Sweet Heat

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Jeff Carlson of Grand Rapids, MI, member of the PrimeTime Brewers, won a gold medal in Category #28: Specialty Cider and Perry during the 2014 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Grand Rapids, MI. Carlson’s Specialty Cider and Perry was chosen as the best among 101 final round entries in the category.

To see other winning homebrew recipes from the 2014 National Homebrew Competition, visit our archive of National Homebrew Competition winners.

Sweet Heat | Common Cider


  • For 5.5 Gallons (20.82 L)
    • 5.5 gal (22.71 L) Uncle John’s Cider Mill (St. Johns, MI) Heirloom Blend: Apples included Baldwin, Grimes Golden, Winesap, Wealthy, Rhode Island Greening, Northern Spy, Winter Banana, and Hubbardston Nonsuch.
    • Pectic enzyme
    • 5 g Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast


    • Original Gravity: 1.054 and 1.066
    • Final Gravity: 0.998 and 0.998
    • ABV: 7%


    1. “Juice was unpasteurized and had a pH of 3.5, stock solution of sodium metabisulfite added to 100 parts per million. After 24 hours, pectic enzyme and rehydrated yeast were added. Fermentation was started at room temperature and moved to cold area after two days. Racked after four weeks and added 50 ppm sulphite. Aged almost four months. Racked into 2-3 gallon kegs, adding 20 ppm sulphite and 1¼ tsp potassium sorbate to each 2.5 gallons. The first keg was back sweetened and a small amount of malic acid added to taste. (This cider took bronze in the Standard Cider and Perry Category.) The second keg was also back sweetened, dosed with malic acid, and a homemade jalapeño wine (which I use for cooking) was added, to taste. Both were force carbonated, bottles were counter pressure filled. I use a simple syrup to back sweeten, (2 parts table sugar/1 part water, boiled and cooled); gravity after adding sugar was 1.006.”
    2. Primary Fermentation for 28 days at 55° F (13° C).
    3. Secondary Fermentation for  4 months at 55° F (13° C).