My "Kit Cider" how to.

Discussion in 'Wine & Cider Discussions' started by ScottM, Jan 14, 2013.

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  1. Jan 14, 2013 #1

    ScottM

    ScottM

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    Ok so this is going to be a very straight forward guide on how I make a kit cider. I've had a few goes at it now and from the attempts that I've had I've changed my method a little each time.

    Firstly, as with most kits, there isn't really enough to go around. The contents and estimates are generally a little bit ambitious for my liking, but rather than brew a batch short I tend to add more of the primary ingredient in order to brew to the full volume.

    So, for this little guide I'm using a Ritchies On The Rocks Mixed Berry kit. The kit has a can with 1.7L of concentrated juice (I believe it's a mix of apple and grape, to help with the strength and to give a more subtle flavour). There is also a small sachet of yeast/sweetener and a pouch with flavouring/sweetener. As far as I'm aware all Ritchies kits have the same concentrate and it's the flavour sachet that makes the difference with regards to the flavour you are brewing... quite a feat considering the size of the thing lol.

    So... to make it exactly like I do this is the ingredients required, feel free to chop and change as you wish but I would recommend at least trying this out for yourself, it does make a difference. Obviously the kit/flavour can be whichever you choose.

    Ritches OTR Mixed Berry Cider Kit
    3L of Apple Juice (from concentrate or fresh is fine, I use Asda Smart Price 1L from concentrate cartons do NOT use the 1.5L ones)
    18L of bottled water (Does away with any chlorine etc you have in your tap water. 17p per 2L means £1.53 for the water. Not really a dealbreaker).
    1.3kg Granulated sugar (I don't believe in using dextrose in ciders, I WANT the fruity tones and flavours to develop).


    Equipment:

    2 Buckets (One primary/bottling bucket, one secondary)
    Syphoning equipment
    Stirring Paddle/Spoon
    Steriliser
    Large Pot
    Hydrometer
    Thermometer (I use LCD strips on every FV I have)
    Bottles/Cap/Capper
    Airlock/Bung
    Can Opener
    Fridge

    Instructions:

    If you can have 10L of water in the fridge along with the apple juice. This will help bring the temps level when mixing.
    Thoroughly clean/sterilise everything that's going to come into contact with your brew post boil. During boil doesn't need sterilised, just cleaned.
    Boil 3L of the bottled water in a large pot, capacity of at least 6L
    Add the sugar to the boiling water and stir to dissolve.
    Open the can and empty the contents.
    Pour some boiling water into the can to rinse as much of the contents out as you can into the mix (I just boil a half cup of water in the kettle to add)
    Bring back to the boil while stirring everything in then take off the heat. Doesn't require any boil time, it's more about getting the pitching temp right.
    Pour the apple juice and a couple of bottles of cold water into the clean/sterile FV.
    Pour the wort in on top.
    Top up with the rest of the water up to the 23L mark.
    Hopefully your temp should be good for pitching (lower mid 20s) but if it's not give it time to stabilise.
    Once the temps are stable it's time to take a reading. You should see approx 1.048 if following this guide to the letter, temp will obviously have an impact.
    Pitch the yeast, seal and store at approx 20-22 degrees for 14 days.
    After 12 days check the FG. You should be seeing under 1.000, anything between 0.995 and 1.000 I would consider ideal.
    Move the FV to it's racking position, so that you are not disturbing anything when it comes to transferring to secondary.
    Check again over the next 2 days to make sure the gravity is stable, if it is you are good to go.


    Secondary:

    Sterilise secondary vessel along with all syphoning equipment.
    Transfer the contents into a clean/sterile secondary vessel being careful not to suck up too much of the dead yeast on the bottom.
    Empty the contents of the flavour pouch into the secondary and give a thorough stir, while trying not to splash too much. Make sure the flavour is mixed well then re-seal for another 14 days minimum (I tend to go for a month or 2 here).


    Bottling:

    Move secondary to racking location 2 days prior to bottling (to re-settle the contents)
    Sterilise bottles, bottling bucket (I re-use the primary FV) and syphoning equipment.
    Add 200g of sugar to a cup and pour boiling water in to dissolve it. Mix thoroughly.
    Pour the sugar mix into the bottling bucket and syphon the contents of the secondary on top.
    Give a good mix with a spoon/paddle, again being careful not to splash.
    Rack contents into bottles and cap.
    Store the bottles at approx 20 degrees (room temp) for 14 days.
    Move the bottles to as cool an area as possible, the closer to zero the better, for a further 14 days (minimum).
    Refrigerate and enjoy!


    Brewing exactly as above will have this kit, IMO, at it's best. It will be approx 6-6.5%, so fairly potent but FULL of flavour. It's a reasonably medium/sweet cider that just about everyone enjoys. Certainly everyone I gave a sample to LOVED it, I found myself struggling to make do with just the 1 bottle.

