I had so much fun making this ferment as we took the whole family to the local family owned Apple Orchard to gather multiple 5-gallon buckets full of recently fallen apples. They had large cleaning stations and an old-fashioned press. The kids got to stand around and watch the apples get pressed while eating freshly harvested apples and we went home with the most delicious fresh apple juice to turn into cider and vinegar.
1-gallon of fresh pressed Apple Juice
Date Prepared:September 23, 2017
Date of Second Ferment:October 21, 2017
Date Harvested: Still fermenting (I will update when I harvest)
Length of 1st Ferment: 29 days
Length of 2nd Ferment: Still fermenting (I will update when I harvest)
Since this was a fun and easy ferment, we had to go back to the orchard a few times and have multiple batches going. We were able to enjoy ½ gallon of home fermented Hard Cider so far during the holiday meals and we still have another gallon than is ready to be bottled and aged. The cider was pretty good. We are used to commercial cider and having more carbonation; however, it was nice and rewarding to enjoy a dry home brewed cider instead.
I also have 1 gallon that is in its second stage of fermenting to become Apple Cider Vinegar. I have been checking on it and tasting it every week or 2. It is starting to taste a little like vinegar but still has a moderate cider note so it will need to continue fermenting awhile longer. I will update this log when it has completed fermenting and becomes ACV.
I was a little nervous at first when I started to see a white film forming on top the liquid and thought it could be mold but I realized it was the natural film from the fermenting process, so all has been going well so far. The room temperature in my home has dropped now that we are in the cooler months. I have the jars sitting in a homemade fermenting chamber, on a shelf with a heat mat, maintaining a temperature range of 68-72 degrees.
What Would I Do/Try Differently Next Time:
Next year, I will likely try to set up a fermenting station to make larger batches and will try to age the vinegar with oak chips for a more flavorful note. I will also fill the jar more next time. I assumed there would be more carbonation and potential overflow so I left a good amount of space for that, but it seemed like more space than needed.
I will likely experiment with adding varying fruit flavors to the cider while it ages to create more flavorful brews when I make hard cider.
2 x half gallon jars filled with fresh pressed apple juice are to ferment with air locks and become hard cider.
Apple Juice has been fermented into hard cider after 1 month. A normal white bacterial film was forming on the top.
Stage 2: I combined the 2 half gallon jars into 1 gallon to continue fermenting in an aerobic environment with a cloth covering to keep bugs and debris out.
1 week into the 2nd stage of fermenting.
10 weeks into the 2nd stage of fermenting. It is starting to taste like ACV but it still has a cider note, so I will continue to allow it to ferment and check on it weekly until it has fermented into Apple Cider Vinegar.
10 Week, Close Up – The white film has mostly disappeared as just a thin layer remains now.
Having fun and enjoying the beautiful and organic, family owned Fieldbrook Apple Farms Orchard…
Our harvested apples were cleaned and are being pressed using an old-fashioned press…