Hard Cider without Pressing Apples


By Janet Crowe

My experience with cider from pressing apples/fresh cider from the cidery was not good, as I couldn’t seem to get a clean flavor, the cider began fermenting before I added yeast – even after adding campden tablets, and it was expensive, especially when it failed. There are many benefits of the method I ended up using:

– Very easy

– Very little equipment necessary

– More inexpensive than purchasing commercial cider

– Creative with add-ins

– such as fruit or oak chips or bourbon

– Can ferment right in the juice container, on the kitchen counter even.

– Can have multiple 1 gallon batches with different fruit or spices going at the same time.

– Racking not necessary.


Apple Juice, Pear Juice (Perry), raspberry or any other fruit juice

100% Juice – the best is “not from concentrate” minimizes the risk of mold contamination.

Pasteurization is not a problem.

No Sulfites/Sulfates – Preservatives are a killer. Potassium Sulphate and Sodium Benzoate will stop yeast from budding.

Limit Additives – Some (such as ascorbic acid) are difficult to avoid. Ascorbic acid will not affect fermentation.

Kirkland Apple Juice (from Costco) or CVS generic Apple Juice Yeast, you have many choices:

– Brewers yeast – Wit – Saison – English Ale – Fermentation will take a little longer, with drier, tarter results.

– Cider Yeast

–Mangrove Jack – results will be slightly sweeter and more apple taste.


Unlike beer, apple juice really doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients.

– Diammonium Phosphate

– Fermaid-K

– Yeast Energizer


1) Reserve some of the juice (keep refrigerated)

2) Transfer juice to clean/sanitized fermentation container

3) Add nutrients

4) Aerate

5) Add Yeast

6) Aerate

7) Put on Air Lock

Leave until fermentation is complete and drops clear, 1 to 2 weeks. Transferring to secondary is optional. I have added my fruit straight into the original container.

Transfer to Growler or keg. Add reserved juice back – keep cold. If not drinking right away and want to keg or bottle, you will need to add campden tablets and Potassium Sorbate. You will want to ensure that yeast is stopped and will not restart.

If you add campden tablets and Potassium Sorbate, then you can force carbonate for sparkling cider.

After fermentation is complete, you can: – Back sweeten – more apple juice or other natural juice flavoring

– Add spices

– Add whole fruit (talk about fruit – frozen is an alternative. Unsweetened – better taste results.)