Apple wine is perfect for the beginning winemaker, and it’s easy to make at home with either fresh-pressed cider or storebought apple juice.
While making high-quality hard cider rather difficult, and apple wine is really easy.
True hard cider relies on choosing the right varieties of apples and then blending them to craft the perfect juice with enough acid, tannin, and sugar to make a well balanced hard cider.
Apple wine, on the other hand, takes any apple juice, even store-bought pasteurized jugs of generic juice, and turns it into a delicious apple wine.
Why is making apple wine so easy? It relies on winemaking additives to balance the juice, rather than careful blending.
These days, it’s hard to source high tannin cider apples, or “spitters” as they’re sometimes called. They just don’t taste good, but that natural astringency is actually needed in winemaking.
Tannins, in small amounts, help to create body, and a pleasant mouthfeel in wine. But they taste absolutely horrible in fresh fruit.
Acid apples, similarly, aren’t your generic grocery store varieties either.
Tannin and acid-rich apples would be mixed with sweet apples (as a sugar source) and carefully blended. The process is tricky, and since even the sweetest apples aren’t nearly as sweet as grapes, it’s often hard to make anything but very dry hard cider.
Apple wine is different, and the apple juice just provides the aromatic base and fragrant apple flavor, and the rest of the balancing act of acids, tannins, and sugars are accomplished with natural additives.
(Important: Do not use apple juice with preservatives added. If preservatives such as “Sodium Benzoate” and “Potassium Sorbate” are in the juice, it will not ferment into apple wine. Pasteurized juice and juice with added ascorbic acid are fine for winemaking.)
How to Make Apple Wine
The basic process for making apple wine is the same for any small-batch country wine.
Start with a juice of some sort, add in a bit of sugar for sweetness, along with other winemaking additives, and then a strain of winemaking yeast.
Allow the mixture to ferment for about 7 to 10 days, until most of the very active fermentation is complete. Then siphon the mixture over to a clean fermentation vessel (leaving sediment behind) and allow the mixture to ferment more slowly, in a cool dark place for another 6 weeks to 6 months.
At that point, bottle the wine, allow it to bottle age for at least a few weeks (preferably a few months) before drinking. Simple enough!
Additives for Apple Wine
Since the main difference between hard cider and apple wine lies in the additives, what is added to apple wine?
In all honesty, this is a bit subjective based on both your tastes and the starting juice.
If you’ve pressed the juice from wild apples, you may already have a bit of tannin present. Some backyard apple varieties are also sweet/tart, and contain plenty of acids. You’ll need to evaluate based on your starting juice.
For each additive, I’m providing a good range, to allow you to adjust the recipe.
(The base recipe I recommend, if you’re using generic store-bought juice, is somewhere right in the middle.)
- Cane Sugar or Brown Sugar ~ Cane sugar provides a clean sweetness, while brown sugar will enhance the apple flavor with warm caramel notes in the finished apple wine. The molasses also provides nutrients for the yeast, which is a good option if you’re not using added yeast nutrient. Add about 1lb of sugar for one gallon of wine, but up to 1 1/2 pounds for higher alcohol levels and/or more residual sweetness.
- Yeast Nutrient ~ Generally recommended for any type of country wine, yeast nutrient provides micro-nutrients that may not be available in wines not made from grapes. Add 1 tsp per gallon of wine. Lacking yeast nutrient, brown sugar as the sugar source, plus a handful of raisins added into the primary is a good substitute to nourish the yeasts.
- Acid Blend ~ A blend of different acid sources, usually including 50% malic acid, 40% citric acid, and 10% tartaric acid. A slightly acidic environment allows the yeast to work properly and balances flavors in the finished wine. Recipes for apple wine vary from 1/2 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp acid blend per gallon, and if you really want to nerd out you can titrate the juice to determine exactly how much to add…or you can just choose a middle of the road amount and call it good.
I added 1 tsp acid blend per gallon. Lacking an acid blend, lemon juice is a good substitute, though it’s citric acid instead of a blend. One tablespoon of lemon juice will acidify as much as 1 teaspoon of acid blend powder.
- Wine Tannin ~ Powdered winemaking tannin takes the place of tannin-rich astringent apples and helps to improve flavor and balance the mouthfeel of the finished apple wine. Without it, the wine will have a one-dimensional sweetness and thin body.
