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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: robertpreed on November 15, 2011, 06:54:04 am

Title: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: robertpreed on November 15, 2011, 06:54:04 am
Surprisingly, not all my friends like beer (I know, I should reconsider my friends) and some have asked me about brewing something like hard cider in addition to beer.

The variety of recipes I see on this site (that were very carefully put together in a very useful manner) and from google have a wide range of ingredients and techniques.   Most of them call for making 5-6 gallons of the stuff which is far more than I want to make for something as a side project.

I looked at Amazon.com and I see that Mr. Beer makes a cider kit that makes 2 gallons at a time.  Now I imagine the Mr. Beer kit to Cider is as the Mr. Beer kit is to beer.   That is, there will be some things that you will want to adjust from their standard recipes.

Has anyone tried using their kit and does it produce a passable hard cider?

Thanks.

I really just want to brew 1-2 gallons at a time.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: Slowbrew on November 15, 2011, 07:59:51 am
I don't have any experience with any Mr. Beer products so I can't really answer your question directly. 

That being said, why not just scale down one of the recipes you've found on the web?  If the recipe you have makes 5 gallons and you only want 2 gallons you can pretty much multiply the ingredients by .4 (or 2/5) and get your ingredient volumes for 2 gallons.  Cider is pretty straight forward but others with more experience can point out adjustments that might be useful

Good luck!

Paul
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: Jimmy K on November 15, 2011, 08:22:43 am
The Mr. Beer kit is just apple juice concentrate. You can buy that at the grocery store for a lot less money. Or, even better...

Get two gallons of fresh cider. Put in a fermentor with 1/2 a packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee wine yeast (rehydrated). Place the fermentor in the coldest part of your house while it ferments for 1-3 weeks.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: robertpreed on November 15, 2011, 08:39:46 am
The Mr. Beer kit is just apple juice concentrate. You can buy that at the grocery store for a lot less money. Or, even better...

Get two gallons of fresh cider. Put in a fermentor with 1/2 a packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee wine yeast (rehydrated). Place the fermentor in the coldest part of your house while it ferments for 1-3 weeks.

It's that simple?
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: rjharper on November 15, 2011, 08:42:58 am
The Mr. Beer kit is just apple juice concentrate. You can buy that at the grocery store for a lot less money. Or, even better...

Get two gallons of fresh cider. Put in a fermentor with 1/2 a packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee wine yeast (rehydrated). Place the fermentor in the coldest part of your house while it ferments for 1-3 weeks.

It's that simple?

Pretty much,  I use EC-1118 Champagne because I like it dry, but fresh pressed apple cider and yeast is all you need for a simple cider.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 15, 2011, 09:02:03 am
Yes, or go even easier and don't ferment it in a carboy, just ferment it in the jugs it came in.

I like using the cote des blancs yeast, it finishes sweeter than the champagne yeast.  This time I added pectic enzyme and some nutrients, but you don't have to add that.  Definitely ferment cool, they recommend 53-57.  My most recent is a bit cooler than that and still chugging along 2 weeks after a slow start.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 15, 2011, 11:30:33 am
An important thing to note, though, is that it will tend to ferment out dry and tart.

If you want sweet cider, you need to back-sweeten in some fashion which can make it a bit more complicated.

And, if you back-sweeten you need to use sorbate or otherwise make the yeast go dormant.  Or you'll just get stronger dry cider.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: a10t2 on November 15, 2011, 01:30:22 pm
Yes, or go even easier and don't ferment it in a carboy, just ferment it in the jugs it came in.

+1. Just buy cider or apple juice that's been pasteurized, but contains no preservatives. Open cap, dump in yeast, loosely set cap back on top.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: morticaixavier on November 15, 2011, 01:31:28 pm
Yes, or go even easier and don't ferment it in a carboy, just ferment it in the jugs it came in.

+1. Just buy cider or apple juice that's been pasteurized, but contains no preservatives. Open cap, dump in yeast, loosely set cap back on top.

or get cider that has not been pasteurized, loosen the cap and let it go. course you don't know for sure what you will end up with that way.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: dmtaylor on November 15, 2011, 01:57:50 pm
Cider is the easiest thing to make on the planet.  All you really need to do is buy some fresh cider from your local orchard, loosen the cap and let it sit out for a month or two.  This process may or may not make very tasty cider, but you'll certainly get some alcohol this way.

All I do differently is dump the cider into a bucket, add one crushed Campden tablet per gallon, let it sit that way for 24 hours, then sprinkle in a pack of your favorite dry yeast.  Campden kills the bugs, and your yeast makes sure you get a good result.  Cider fermentation produces a ton of sulfur, but don't be scared, it's totally normal and totally disappears in a couple of weeks.

If you want a sweeter cider, I suggest S-04 English ale yeast.  I am running a yeast experiment right now and this is the one finishing the sweetest.  Wine yeasts will all finish at a specific gravity under 1.000, which is very dry and needs backsweetening.  US-05 also ferments very dry.

One more thing -- When specific gravity hits about 1.020 to 1.025, rack it off to a secondary container and add 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate per gallon.  This will slow down fermentation and help prevent it from turning out too dry.  And sorbate also kills bugs that could otherwise contaminate your young cider.
Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: robertpreed on November 15, 2011, 03:48:08 pm
Thanks guys, I'm gonna give it a try....... after all, what goes better in 70 degree winter days in Houston than a hard cider?

Title: Re: Dare I ask, "What About Mr Beer" Cider Kit?
Post by: Jimmy K on November 16, 2011, 01:31:02 pm
I like Premier Cuvee because its cold tolerant to ~40F. I used it last year with cider fermenting in my garage in December/January and them outside temp was just over 40F. The results blew my mind over previous room temp fermentations.

This probably isn't a concern in Houston though.