Ciderworks Cider Kit Instructions
These instructions are based on the, but the process is similar for other brands.
- Large pouch of fruit juice.
- 1kg bag of brewing sugar (glucose powder).
- Priming sugar (glucose powder).
- Oak chips (oaked cider only).
- Sweetener sachet.
- Elderflower sachet (elderflower cider only).
- Fruit flavouring (certain types only)
- Clean and sterilise your fermenter, lid, thermometer, hydrometer, and mixing paddle with Wineworks Cleaner & Steriliser, rinsing with clean water as per the steriliser instructions. Make sure your fermenting container is marked on the outside with a measurement showing 23 litres. This will be useful later.
- Carefully cut across the top of the concentrate pouch and pour the contents into your sterilised fermenter, then rinse out any remains using warm water and add to the fermenter.
- Boil 3 litres of water and add to the fermenter. Add the 1kg of Brewing Sugar (glucose powder) and stir until dissolved.
- Top up to 23 litres with cold tap water and stir well, checking the liquid temperature is between 20°C to 25°C as we do this. Then add the contents of the cider yeast and cider sweetener sachets. For a medium dry cider add half of the sweetener and for a medium sweet cider, add the whole sachet, then stir to mix. At this point add the Elderflowers in the ‘tea bag’ sachet if making the Elderflower Cider. For the ‘Oaked Cider’ add the oak chips sachet
- Take a hydrometer reading, stir and take a second hydrometer reading. The two should be the same. If it’s higher, repeat the process until the two readings match. Make a note of your final hydrometer reading and keep in a safe place. We might need this later.
- Fit an airlock and grommet to the fermenter lid and then secure the lid to the fermenter, making sure the seal is airtight. Half fill the airlock with water to protect the cider during fermentation.
- Ensure the cider is kept at a constant warm temperature of between 20-25°C for at least 6 days (see below for when to barrel or bottle your cider). If for some reason the airlock hasn’t started to bubble after 48 hours then check the gravity with your hydrometer to see if it has dropped from the one you took at the start. If it has then everything is going well and the lack of bubbles probably means gas is escaping from the lid or where the airlock is inserted. Check the lid is secure and add a dab of Vaseline around the airlock grommet which will help afford a good seal.
- Good temperature control is important for cider quality and timely fermentation. Below 20°C fermentation time will be much longer than 6 days, below 16°C fermentation will stop altogether. Use a heat pad, brew belt or thermostatically controlled immersion heater if the room temperature is below 20°C. At temperatures of above 25°C cider quality will be reduced. Above temperatures of 29°C the yeast can die & stop working. For more information on temperature control see our video. here: Controlling the Temperature of your Fermentation.
- After 6 days check the Specific Gravity (S.G.) with a Hydrometer and record the reading. For help on understanding Hydrometer readings please go to: How to use a Hydrometer .
- Re-check the S.G. on day 7. If the reading is the same or higher then proceed. If the reading is lower, then leave to ferment for longer and re-check the S.G. every day until you get the same reading. The S.G. must be stable before adding the flavouring. The finishing S.G. will be below 1003 for the Apple, Mixed Berry and Elderflower ciders, and below 1006 for the Pear, and also the Strawberry & Pear.
- If there is a flavouring sachet included, this should be added to the cider now. Important Warning: The Specific Gravity must be stable for 24 hours before bottling. Never bottle before fermentation is complete.
Barreling your cider:
Siphon the cider off the sediment into a sterilised barrel. Dissolve the pack of priming sugar in 350ml of hot water and add to the barrel with the cider. Seal then shake the barrel (which should be fitted with a suitable pressure release valve) to mix. Leave in a warm place for 3 to 5 days (preferably 5 days) for the secondary fermentation to take place. After this period, transfer to a cool place for 7 days to clear. See serving & storage below.
Never leave the barrel in a place where a leak could cause damage to furniture or flooring.
Bottling your cider:
Siphon the clear cider off the sediment into clean and sterilised bottles leaving 50ml of head space. These bottles should be designed to hold pressure so should be PET (the plastic bottles carbonated drinks come in), glass Grolsch style bottles with flip tops, or standard beer bottles which take crown caps. Green, or even better brown PET, bottles are preferential as the colour restricts the transmission of UV light which in turn keeps the cider fresher for longer. Do not use any bottles that have not held pressure (like wine bottles).
Next, dissolve the priming sugar in 350ml of hot water add 10ml of this solution per pint (560ml) or pro rata. Seal the bottles and leave in a warm place for 3 to 5 days (but preferably 5 days) for the secondary fermentation to take place. After this period, transfer to a cool place for 7 days to clear. See serving & storage below.
Serving and Storage
Your cider is ready to drink as soon as it’s clear, but for a smoother cider, leave it somewhere cool and dark to condition for a further 2 weeks. Serve chilled. For bottled ciders, pour slowly and carefully to avoid bottle sediment being transferred to your glass. Some Useful Additional information.
Temperature: This is very important as the yeast can be easily killed if it’s too hot or too cold. We are able to offer heat trays (the container can sit on this during fermentation), brew belts (which wrap around the bucket) or immersion heaters (which drop inside the container and remain in the liquid throughout fermentation) if you have a problem in this area.
We like the immersion heater, as it can be thermostatically set so it’s easy to maintain the temperature. The heat trays are also great but work best when used with a time clock.
See the video on temperature (/videos/product-demos/temperature-control/) for more information.
Never allow your fermentation to exceed 25°C as this will reduce the quality of your brew.
Airlocks: If using a grommet in the bucket lid it might be good to make sure you have a good seal. If it does not bubble through the airlock check the seal and add some food grade approved Vaseline.
ABV (Alcohol By Volume): By taking a hydrometer reading at the start and the finish we can accurately work out the ABV of the Beer. Simply take one from the other and divide this by 7.5 to give you the ABV. For example Start Gravity 1040 finish 1008 drop is 32 divided by 7.5 is approx. 4.3%.
Hydrometer: This can be placed directly into the bucket and the reading should be taken off the liquid line. There are instructions inside but we also have a video showing how to use this. The priming sugar solution is designed to add at the rate of 10ml per 570ml bottle. You will need to adjust accordingly depending on the size of your bottle. We also sell a syringe which will help you measure this out.
Bottles: If you are looking for a fully carbonated drink (like a commercial Cider you would buy) then the only way to achieve this is by bottling. Any PET bottle that has held a carbonated drink (like Lemonade or Coke for example) will do the job. We prefer glass but make sure they have been designed to hold pressure. The standard heavy brown (or sometimes you can get clear) pint and Grolsch style (the ones with the flip top lids) are perfect. The little bottler is great for helping with this (/videos/ beer-making-videos/bottling-your-beer-the-easy-way/).
Barrelling: Always check your barrel before transferring the cider to make sure it will hold pressure. They should be fitted with a suitable pressure release valve. The rubbers on these valves need changing on a fairly regular basis. Also check there are no leaks around the tap area as again the rubber washers need changing ever so often. For safety, never store the barrel in an area where it could cause damage to furnishing if it were to leak.
The best method to check is to fill the barrel half full of clean water, screw on the cap (with safety valve fitted) and inject some CO2 gas. Lower the barrel into a bath of water and rotate so that all parts of the barrel dipped under water. If any bubbles start coming out then you know you have a leak which needs to be addressed before adding your cider.