Apple wine recipes vary from 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, and I’m choosing to use 1/4 tsp wine tannin powder per gallon. Lacking tannin powder, add a cup of strongly brewed black tea, or a few grape or currant leaves. This is less exact, obviously, but it will add tannins to help balance the apple wine.
- Pectic Enzyme ~ Breaks down the natural pectin in apples and causes it to sink to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. Using a pectic enzyme is optional, but it’ll greatly improve the clarity of your apple wine. Add 1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme per gallon of juice at the start of the fermentation.
Lacking pectic enzyme, you can improve wine clarity by racking it repeatedly. Once the wine is moved to secondary, rack it into a clean fermentation vessel every few weeks until it has good clarity.
You can buy pectic enzyme, acid blend and wine tannin together in a kit for just a few dollars, and then all you need is a small packet of yeast nutrient.
Choosing Yeast for Apple Wine
Believe it or not, the yeast strain contributes a lot of flavor to the finished wine.
Some strains add fruity flavors, others ferment cleaner with minimal added flavors. Some have very high alcohol tolerances, like champagne yeast, and will ferment very dry unless you add a lot of extra sugar.
For apple wine, choose a wine yeast with moderate alcohol tolerance, that either ferments clean or adds light fruit flavors.
Good yeast choices include:
- Lavin D47 ~ Adds a strong fruity, floral character to wines with spicy aromas that would add complexity to apple wine. Only a moderately vigorous fermenter and may start slowly. Alcohol tolerance to 15%.
- Lalvin QA23 ~ Usually chosen for white wines because it adds a clean, fruity taste to the finished wine. Ferments quickly and settles out relatively fast to help clarify the wine. Alcohol tolerance to 16%.
- Red Star Premier Cuvee or Lavin EC-1118 ~ Generally known as champagne yeasts, these are strong fermenters with a neutral taste. This yeast has a high alcohol tolerance (around 18%) and may result in an apple wine that’s a bit on the dry side.
A single packet of wine yeast is enough for 5 gallons, so you don’t need the whole thing. The amount added isn’t critical, since the yeast will multiply quickly anyway, but add roughly 1/5 to 1/2 of the packet for a gallon of juice.
Start by dissolving the yeast in a bit of water and allow it to re-hydrate and wake up. If it’s added directly to the apple wine, the sugar in the juice can shock the yeast before they’re fully re-hydrated.
Generally, yeast packets come with thorough instructions printed on them, and some work a bit differently (such as liquid yeast). Just follow the instructions on the packet.
(I do not recommend using bread yeast! It will literally make your wine taste like a loaf of bread. Since it’s not made for extended ferments or winemaking, it’ll also add off-flavors as the yeast struggle to adapt to the high sugar liquid wine environment.)
Equipment for Making Apple Wine
If you’re an experienced winemaker, you already have all this equipment on hand. If this is your first batch of homemade wine, you’ll need the following equipment:
- One Gallon Glass Carboy (x2) ~ A narrow neck fermentation vessel, also called a carboy, will hold the apple wine while it ferments. You’ll need two since the wine needs to be moved to a clean container (leaving the sediment behind) after 7-10 days of active primary fermentation. They often come in a kit with a rubber stopper and water lock together.
- Rubber Stopper and Water Lock ~ Basically a one-way valve that allows CO2 to escape, but prevents contaminants from entering the fermentation vessel. A water lock is essential because without it the brew is at a high risk of turning into vinegar during secondary. Not the end of the world because then you have apple cider vinegar, but definitely not apple wine.
- Brewing Siphon ~ Used to move the apple wine from one container to another, and for bottling. Using a siphon allows you to move the ferment without disturbing the sediment on the bottom by simply pouring it from one container to another. Pouring carefully, you can technically get away without one, but it’s a lot easier to use a siphon and it’ll result in a finished apple wine with more clarity.
- Wine bottles ~ The best option for bottling, wine bottles will allow the apple wine to be stored for longer periods. Corks naturally breathe, and apple wine in a wine bottle will improve over time with bottle aging. Beer bottles are also an option, but better for short-term storage.
Flip-top Grolsch bottles work as well, and they’re really convenient because they’re reusable and come with the cap attached for quick bottling without additional equipment. Wine bottles can be reused, provided you wash them and clean them with brewing sanitizer between uses.
