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Making TurboCider - quick, easy, cheap, tasty - oldbloke's mutterings
October 16th, 2012
11:18 am
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Making TurboCider - quick, easy, cheap, tasty
TurboCider is so called because it's quick and easy to make, not because it's stupidly strong - though you can add extra sugar if you like.
It comes out about 5 or 5.5 %ABV when made as described below. I generally make 2 gallons at a time.
This is a fairly basic version - some people add other things, like ginger or other spices, or malic acid (but then it needs proper aging)
NB This makes a dry cider, which I like.
If you find it too dry, or just prefer sweeter ciders, you can either add a non-fermentable sweetener (such as Splenda) to the recipe, or serve over a bit of fresh apple juice.

Step 0: Gather everything you need:
From the back, and left to right:
2 demijohns;
Yeast nutrient, sanitiser, yeast, a jug, 2 bungs with airlocks, a teapot (assume the tea);
1l of 'some other juice'; 7 l of apple juice; a teaspoon measure, a funnel.
The cheapest from-concentrate apple juice in the supermarket works just fine - I'm using Prince's here as it was on offer and I want to see if it's really any better (unlikely).

Step 1: Get the kettle on and make about 1.3l of stupidly strong tea.
This is included to provide some tannin - lacking in apple juice intended for drinking - to give the cider a bit of bite.
While that's brewing...

Step 2: Sanitise the demijohns, airlocks, jug, and funnel.
Make up about half a gallon of sanitiser in one of the demis, when that's had a good soak funnel it into the other.
Then into the jug and through the airlocks. The measuring spoon can have a good swish in it at some point too.
I tend to leave the locks standing in a small contaner with a bit of sanitiser in it - a ramekin, or an old takeaway tray, or whatever's to hand.
Rinse everything very thoroughly. Twice.

Step 3: Put 1tsp of nutrient into each demi
If it sticks to the damp funnel you might need to rinse it through with some of the juice.
That's going in next anyway.

Step 4: A couple of litres of AJ go into each demi, and half a litre of cranberry.
The cranberry rounds out the flavour nicely. Pomegranate also works very well.
Everybody has their own favourite for this!
Straight out of the carton this stuff needs no treatment. Just check when you buy that none of it has preservatives such as sorbates (citric acid is OK)

Step 5: Add the tea.
This should be made stupidly strong rather than left to stew until it gets bitter, so it should be ready by the time you've done the other stuff.
Half a litre into each demi. The cool juice will stop the hot tea doing anything nasty to the glassware.
The mix gets to a good pitching temperature for the yeast, too.

Step 6: Pitch the yeast.
I do 2 gallons at a time because a sachet of yeast designed for a 5 gallon container can be split across 2 single gallons quite happily.
It /might/ do 3, but not more. There's a geometric growth thing in the early stages that means you can't split in linear proportion.
So I empty the yeast onto some clean paper and divide it roughly by eye, then transfer to the demijohns.
I usually use Young's cider yeast, but just about any yeast seems to work pretty well.
Some people like to use a champagne yeast, others go for cheap bread yeast.
Some wine yeasts give a slightly funkier flavour.

Step 7: Add the rest of the juice
This is left to now so as to wash through any yeast stuck to the funnel!
It also gets the yeast mixed in to the liquid.
Leave at least half a litre of headspace, preferably a bit more.
Fit the airlocks.

It's now done, apart from topping up to the bottom the neck on day 4, with the last carton of apple juice - any sooner and you risk the stuff climbing out through the airlock. Messy.
Clean up all the gear, put the demijohns somewhere around 20degrees.

In somewhere from 10 to 20 days, depending on exact recipe and temperatures, it'll be ready to bottle. Just wait until it's clear enough to see through.
Add 1tsp sugar per 500ml (or pint) when bottling, leave it somewhere warm for a couple of weeks, then somewhere cool for two more, and it's ready.
It will improve if left longer though.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:October 16th, 2012 11:50 am (UTC)
The cool juice will stop the hot tea doing anything nasty to the glassware.

It wouldn't anyway. The water was boiling when you made the tea, but is nowhere near as hot by the time it goes into the demijohns. Plus, they can handle boiling water.
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Date:October 16th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Picky. I still wouldn't put the tea in first, even after 15 minutes or so of cooling from boiled. Hot liquid on cold glass is always risky, and as everybody knows, I'm famously risk-averse.
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Date:October 16th, 2012 11:59 am (UTC)
I haven't mentioned using a bottle brush on the demijohns.
This is because mine don't (usually) need it. Properly rinsed out, with a bit of sanitiser, after each use, they stay clean.
In fact I normally make a batch in the demis I've just emptied when I bottle. They only need a really good rinse to get all the old dead yeast out, and a quick re-sanitise JustInCase. These two rarely stand empty for more than a day, and even then they have traces of sanitiser in them.
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Date:October 16th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
Topping up with what on day 4? More AJ? Tea? Mix? Tapwater?
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Date:October 16th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
More AJ.
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Date:October 16th, 2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
Grand, thanks :) (I would probably have topped up with tap and wondered why it all went wrong.)
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Date:October 16th, 2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
It'd just have been a little weaker, thinner, and less appley.

Following the recipe step-by-step you find you have a carton of AJ left, so it's kind of obvious then, but just reading it, not so much.

Original Post edited to cover this point.
Date:October 16th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
That looks so simple, I'm almost tempted to buy the brewing kit and give it a go!
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Date:September 9th, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
You can use 5l water bottles from a supermarket instead of demijohns, and cobble up an airlock.
See http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=36851 for a "I don't want to buy any gear in case I change my mind" How-To.
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