Apple Cider
Apple Jack

Recipe file created January 27, 2001.
I have been asked for a recipe for Apple Jack several times now,
so I thought I had better add one to my site.

Ingredients

The best wines are made from scratch.
  • 1 gallon apple juice (or 16 pounds apples)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast energizer
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon acid blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
  • 1 campden tablet
  • 1 package champagne yeast (for 1 to 5 gallons)

Place chopped fruit or juice in primary fermentor. Add balance of ingredients. Stir to dissolve sugar. Stir daily for 5 to 6 days or until frothing ceases. Strain out fruit and squeeze as much juice out of it as you can. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.

Rack in three weeks, and again every 2 months until the cider is clear.

Gently stir in 1/4 cup sugar per gallon. Bottle in champagne bottles or clean pop bottles. Age three months.

Apple Jack

Early settlers made this by setting their apple cider outside in the winter and allowing it to become slushy. They would then skim the frozen water off of the surface, leaving a "hardened" cider behind. Commercially, it is now distilled. This is illegal for the home brewer, but the freezing method is effective.

First, make Apple Cider (recipe above). Skip the final step, and allow it to age the three months in the secondary fermentor.

Second, siphon it back into the primary fermentor. If you have a deep freeze, put the primary fermentor in it overnight. If not, use ice cream buckets and the fridge freezer. Remember to leave room for the water to expand when it freezes.

The alcohol will not freeze, so it is forced into the center of the container when the cider is frozen. The brewer then has the option of either skimming the ice off of the surface, or siphoning the alcohol out of the center. The siphoning method will result in a higher alcohol content than the skimming method.

Alternatively, you could follow this method using your favourite Apple Wine recipe.

November 5, 2005
I received this email from a fellow winemaker detailing how he gets the ice out of his jack:

I found my hard cider to have such a high alcohol content it would only freeze to a slush in my home freezer. After wasting a bit of the good stuff trying to drain it off the ice and throwing out quite a bit of brown ice, I decided something had to be done to minimize waste.

After much thought, I decide to separate the ice and jack by placing t-shirt material as a liner in a "salad spinner" centrifuge, folding the material over the slush to cover it,and spinning the jack out with the spinner. It worked beautifully, and I've only thrown clear ice out since. This also increases efficiency since you don't have as much ice melt while waiting for the jack to drain.

James Daymon
Dorr, MI

NOTE:

The champagne yeast works slower than wine yeast, and has a lower alcohol tolerance. It also produces finer bubbles than wine yeast, and so is preferred for sparkling wines. If you want a still cider with a higher alcohol content, use your favourite wine yeast.

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