- Bottle Corker ~ If you’re using wine bottles, you’ll need a corker as well. Be sure to use clean, new corks for bottling the wine. (If using Grolsch bottles, corks and a corker are unnecessary.)
- Brewing Sanitizer ~ A one-step no-rinse brewing sanitizer cleans and sanitizes all equipment before use, preventing contamination and resulting in a more predictable winemaking experience. Without it, there’s a greater chance of infection by acetic acid bacteria (that will turn the apple wine into vinegar).
Making Apple Wine from Store-Bought Juice
I’m starting with a jug of organic apple juice from our local coop, and it conveniently comes in a glass carboy. That saves money on buying a carboy, which even empty tends to cost around as much as this jug of juice.
You’ll need a bit under a full gallon, and in the end, I had 1 1/2 cups of spare juice from this gallon after I added the sugar and other additives.
Start with about 3 quarts of apple juice in the carboy (or if you have a gallon like I do, pull off 1 quart of juice).
Place 2 cups of juice in a saucepan and start to warm it on the stove. Add cane sugar, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, acid blend and winemaking tannin (basically, everything but the yeast).
Whisk to dissolve.
It’s not necessary to boil it, just warm it until everything’s dissolved. Then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before pouring it into the fermentation vessel with the other juice.
(You should still have 2 cups of juice set to the side for topping off the container.)
Dissolve a small amount of yeast, about 1/4 packet, in about 1/4 cup of water. The yeast needs to re-hydrate in water (not juice) so they’re not shocked as they wake up.
Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and it starts to visibly foam (slightly).
Pour the yeast into the fermentation vessel with the juice and all the other ingredients.
At this point, take a look at the fill level. The jug should be mostly full, and you’ll want to add a bit of the extra juice to bring it up to the neck of the fermentation jug.
A wine needs headspace to bubble, but at the same time, the smaller the area in contact with air at the top of the container the better. For that reason, fill the jug up to the base of the neck of the carboy.
This should leave around 2-3 inches of headspace, but minimize the air surface area. Cap the carboy with a water lock.
Fermentation should begin with 24 to 48 hours.
Allow the mixture to ferment in “primary” for about 7 to 10 days.
This should be a period of very active fermentation, and you’ll need to watch it to make sure that the wine doesn’t bubble up into the water lock. If it does, simply clean out the water lock, refill it with clean water and re-attach it.
At the end of the primary fermentation, use a brewing siphon to rack the wine over into a clean fermentation vessel, leaving the sediment behind. This step is important, both for the clarity of the apple wine and the flavor.
The length of primary fermentation depends on the temperature and your choice of yeast.
If it’s bubbling actively, leave it in the primary. Once things settle down, it’s time to move to secondary fermentation.
Why do you siphon the apple wine into a new container?
Leaving apple wine on the “lees” or yeast sediment at the bottom of the primary fermentation container can create off-flavors.
Since most of the sediment is produced in the primary fermentation, it’s good to move the wine to a clean container as soon as the active fermentation step is complete.
Re-apply the water lock and place the apple wine into a cool, dark place for secondary.
While it needs to be actively watched during the primary fermentation phase, secondary is much more sedate. You likely won’t see it bubble much, as the yeast is working much more slowly.
Time in secondary is based on your patience.
More time (to a point) will yield a better wine, with a mellow flavor complex flavor profile. Young wines can sometimes be harsh.
I’d recommend allowing the apple wine to spend at least 6 weeks in secondary, or as much as 6 months.
After secondary fermentation, bottle the wine in corked wine bottles (preferred), capped beer bottles (less optimal) or flip top Grolsch bottles (a good middle ground, and convenient).
Wine bottles allow the brew to “breathe” and are the best option if you’ll be storing the wine in the bottle for more than 1 year.
Allow the apple wine to bottle-condition for at least a month, but preferably longer, before drinking.
Sulfites and Stabilizing Wines
Most recipes for apple wine involve Campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite) to sterilize the juice before fermentation. Some involve adding both Campden tablets and potassium sorbate at bottling time to kill off the yeast and stabilize the wine.
Killing off the yeast at the end of fermentation ensures that the wine will be a still wine without bottle carbonation, and allows you to back sweeten the wine to your tastes without restarting fermentation.