    Anyway, guide can be used with any cider kit. The above is my current method for brewing all cider kits. If I make any changes I'll be sure to update :D
     
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  2. Jan 20, 2013 #2

    ScottM

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    Just moved it to secondary. Brewing the kit exactly as above has seen an OG of 1.047 and an FG of 1.000. My hydrometer is a little questionable but the points drop should be accurate (47). With this in mind the ABV is 6.13%, perfect :D
     
  3. Apr 11, 2013 #3

    gl0ckage

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    Why can't you use the 1.5L apple juice?
     
  4. Apr 12, 2013 #4

    ScottM

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    You possibly can, I don't think there's anything bad added, but it does have additives that the 1L 100% from concentrate doesn't. Basically the 1L cartons are 100% from concentrate (good) and the 1.5L cartons are not (not so good).
     
  5. Apr 12, 2013 #5

    gl0ckage

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    Ah damn because I bought some of the 1.5L on my online shop, I'll take it back when it arrives.
     
  6. Apr 12, 2013 #6

    ScottM

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    Always follow the instructions :p
     
  7. May 5, 2013 #7

    svenjohanson

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    Hi.
    Just a quick question as a newbie.......
    Just cracked open my first bottle of my first completed batch of kit cider and it is as flat as a pancake. No life at all.
    I followed the instructions to the letter, the only thing that has been a bit random has been the temperature. I don't have a heat belt / mat, so I couldn't control it, just sat the bucket next to the radiator in my kitchen. It's always warm there.
    I've left the brew for 2 weeks in my shed (cold) after one week warm in the bottles (as per instructions).
    Any ideas please. Thank you.
    Svenster :)
     
  8. May 6, 2013 #8

    ScottM

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    Instructions was 2 weeks in the warm ;)
     
  9. Nov 17, 2013 #9

    Trucker5685

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    Well I've just bottled this today, followed it to the letter, hydrometer readings were 1052 and finished at 998 so according to the calculator on this site it gives an ABV of 7.2% :shock: which seems a little high but if it's right I think I'll run my car on it lol.
    Hopefully after 2 warm weeks and 2 cold weeks it'll be a lovely drink but I've read cider takes quite a long time to condition
     
  10. Jan 30, 2014 #10

    sweetiebrew

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    After my last cider was a total disaster ( samson) I almost gave up untill I saw this post. I purchased OTR apple & have followed these instructions to the letter..well almost! At the mo im at the secondary stage. Just added favouring. Leaving for 2 weeks now. Tastes good already ( well I couldn't resist) fingers crossed this batch will be good.. reading 6.8alc bring it on! :cheers:
     
  11. Jan 31, 2014 #11

    marksa222

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    Have you ever made TC, and if so, how do you think this way of making a kit compares?

    I've never seen a cider kit that has more than half good reviews, so I've not bothered and just gone with TC for now.
     
  12. Jan 31, 2014 #12

    sweetiebrew

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    I have never brewed TC but never say never I say! I drink the cider & my partner drinks the Ale! Lol :drink:
     
  13. Nov 27, 2014 #13

    Brewm_Wagon

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    This is my first home brew so found the guide really useful. Unfortunately I'm a Muppet that can't follow instructions so ended up putting the favouring in at the beginning with the rest of the can.

    Has this ruined the brew or will it make no difference? I'm on day 12 tomorrow so thinking about moving it into the 2nd tv, is there anything I could do to sort it out?
     
  14. Dec 6, 2014 #14

    Deltabrew

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    It just means you've lost the taste/flavour as it will have fermented out, it tends not to do this if you add it at the secondary stage.
    Bang some more in....
     
  15. May 11, 2015 #15

    ppmyboy

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    Hi, do you not add a sweetener, ie Splenda, or something similar ?
     
  16. Sep 26, 2016 #16

    Jakeyboi

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    Just put this in the FV, I added 1.5kg of sugar instead of the 1.3kg. OG Was 1050 😎. Should feel the buzz from that, especially as it's for the wife 😉. Anyway will report back in a month or so.
     
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  17. Nov 24, 2016 #17

    ninja_geeze

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    Hi total newb to cider brewing ,followed this to the letter except for Tesco apple juice not Asda. 6 days in and fermentation seems all but stopped was going crazy until today.kept at a constant 21.22 c using a thermostatic heater.should i wait until 12 days still before taking SG reading ?

    thanks
     
  18. Nov 24, 2016 #18

    Jakeyboi

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    Great guide Scott! I brewed this on 26/09/16, used 1500g granulated sugar, 3l of apple juice brewed to 23l.
    O.G 1050
    F.G 1000
    2 weeks primary @ 22C
    2 weeks secondary @ 20C
    Batch primed with 225G granulated sugar for bottling
    Been bottled nearly 6 weeks and it tastes great. I'm surprised how sweet this has turned out. Mixed berry has come through nicely. It looks great in the glass, nice fizz and a thin white heat down to the bottom which I've never seen on a cider before. Most importantly the MRS loves it. Very happy Indeed!
     
  19. Nov 24, 2016 #19

    Jakeyboi

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    Yes. It will drop a couple points on your hydrometer in the next week even if it looks finished. Always leave primary for 2 weeks.

    Jake
     
  20. Nov 25, 2016 #20

    ninja_geeze

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    Brilliant thanks :thumb:
     

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