Homebrewers Association
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Homebrew Recipes

“Westside Sweet Heat” Specialty Cider

Jeff Carlson of Grand Rapids, MI won a gold medal in Category #31: Specialty Cider & Perry during the 2016 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Baltimore, MD. Carlson’s specialty New World cider was chosen as the best among 128 entries in the category.

To see other winning homebrew recipes from the 2016 National Homebrew Competition, visit our archive of National Homebrew Competition winners.

“Westside Sweet Heat” Specialty Cider | Other Specialty Cider/Perry


  • For 4 gallons (15.14 L) & 5.5 gallons (20.82 L)
  • Golden Russet Cider

    Ingredients for 4 US gallons (15.14 L):
    • 3 gallons (11.36 L) fresh-pressed Golden Russet juice from Husted's Farm Market
    • 0.5 gallon (1.89 L) fresh-juiced wild crab apples
    • Premier Cuvée wine yeast
    • Fermax nutrients
    • liquid pectic enzyme

    Heirloom Blend Cider

    Ingredients fo 5.5 US gallons (20.82 L)
    • 5.5 gallons (20.82 L) Uncle John's Cider Blend (Baldwin, Grimes Golden, Winesap, Northern Spy, Winter Banana, York Imperial, Jonagrimes, and Rhode Island Greening)
    • Premier Cuvée wine yeast
    • Fermax nutrients
    • liquid pectic enzyme


    • Original Gravity: 1.054 & 1.056
    • Final Gravity: 1.000 & 1.000


    The final cider is a blend of two ciders: 2 parts Golden Russet to 1 part Heirloom Blend. Both ciders are treated the same: sulfite according to the pH, ferment with Premier Cuvée wine yeast, and add Fermax nutrients along with liquid pectic enzyme. Back-sweeten using simple syrup to 1.008, sulfite to 25ppm, and add potassium sorbate at a rate of 1/2 tsp. (2.5 g) per gallon. Dose the final cider blend with jalapeño wine to taste. Filter, keg, carbonate, and counter-pressure fill to a pétillant level.

    Golden Russet Primary Fermentation: 21 days at 60° F (16° C)

    Golden Russet Secondary Fermentation: 3 months at 55° F (13° C)

    Heirloom Blend Primary Fermentation: 28 days at 55° F (13° C)

    Heirloom Blend Secondary Fermentation:  2 months at 55° F (13° C)