Dirty Water New England Cider

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This cider recipe is courtesy of Drew Beechum, fermented beverage extraordinaire, and is in his book The Everything Hard Cider Book.

Drew Beechum created this cider recipe in honor of the Boston Red Sox and the hit song “Dirty Water” by The Standells played after every home-game victory. It drinks dry, but not too dry, and incorporates brown sugar to get around that messy molasses stick while still retaining that unmistakable molasses flavor.

Dirty Water New England Cider | Other Specialty Cider/Perry


  • For 5 US gallons (18.9 L)
    • 1/2 lb. (227 g) raisins
    • 2 lb. (907 g) dark brown sugar (preferably a British brand like Billington's)
    • 5 gal. (18.9 L) apple juice, balanced to acidic (high acid/low tannin)
    • 1 packet Lalvin EC-1118 dried wine yeast
    • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) yeast nutrient


    • Original Gravity: 1.049 (varies by juice)
    • Final Gravity: 1.000
    • ABV: 6.5% by volume (adjust your OG for more or less ABV)


    Clean your fermenting vessel with a non-soap detergent like OxiClean Free (scent and dye-free). Rinse well and air dry. You must rinse the vessel clean. Any trace residue will end up in your cider and cause off flavors!

    Sanitize your fermentation vessel and 2 sheets of aluminum foil. If using bleach, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water (4 mL bleach per liter of water). Soak for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with boiled, cooled water and air dry upside down. (For other sanitizers, follow manufacturer directions.)

    Boil 1 pint (473 mL) of water, and let cool to 105°F (40°C). Mix in a pinch of yeast nutrient and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Cover with sanitized aluminum foil and let sit for 15 minutes.

    Warm the apple juice to 60°F (16°C).

    Meanwhile, combine the raisins and brown sugar in a pot with 3 cups (710 mL) of cold water. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve. Add the boiled syrup and raisin mixture to your sanitized fermenter.

    Add the juice to the fermenter, and mix in the foamy yeast. Cover with more sanitized foil, and place somewhere dark and cool, preferably around 60°F (16°C). An interior closet works for most people.

    Condition the cider for a minimum of 3 months before enjoying.

    To bottle still cider (without carbonation), siphon the cider from the fermenter, being careful to avoid the muck at the bottom, into each of your sanitized plastic bottles. Fill completely. Stop the flow of cider by pinching the tube before moving the hose to the next bottle. Screw on the caps, chill the cider in your fridge, and drink when cool. Serve around 50°F (10°C).