 years, but they were the very best tasting bottles, so I'm going to try very very hard to leave at least one bottle from my latest batch for 3 years and see.
Good luck. Will you take pictures and post the process?
 
Aaron Tusmith
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Hey thanks for your input, I have never attempted this before so it will all be new to me. I do have one question that came up in some research. I noticed that in one recipe it said it was extremely important to sterilize the containers very well beforehand. I am just curious why this would be so important actually. Of course everything would be clean, but sterile?
 
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Sterilization is arguably the most important thing there is when it comes to fermenting things to drink. The most common chemicals used have been Camden tablets, sodium or potassium metabisulfite, or boiling water. You want yeast to be the only living thing in the solution when  it starts out. One thing that sets apples apart from most other wine sources is their high content of malic acid. This allows a second "malolactic" fermentation to take place as the cider ages, which gives it it's distinctive taste and an extra pearl. But this fermentation is bacterial, not from yeast. You can risk letting wild strains do their thing, just as you can with wild yeasts, but it is safer to innoculate it with known cultures. Another interesting fact is that apple cider does not suffer from the deleterious effects of temperature swings that most wines do.
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