Personally, I never use Campden tablets or potassium sorbate in winemaking because I consume enough chemical preservatives from modern food sources, and I’m not about to intentionally add them to my homemade goods.
That said, if you’re open to adding them, they’ll result in a more predictable final product.
To sterilize the juice before starting (optional):
Add one crushed Campden tablet per gallon of juice before adding any other ingredients, and allow the juice to sit for 24 hours before proceeding.
To stop fermentation and stabilize the wine at bottling time (optional):
Add BOTH one crushed Campden tablet and 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate per gallon.
Once stabilized, add sugar to taste. Make a simple syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar and water together in a saucepan, and then add that to the wine before bottling.
Amounts will vary based on your taste, but I’d suggest starting with about 1/2 cup of sugar for one gallon of apple wine.
For more information on back sweetening and adjusting flavors at bottling time, there’s an informative discussion on this winemaking forum.
Homemade apple wine is light, sweet and delicious. This easy winemaking recipe uses any apple juice to craft a delicious apple wine, perfect for sharing with friends.
- 1-gallon apple juice, see note
- 1 pound cane sugar (about 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
- 1 teaspoon acid blend
- 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
- 1/4 teaspoon wine tannin powder
- Wine Yeast, see note
- Optional ~ Campden Tablet and Potassium Sorbate for Stabilizing (I do not use these)
- Start by removing about 1 quart of juice (4 cups) from the gallon, and then pour the other 3 quarts into a fermentation vessel.
- Place 2 cups of the removed juice in a small saucepan, and set the other 2 cups aside for topping off the fermentation vessel later.
- Gently warm the juice in the saucepan. Add all the ingredients (except yeast) and stir to dissolve. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Pour the sweetened juice mixture into the fermentation vessel with the other apple juice.
- Dissolve the winemaking yeast in a small amount of unchlorinated water (about 1/4 cup). A packet is sufficient to start fermentation in 5 gallons of juice, so only use roughly 1/5 to 1/2 the packet. Allow the yeast to sit for about 10 minutes to rehydrate.
- Add the wine yeast to the fermentation vessel with the juice.
- Top off the fermentation vessel with some of the apple juice you set aside at the beginning until the level of the juice is at the base of the neck of the fermentation vessel. Be sure to leave 2-3 inches of headspace to allow the mixture to bubble.
- Cap with a rubber bung and waterlock (filled with water) and allow the mixture to ferment in primary for about 7 to 10 days. Fermentation will be very active, and may bubble up into the water lock. If so, clean out the water lock and re-attach it as necessary.
- After primary fermentation, use a brewing siphon to move the ferment to a clean fermentation vessel, leaving any sediment behind.
- Re-cap with a water lock and allow the mixture to ferment in a cool, dark place in "secondary" for at least 6 weeks, but preferably longer, like 6 months.
- When fermentation is complete, bottle the wine in wine bottles and allow it to bottle age for at least a month but preferably longer before drinking. If you'd like sweet wine, back sweetening may be necessary at this point. See notes for instructions.
Amount of Juice ~ You'll need slightly less than 1 gallon of juice for this recipe, since the other ingredients take up some space in the carboy. I started with one gallon of juice and had 12 ounces left at the end as "extra." You may have more or less depending on your choice of fermentation vessel.
Yeast ~ For apple wine, choose a wine yeast with moderate alcohol tolerance, that either ferments clean or adds light fruit flavors. Good yeast choices include Lavin D47, Lalvin QA23, Red Star Premier Cuvee or Lavin EC-1118. See notes within the article for specific qualities of each yeast.
Stabilizing and Back Sweetening ~ If at the end of secondary, the wine is too dry for your tastes, back sweetening is an option. First, move the wine to a clean container (to avoid stirring up the sediment), then add 1 Campden tablet and 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate to stabilize the wine (kill the yeast). If the wine isn't stabilized before adding more sugar, it will rapidly ferment in the bottle with the added sugar and can cause bottles to burst under pressure.
Once stabilized, add sugar to taste. Make a simple syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar and water together in a saucepan, and then add that to the wine before bottling. Amounts will vary based on your taste, but I'd suggest starting with about 1/2 cup of sugar for one gallon of apple wine.
