How to Make Apple Cider: A Fledgling Brewer’s Guide

TO AN AVID HOME-BREWER like me, colder temperatures mean stouts, porters and, the true star of the season, hard apple cider. I salivate thinking about each part of the pastoral process: picking apples with pals, pressing them into “soft” cider, mustering up the will to not chug it all in one go. Mercifully, it takes little effort to turn that juice into something as refined as anything you could buy at your local liquor store.

It starts with the apple. For any lucky people with an apple tree in their yard or neighborhood, this is the easy part. (I rely on the trees at my church.) Failing that, go to an orchard. Kevin Stahr, owner of Mainbrew, a home brewing supply shop in Hillsboro, Ore., says you’ll need around 20 pounds of apples for each gallon of cider you hope to make.