Category: Brewing Equipment

18 Jul

What tools will taint cider

There are quite a few materials around the house you might be tempted to clean and use in your cider making adventures.  Some of these are fine, some may taint the drink with a smell or taste, and others may be downright harmful.

Things I avoid are:

Anything that once contained petrochemicals.

Nice big ‘cans’ look like tempting fermentation vessels, but who wants to go blind from petroleum poisoning? Not me.

Pine and other ‘soft woods’

Pine contains pine resins and these can be leeched out by alcohol into your brew. The greeks drink Retsina wine which is deliberately tainted with pine resin, but it is a very aquired taste (most people gag the first time they try it) so you are unlikely to be pleased with the results.

Don’t worry about wooden spoons. As long as you dont leave a wooden spoon sitting overnight in your cider, it won’t really matter what type of wood it is made from.

Dirty glassware

If I cannot get a demijohn or bottle clean I dont use it.  Glas should be easy to clean so if there is somthing subbonly refusing to leave, it is a fair bet it is in itself something quite nasty.

Aluminum

Cider is acidic, so keep it away from aluminum vessels of any description

Here are the items you can

  • Hard woods (Oak,Chestnut etc. are safe)
  • Food-grade plastics eg. HDPE. (but only if it specifically says ‘food grade’. Also never trust plastics that have been left outside in the sun and rain for weeks.
  • Food grade stainless steel
  • Glass
17 May

The importance of cleaning

Cider making is easy to get right, but when it goes wrong it is a miserable experience. If it does go wrong it is usually because of poor hygene. Some nasty bugs get into the juice and mess it all up. Therefore at all stages, be mindful of keeping clean. We are all covered in yeast spores (really, you breathe in millions of spores every hour) and it only takes one vigourous one to ruin a batch. So, clean and sterilize should be your mantra

Cleaning demijohns

A demijohn is a strange shape and there are few brushes that can get everywhere. However a short length of chain can act like a brush.

Cleaning tubes

Siphon tubes are a pain and so after washing with soapy water I always sterilise mine.

Washing your hands

Don’t stop at the palms. You will probably roll your sleves up while working, so wash thoroughly up to the elbows to remove yeast spores before you start brewing.

17 Oct

Basic Cider Making Equipment

The basics of cidermaking were known to the ancient celtic tribes and so as you might expect, cider can be brewed with very little equipment. At its most basic you need to crush and squeeze the apples and put the resulting juice in a container while yeast turns it into booze. A heavy wooden hammer will crush an apple ok, but will make a mess of the kitchen. A bath is a container that holds water, but how are you going to wash yourself if the bath is full of apple juice?

So, here is a practical guide to the basic equpment for brewing cider.

Firstly to extract the juice for the apples you can use an apple juicer. However, if you haven’t got one already, don’t go out and buy one for cidermaking. They are not ideal because they are slow and small. A gallon from a juicer will take half a day, but if you have the time and equipment, go ahead and use what you have got.

Otherwise, I strongly recommend a pulpmaster, which is basically a blade you attach to a drill and bucket to make a very big blender. They cost under £20 and are absolutely brilliant at turning apples into mush very quickly.

Next you need to squeeze the juice from the pulp.  Here is a tip, wait a few days between picking and pulping. When you come to press the pulp you will get more juice out.

They sell 1 litre ‘fruit presses’ on  the web and I bought one once. I have regretted it ever since.  Too small. You pulp a bucket full of apples in under a minute and then spend hours pressing small quantities. A large (minimum 5 litres) press is essential, but if you are handy with a drill you can make one  from wood and screws and old vice parts for under £50. There are plenty of plans online and buling a press is a great diy project.

Ok, so you now have a gallon of fresh apple juice. Your third piece of essential equipment is a buket. A food grade plastic container is the best choice for the home brewer.

17 Oct

Basic Cider Making Equipment

The basics of cidermaking were known to the ancient celtic tribes and so as you might expect, cider can be brewed with very little equipment. At its most basic you need to crush and squeeze the apples and put the resulting juice in a container while yeast turns it into booze. A heavy wooden hammer will crush an apple ok, but will make a mess of the kitchen. A bath is a container that holds water, but how are you going to wash yourself if the bath is full of apple juice?

So, here is a practical guide to the basic equpment for brewing cider.

Firstly to extract the juice for the apples you can use an apple juicer. However, if you haven’t got one already, don’t go out and buy one for cidermaking. They are not ideal because they are slow and small. A gallon from a juicer will take half a day, but if you have the time and equipment, go ahead and use what you have got.

Otherwise, I strongly recommend a pulpmaster, which is basically a blade you attach to a drill and bucket to make a very big blender. They cost under £20 and are absolutely brilliant at turning apples into mush very quickly.

Next you need to squeeze the juice from the pulp.  Here is a tip, wait a few days between picking and pulping. When you come to press the pulp you will get more juice out.

They sell 1 litre ‘fruit presses’ on  the web and I bought one once. I have regretted it ever since.  Too small. You pulp a bucket full of apples in under a minute and then spend hours pressing small quantities. A large (minimum 5 litres) press is essential, but if you are handy with a drill you can make one  from wood and screws and old vice parts for under £50. There are plenty of plans online and buling a press is a great diy project.

Ok, so you now have a gallon of fresh apple juice. Your third piece of essential equipment is a buket. A food grade plastic container is the best choice for the home brewer.