See notes within the article regarding stabilizing and back sweetening.
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Country Winemaking Recipes
Looking for more easy country winemaking recipes? Try any of these homemade fruit wines:
Apple Preservation Recipes
Bumper crop of apples this year? Try any of these apple preservation recipes:
Just a question: is there a way to ensure the finished product is not dry and much sweeter? I’d rather not have to use the campden tablets and potassium sorbate as well, but would prefer a sweeter wine. How can I do this without using those products?
Yes. Start by using a low alcohol tolerance wine yeast, so that they’ll die out on their own when you hit 15 or 16%. Then back sweeten after secondary, and rack the wine into a new container. Allow it to sit in this tertiary ferment for several months (or at least a month) so that you’re sure it’s completely done fermenting and all the yeasts have died out. If you want to be 100% sure, you can rack it yet again after that and let it sit for another month before bottling (taste it at this point, and make sure it’s sweet enough for your taste).
With this strategy, you’re allowing the yeasts to die in their own alcohol, which results in pretty strong wine, but it’s naturally stabilized. At that point, you can add as much dissolved sugar as you’d like to reach your desired level of sweetness.
Hi after I rack into my secondary fermentation vessel, should I add some more apple juice to reduce the head space? Will this dilute the final alcohol %.
Yes, you can add apple juice to the secondary to reduce headspace. It won’t substantially dilute your alcohol content, since really you shouldn’t need to add too much to top it off. Another thing people do to adjust the headspace here is add finished wine. Ideally, a past batch of apple wine, or some finished hard cider, or even a very neutral white wine.
Lacking either of those options, water or sugar water also work. Or some people also opt to just leave the headspace. All are options.
Hi there! Loved your recipe and followed it step by step. I just passed the six week mark and I’m wondering, how long should I wait to rack the wine after adding the stabilizer?
I noticed you mentioned the ‘lees’ producing off flavours in primary fermentation. I’ve racked my wine into my secondary fermentation vessel….its been a week and wine is clearing nicely but I’ve noticed residue building up again at the bottom of my vessel. Will that produce off flavours? Is it necessary to rack it again during the 6 months?
Many thanks in advance,
If you rack it further, it’ll just clarify further. Some people rack it every few weeks until it’s crystal clear, and that’s one option depending on your preferences (and how much you want to fuss with it). I’ve found that after primary the lees don’t really impact flavor if a small amount is in there through secondary, and I’m not too fussy about clarity so long as the wine is tasty. But yes, racking it every month or two during secondary should in theory improve quality at least marginally (assuming everything’s clean, and you don’t accidentally introduce contaminants/vinegar/etc).
Thank you so much Ashley. That’s really helpful to know. Just one more question….I’ve got a batch of strawberry and apple wine on the go. I noticed that the apple is in secondary for 6 months whereas the strawberry only 6 weeks before bottling….is there reason for that? Will the strawberry improve if I leave it as long as the apple?
Thank you for addressing my questions,
All the best
So the length of the secondary is pretty flexible. Strawberry is pretty darn good fresh, but yes, it’ll change and mature if you give it more time. For just about any wine, a secondary that lasts at least 4-6 weeks is the minimum. Beyond that, you can leave it to mature for 6 months to a year, for the most part, regardless of fruit variety. It’s really up to your preference. Some wines really improve with age in secondary, others only improve marginally. Generally, the more complex a wine is, the longer it needs to mellow. Things like strawberries are pretty bright, fresh and simple so they finish quick. Other things like damson plums need a year or so, because they’re pretty intense. Everything else is somewhere in the middle.
Thank you very much Ashley, thanks for sharing all your knowledge! Can’t wait until the end result!
Excellent recipe 👍 I just made with fresh squeezed apple juice. Used lalvin 1118 yeast and goferm protect with fermaid o nutrient. Wow those yeast were happy. I could of let it sit longer. I drank after 2 months. My next batch; I plan to leave for 6 months. I just got some fresh squeezed honey crisp apple juice. Thanks for starting me on making homemade 🍷
Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it!
I started making wine about a week ago, now my wine smells rotten. what is wrong?
Can you walk me through the process of exactly what you did? How long has the wine been fermenting and what kind of activity do you have? It definitely shouldn’t smell rotten but we can try and help you figure out what happened.
