First of all, cider is made – not brewed. This brings it closer to wine than beer, which is helpful when you realise that most ciders (unless they have been adjusted) have higher alcohol content than beer.
Bearing this in mind, the essence of cider making is fairly simple – take some apples, mill them (squish them to a pulp), and squeeze them to get the juice out. Then ferment the juice and, hey presto, you have cider. Simple!
Well, that is how to make a cider – probably not a great cider, but its more like ‘real’ cider than some of the mainstream brands sell you. Crafting a cider takes more discipline, understanding and care than the above description – but the drink you end up with is a lot more satisfying and pleasant.
At the Cider Workshop, we deal with crafted cider (or if you prefer, real cider) – a drink of very high apple content, and with minimal added. It is also a drink where care has been taken to avoid spoilage (bacteria etc.), air, and even small rodents! (the last one was a joke!) The fullest and most useful description available for making craft cider is found on Andrew Lea’s ‘Wittenham Hill Cider Portal’. Because this is such a valuable resource, we shall not attempt to replicate it here, but simply point you in the right direction.
However, as we want to keep the Cider Workshop as a simple but useful resource, please follow the links for a basic summary of how to craft a cider or perry, details of the typical equipment you should consider, information about the different styles of cider possible and the basics of setting yourself up to start selling your crafted cider or perry.
Please note that the Wittenham Hill/Andrew Lea information, images and links are used with express permission of Andrew ad copyright for this material remains solely with Andrew Lea.