Did you know it’s actually really easy to make your own gluten free hard apple cider at home? Here is the easiest way I can show you how to make hard apple cider! It’s beyond simple, you just need a few ingredients and some time!
If you are like me, one of the first things you realize when you go gluten free is your drink options severely drop! I mean… you feel like they are gone. I always enjoyed a cold beer on the weekends or a nice sweet hard apple cider with my dinner.
As much as I love gluten free beer as seen on my gluten free beer list, they can be very hard to find at times. When I can’t find a beer on the menu, I can usually count on a good hard apple cider from the folks at Angry Orchard or Bold Rock.
Those are two of the most common ciders out there, and let’s be honest… they are really good with a big line up of products.
Why Make Your Own Hard Apple Cider?
There are many reasons why you might want to make your own cider at home. First it’s naturally gluten free and when you can control what goes into what you drink, you get the peace of mind. Second, it’s pretty simple and just a fun project. Third, it becomes cost efficient once you figure it out… but that could take some time as you go through the trial and error process!
What Equipment Do You Need To Make Hard Apple Cider At Home?
You really don’t need much to start brewing your first batch of home brewed gluten free hard apple cider! I’m keeping it simple and will list out what you need to make one gallon batches with the links to amazon or you can grab kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop or Satchel Home Brew Kits. For a beginner, I feel kits are the way to go!
One advantage to the Satchel Home Brew kits is that it comes with the auto-siphon (which you want!), remeasured sugar, and 10 bottle caps making it easy to start.
- 1 Gallon Carboy (glass gallon jug)($16)
- Airlock with bottle stopper (comes with the link above)
- glass bottles ($18)
- Sanitizer ($17)
- Siphon (picture below from Brooklyn Brew House)
What Ingredients Do You Need?
The great thing about making hard apple cider is you only need a few things. You would think it was more difficult, but it’s too simple! Here is what you need.
- 1 gallon apple cider
- Champagne Yeast
- Pure Honey (3 tbsp)
- Water (1/2 cup)
- Time and patience
That’s it! It’s really just a waiting game. The amount of work required is minimal. For your apple cider, make sure it does’t have any extra preservatives. You want it to be as simple as possible. My first batch I used apple cider from Target!
What I Used To Make My First Hard Cider Batch
I will say my first run of making hard apple cider was with the kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Hard Cider Kit. Aimee got it for me for Christmas and it was a great starter pack. It has everything you need for around $45. The only thing you need to purchase is the honey and glass bottles listed above.
The Brooklyn Brew Shop site is easy to use and their products I’ve used so far are solid. A good one stop shop for home-brew needs and videos.
Bottling: One Tricky Part
Bottling is a little tricky but take your time. You waited two weeks already so take it easy. You have to siphon your cider out of the jug to mix with the honey water and then siphon again into your bottles. Brooklyn Brew House has a good video on how to siphon.
Once you get it all in the bottles and capped off, it’s just one more waiting game.
The Mini Auto Siphon is the MVP of the brewing process. You can siphon with just the tube, but the auto siphon just makes it SO much easier. Spend the extra bucks and grab one for sure!
Watch out for the blowout!
In the picture above, the carboy on the bottom is a half pineapple and half apple cider mix. You see that stuff at the top? This picture was taken after I cleaned up my 3am blow out…
Story-time! Let me set the stage… It’s 3am and I wake up to a weird hissing sound in our master bathroom, also known as my cidery. I walk into my air lock full of pineapple and small chunks of pineapple mess all over the bathroom. Basically a pineapple explosion…
Moral of the story… use a blowout tube most of the time for a few days during most intense fermentation. I haven’t always needed one, but when I did, I was thankful. The blow out tube gives the stuff at the top an easier way get out without ruining your airlock.
For my cider, I caught it in time. I quickly put on the blow out tube in place of the dirty airlock and it kept fermenting.
Sanitize Throughout The Process
Sanitizing is important throughout the entire process. Make sure you are keeping an eye on your work areas and surroundings. You don’t need to be paranoid, but be aware and keep everything clean.
Hard Cider Home Brewing Resources
I’ve mentioned them before, but if you are looking for complete kits head over to Satchel or Brooklyn Brew Shop. They both have good prices on equipment and kits. I appreciate how easy they make getting started. They also have good information on their site.
I reached out to Satchel when he first went live with his cider making kits. He hooked me up with some great unique yeasts to try. From what I can see in the cider making world, everyone is so friendly and willing to share/collaborate.
Another top notch resource I’ve found is Homecidermaking.com. Over there, Curt answers so many questions and gives so many great tips. He has an email subscriber list and Cider Facebook group where you can link up with other home brewers. I’ve only been on there for a short while since I’m a beginner, but tons of great info to be found!
Cheers! Give It A Try!
I hope this helped. It may seem like a hard process at first, but it is really very simple. Just be mindful on the bottling, but there are so many great videos out there to help clarify or boost your confidence!
Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful or how your experience was! It’s all about learning and practice makes perfect!
- 1 gallon Apple cider room temperature, pasturized and preservative free
- 1 packet yeast
- 3 tbsp pure honey for bottling
- 1/2 cup water
Sanitize your one gallon jug
Pour half your apple cider into the jug
Insert yeast and swish around
Pour remaining apple cider into jug
Cap off the jug with your air lock and wait 2 weeks
AFTER 2 weeks, make simple syrup with water and honey
Siphon Gallon Carboy into sanitized container with simple syrup mixture
final step is to siphon cider syrup mix from sanitized container into bottles and then wait two more weeks.
Store bottles in room temperature dark spot