My amazing wife presented me with a Kilner Cider Kit. It has all the required elements you need to get a brew on!!

IMG_2235It is really very straight forward.

  • Sterilise everything: Make up solution in bucket, add everything to the bucket for cleansing. Rinse.
  • Makeup mixture with hot water and top up to level. If you are an alcoholic, you can always add less water for a stronger brew. I thought this was unnecessary.
  • Add Yeast
  • Cover, but not airtight. It will explode otherwise.
  • Monitor Temperature. Too Low, the fermentation will stall. Too High, flavour will be affected, and will finish too quickly.
  • Once finished, syphon into a new sterilised container.  (avoiding sediment)
  • Prime bottles with brewing sugar. This has one molecule less, leaving no aftertaste. Make the effort to get some.
  • Syphon into bottles,  leaving room in the neck for air.
  • Cap!
  • Leave this in a warmer environment for a week for secondary fermentation, then a week for clearing. In theory, you new brew is ready to drink. I think you want to leave it for an extra maturing period, although it is good to sample!

I learnt a huge amount using the starter Kilner kit. I took the lid off too many times to stick the thermometer in.  This is ultimately causing oxidation, which looses the fruitiness. For my second batch (an apple and berry) I used a stick on thermometer on the outside.  We had a hot period here, and I had trouble keeping the temp down.

The standard capper is a nightmare. Using a hammer to seal your precious brew seemed nethanderal. (whilst it might seem obvious to people with common sense, the hammer capper does NOT work on plastic bottles) I only had one breakage, but overall it took too long, was too much like hard work, far too noisy: I have kids and brewing activity happens in the evening. I bought a cheap lever style one for the second round, this was glorious by comparison.

The other revelation was in the arena of bottle washing. I purchased a bottle washer.  A round plastic tray with a spring loaded pump. You push the bottle onto the top, it squirts water from the lower reservoir up! It works well and saves sooo much water. I really need a drying rack next.

The goal here is to make cider with actual fresh press apple juice. Need to find a crusher & press somehow. 

Starting to think about the health of the fruit trees, was looking for a good pruning guide. So far, I think this is the best;