As someone with years of beer brewing experience, I’ve been interested in trying my hand at other types of fermentation. Fifth Season stocks a selection of Brewer’s Best Cider Kits including Apple, Pear, and Cherry. I decided to try out the cherry kit for my first venture in cider brewing.
The kit is packaged in a double-layer pouch containing the juice concentrate, yeast, flavoring sachet, sweetener, and instructions. The recipe calls for additional corn sugar that is not included as well as basic equipment – a 7.9 gallon fermenting bucket, airlock, sanitizer, 1 gallon or larger cook pot, spoon, and hydrometer to test your ABV. The good news is that you only have to buy equipment once!
The instructions and brewing process were clear and to the point, and making the cider only took about an hour. The brew day reminded me of seltzer brewing which can be equally as easy and fun. I took a slight detour from the instructions and emptied the entire cherry flavoring and sweetener sachets into the wort instead of adding it at the end of primary fermentation. Starting my primary fermentation with that extra sugar boost brought my original gravity up a bit.
After a little over one week into fermentation, my cider had dropped to 1.004 and was holding so I transferred from my carboy to a 5 gallon bottling bucket and cold-crashed for roughly two weeks.* This allowed time for any particulates or residual yeast to fully drop out of suspension. During this time I was also pulling samples to check for any off-flavors. After cold conditioning, I filled a Cornelius keg with my finished cider and carbonated it to serve samples at our in-store bar. The final product was a beautiful reddish-amber hue with nice carbonation bubbles. It was medium dry with a slight sweetness and pleasant tartness from the cherry. It was a hit with customers and staff!
*You can also add a clarifier to reduce yeast haze
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the Brewers Best Cider Kits to anyone wanting to get their feet wet in making cider at home. The process was very easy, and with a little patience you’ll have a quality cider worthy of being shared with family and friends.
Original Gravity: 1.070
Final Gravity: 1.004
ABV: 8.66% (almost double what I expected!)
Check out more of our homebrew blog posts like this one on dry-hopping your kit cider!