I tossed it out. I started a new batch yesterday. then I put the acid blend in with the campden tablets. will it be ok? Should I just contue?
If you started a new batch and followed the instructions then it should be fine. Let us know how it’s going.
The new batch is great! I also started a banana raspberry wine, it tastes so good!
What is your original gravity for apfelwein?
I’ve currently got a 5G batch of hard cider/juice from my own apples percolating that started at 1.030 that I upped to 1.034 with a few C of morena sugar. I’ve still got a zillion apples and am currently juicing more to get enough to make an actual apple wine. I don’t want to use cane or corn [or other] sugar to get a high enough gravity to make a decent wine from, so I’m juicing these skins on in a steamer and simmering off the water until I get more SG. So what did yours start at?
I don’t have any yeast nutrients can I use the raisins in this as we did in the peach wine
You sure can.
You reference apple juice, but I’m wondering if apple cider will work as well.
You can make it with either cider or juice.
What would happen if I threw a cinnamon stick or two in with primary?
Sounds like a good idea. Cinnamon can get bitter/intense if left in too long, but in for just the primary seems like it’d give it flavor without being overwhelming.
Thanks for this.
I am trying a batch with 1/2 gallon of peach juice and there are about two tablespoons of precipitate floating at the top.
It is finished fermenting after 17 days and I filtered it and bottled today, and will let it condition for awhile.
Should i be concerned about the precipitate, there were no off-smells, and the rest of the liquid was clear?
No, floating stuff is totally normal and fine. Just scoop it off so it doesn’t mold from being above the water line, but beyond that, it’s not an issue.
Thank you for that.
I am still alive to tell the tale, I filtered it and as it aged it got better and better.
After about 3-4 weeks it was quite nice (I just made sure to open the cap to relieve the pressure once a day).
I have read that crabapples are high in acid and tannins. I have a very productive crabapple tree, and I’m wondering how difficult it would be to substitute crabapples in an apple wine? Would that bee too advanced for a first-timer?
I’d try it and just skip adding the wine tannin to the recipe. Natural tannin is nice, and hard to find in modern apples, I bet it’ll make a really unique wine. Good luck!
So I made this using store bought apple juice, the raisins, and the black tea. Left it in secondary ferment for 7 months. Just bottled it and it smells like a port. It’s quite dark. I think it will be quite yummy but I am not sure what I did to it to make it so different…
Raisins can sometimes really contribute darker flavors to a wine, though I can’t say I’ve had anything come out like a port. Yeast nutrient is definitely a lot cleaner in flavor, but if you’re avoiding that for any reason try using golden raisins (sultanas) which have a lighter flavor profile.
I’m steam juicing 25 pounds of crabapples. I plan to use it to make wine. Will making the juice this way alter the recipe?
Nope, that should be totally fine.
I’m thinking of making this and using brown sugar instead of white and I was wondering when/if I need to backsweeten should I stick with brown sugar to do that or go with white at that time? I’m going to just do a one gallon batch because I would like to add some cinnamon sticks during secondary which I’ve never done so I don’t want to risk that on a bigger batch and ruin it.
To back sweeten you can use either white or brown sugar, either is fine. Brown sugar will obviously give it a different taste, but I think it’d be delicious.
Can these wines be stored in jars instead of bottles with corks? I realize that metal is probably not good
for them, so if I lined the metal plates with something would that work?? I have TONS of canning jars that
I would love to use. Do the corks let the wine breath a bit?
Mason jars should work just fine. I have seen tips to cover the jar with waxed paper prior to putting the lid on. You could try that if you want but it’s probably not necessary.
64oz bottle of juice with just over 9oz poured off.
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 tsp of Fleischmann’s bread yeast
I brew right in the juice bottles by leaving the cap just loose enough so I can squeeze air out or so I can wiggle the cap up and down just slightly. Too tight and it goes Kaboom. It’s constantly off-gassing and even if it did go to a vacuum, it would just pull the cap down and self seal so there’s no concern for contamination with wild yeast etc.
A batch for me is 6 bottles of juice plus one clean, empty bottle that I fill with what’s poured off of the full ones.
I have no way to measure exact so I estimate the little over 9 fl oz(9.143) poured off and it’s close enough.
