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Beverage Making Beer, wine, mead, soda, cider, spirits, cordials, etc.

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Old 09-04-2014, 03:51 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Default Hard Cider and Apple Jack

Looks like this weekend is the start of peak season for our local apple orchard.

I'm going to buy 10 gallons of fresh apple cider and start a batch of hard cider. Depending on how it turns out, I'll turn X amount into Apple Jack.

Time to buy a few more carboys I guess. Getting quite a collection of them in the basement.

The neighbor who never goes into his backyard but has an apple tree has given us free reign to raid his tree. I was going to press some cider from those apples, but would have to buy some sort of press .. maybe next year.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:24 PM
papa bear papa bear is offline
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do you have a press? if not they are easy to make. lot of designs on the web
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:37 PM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
do you have a press? if not they are easy to make. lot of designs on the web
If I get\make one more piece of equipment to find a home for in our home, then the GF will boot me out until I put up a pole barn.

Therefore, this year, I think I will use the orchards cider.

yknowwhatImean?

oh heck, now I'm starting to sound like Wyo.
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:50 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Picked up 5 gallons of cider, some yeast, and local honey. First batch is in the primary fermenter.

I plan to pick up another 5 gallons of cider from a different orchard, might try a different yeast for the second batch.

Yum.
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:22 PM
Knowitall Male Knowitall is offline
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Do you plan to use any kind of yeast nutrient? I've never made cider, so I don't know if apple juice needs an addition or not.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:19 AM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Do you plan to use any kind of yeast nutrient? I've never made cider, so I don't know if apple juice needs an addition or not.
Sorry, just saw this post - I used an acid blend, pectic enzyme, and yeast nutrient in the mix.

Recipe is from the "Winemaker's Recipe Handbook" by Raymond Massaccesi. Has all sorts of different wine recipes, including chokecherry, dandelion, and a lot of other stuff you can gather wild.
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:22 AM
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Apple jack is something you need a still for. I did post awhile ago about the old time process. The FDA put out a warning that it also concentrates methonal which is a poison.
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Old 12-05-2014, 08:15 AM
Mad_Professor Mad_Professor is offline
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Apple jack is something you need a still for. I did post awhile ago about the old time process. The FDA put out a warning that it also concentrates methonal which is a poison.

You can also make it by partial freezing and pouring off the concentrated alcohol
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:02 PM
papa bear papa bear is offline
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Apple jack is something you need a still for. I did post awhile ago about the old time process. The FDA put out a warning that it also concentrates methonal which is a poison.
Just to say that in our area, Apple jack is the same as hard cider. most of the time it refers to cider that has been left to naturally ferment

if you distill hard cider, then it will be called brandy , or apple brandy, same as all wines. if you distill beer it is called whiskey

Methanol or wood alcohol is made in the first tailings, which is the first 5% of the runnings. smells a lot like finger nail polish remover. then after that you have the Ethanol, which is safer to drink, well as safe as a toxin can be.

Edit; my correction, the first part of the run is called the "leads". Tailings are when you hit your finishing temps

Last edited by papa bear; 12-06-2014 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:50 PM
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Just to say that in our area, Apple jack is the same as hard cider. most of the time it refers to cider that has been left to naturally ferment

if you distill hard cider, then it will be called brandy , or apple brandy, same as all wines. if you distill beer it is called whiskey

Methanol or wood alcohol is made in the first tailings, which is the first 5% of the runnings. smells a lot like finger nail polish remover. then after that you have the Ethanol, which is safer to drink, well as safe as a toxin can be.

Edit; my correction, the first part of the run is called the "leads". Tailings are when you hit your finishing temps
Cider femented naturally or with yeast is still cider. The history is different, apple jack historically was produced by jacking also known as freeze distillation and fractational freezing in todays brew terms. The british brought it with them and was picked up by samuel adams, the most famous brewer in america in my opinion. I have his recipe somewhere in my mess called a home. Anything produced by the jack method was called jack, peach jack, apple jack, cherry jack etc. It was first made into a hard cider often written in those times cyder. It was then allowed to turn to slush over the brutal new england winter and the slush was removed, producing a harder form of cider that isn't quite as stong as brandy known in new england as apple jack.

It was at one point used as a form of currency though memory elludes me as to which state it was. The most famous jacker was Robert Laird who founded the Laird distillery that survives today and produces a distilled form that is basically apple brandy and not the original product. It was Robert Laird who was once asked by none other then George Washington for his recipe then called cyder spirits.

In areas of the colonies without access to clean drinking water it was apple jack that was the most precious drink you could find. The process died out in the mid 19th century, with more and more distillers finding more economical processes.

The cider started at about 10% abv and ended at 30-40% abv depending on the winter.

Back then fruit based spirits were the best and easiest to produce as well as the best way to preserve the harvest. Today's product is blended and far from the slightly sweet product of old.

The following is educational only, I do not distill or condone distilling in areas that it is illegal.


The methonal is known as the shot in distilling. I think it smells more like paint stripper. Around 150 degrees to 180 degrees f you will be producing methanol. This is the shot, I have heard of holding at 179 degrees until the trickle stops, but a general rule of thumb is to toss away the first 50 mL (reflux still) you collect (per 20 L mash used), or 100-200 mL from a pot still. Then at 181 degrees the trickle from the still turns into a gush and your run begins and your into your leads. Then the end of your tailings ends at 197 degrees. After this point if you continue you end up with the fusul oils which impact the flavor and scent of your likker. I've heard of the lead being saved, and the likker produced at 186 degrees to 197 being added back into the still for the next wash along with more mash for the next run until there is no more mash left.
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