EdWort’s Apfelwein

EdWort’s Apfelwein

After a string of successful hop-tastic beers, I decided to broaden my horizons a bit and put something more wife-friendly on tap in the basement, so it was time to experiment with hard cider.

This is a HomeBrewTalk favorite, and it’s incredibly simple to make. All it takes is 5 gallons of 100% apple juice, 2 pounds of dextrose, and a packet of wine yeast. The end result is dangerously drinkable for 8.5% ABV. It’s wine-like, but at the same time, not. I really didn’t know what to expect from something like this, nor do I find myself able to explain it in a way that does it justice, so I’ll just cut to a quick rundown of how to make your own. These are EdWort’s instructions more or less verbatim:

Clean & Sanitize a fermenter

A 5-gallon carboy will work great for this since the wine yeast doesn’t form a krausen like brewer’s yeast does. However, unless you’re patient or extremely gentle with your star-san, consider using iodophor or another non-foaming sanitizer. I ended up fighting with foam bubbling out the top of my carboy for the better part of three gallons worth of apple juice, which does not a happy brewer make.

Mix the dextrose into the apple juice

This is easiest if you pour half a jug into the carboy, then pour a pound of dextrose into the jug and shake it up until completely dissolved. You can certainly split it so you’re pouring a half pound into half a gallon of apple juice, but I found it’s completely unnecessary. Pour all but the last half gallon of juice into the carboy.

Add the wine yeast

If you’re very careful, you can cut the corner off the yeast packet and pour it all directly into the carboy, but just in case some sticks on the funnel or the carboy mouth, use the last half gallon of juice to wash it into the fermenter.


That’s it. Really.

Stuff the carboy in a dark corner for a month or two and the wine yeast will take care of the sugars. I should note that while neither myself nor my wife mind the smell of fermenting beer, this stuff smelled awful. Like, vacate the basement awful. The odor took about two or 3 days to fully set in, and was mostly subsided about a week later, but it was rather unpleasant in the meantime.

I gave it 5 weeks, then racked into a keg and gave it another 3 full weeks to let it carb up. Next time I make a batch, I think I’ll experiment using something like Wyeast 4766 in place of the wine yeast to see what that’s like.  I can see this keg disappearing rather quickly, despite the stiff alcohol content. Definitely need to get another batch of this fermenting before I run out.

Apfelwein Original Gravity Apfelwein