9.143 x 7 = 64.001 and my 6 full plus 1 empty is 7 bottles total.
64 – 9.143 = 54.857 (9.143 fl oz poured off of each of the 6 bottles leaving 54.857 fl oz in the new bottles)
6 x 9.143 = 54.858 (9.143 fl oz poured into empty from 6 full bottles gives you 54.858 fl oz in the empty)
Taste will vary by apple juice brand. Welch’s was really bad(to me). The very cheapest no-name brands from discount grocery chains like Aldi, shop & save etc seem to work best, at least for me. Taste is different for everyone. I’m currently testing Old Orchard brand from Menard’s because I had a rebate to spend. Looks about the right color for what I like as far as taste. Also have Tipton Grove from Save-a-lot but it says concentrate from Moldova/China which doesn’t thrill me. Looks a little dull in color too. ALdi didn’t have any apple juice when I went so I haven’t tried that one yet
Works out to about 1/10 of the price of Natural Light beer, based on ABV. I don’t think there is a cheaper buzz.
Alternate batch is three 64 fl oz bottles and what’s poured off is just right to fill a 750 ml wine/liquor bottle. Feeling the looseness of the cap on the 750 ml bottle is a little trickier. I do 1/2 tsp of yeast and just over 1/2 c of sugar.
Head space ends up being about half way up the tapered top of the juice bottles and 2 inches down on the neck of the 750 ml bottles.
I use old 750 ml brandy bottles to rack wine into for the fridge where it cold crashes. I try to brew for 2 weeks but might hit first bottle in 10 days of I’m all out of wine. With this second recipe, that would be the 750 ml bottle. With the top recipe, I would pour off just under 2 1/2 – 750 ml bottles worth and drink the slightly less than half bottle that night. All go in the fridge to cold crash aka stop the brewing process.
64 oz = 1890 ml / 750 ml = 2.52 but you can’t pour it all off because there’s sludge at the bottom so I get about 2 1/3 – 750 ml bottles in reality.
I rack one 64 fl oz bottle at a time so the last bottle might brew for a month which is fine.
Two things I want to get: A lab beaker with straight sides so I can mark off 270 ml exactly. (9.143 fl oz = 270 ml) and a siphon unit for racking as it’s hard to pour off and not get any sludge.
Some 250 ml beakers have 10ml markings but 250 is less than 270 so I’d have to pour off 100 ml and then 170 ml. The 500 ml beakers don’t have 10 ml markings but it would be easy enough to measure and mark 270 with a straight sided beaker.
I have been making apple (and other) wines for years, and one thing that really bugged the frugal (i.e., cheap) side of me was throwing the apple must into the compost bin, or just letting the chickens have it (nothing wrong with these options, but I wanted a more direct route to my stomach for recycling this stuff!). Then one day I had an eptithany..epiffany,… I had a great idea. I searched on line for an apple cake recipe and found one for German apple cake. It called for fresh apples but I figured the apple must would be just as good right? Oh yeah, it was great! Now, for my wine I always core the apples, don’t want the seed in there, and after removing bad spots, worms etc,, then I grate them in a food processor. After fermenting, the must is in a excellent state for incorporation into the cake batter; however, if you don’t peel your apples you might end up with the odd piece of apple skin. But hey, a small inconvenience as far as I’m concerned. So every year, I bag up the must and use it to make delicious German Apple Cake. The recipe I use I found at Allrecipies; it calls for 4 cups of peeled skinned and diced apples, I substitute 2 cups of must.
PS I now have 5 gallons of beet in in primary fermenters, I’m going to try making borscht soup with that must!
What a great way to use up that must. Thanks so much for sharing.
I decided to make this for a Christmas gift and ordered everything last night but not I realize I’m a little short on time. You said secondary fermentation needed to be 6 weeks min and 7 days for primary. Do you think there is any way to speed this up? Like would it be ok after 2 1/2 weeks in secondary to move it to the wine bottles and let it finish in the bottles? Just tell everyone to wait a couple months before drinking?
If you allow it to finish fermenting in the bottles. You could have an issue with pressure building up inside the bottles.
I bottled my apple pear wine to early last year & all the bottles exploded. What a mess I had!
Oh no. I’m so sorry that happened.
Hi, I noted in your commentary a suggestion of molasses to give a “caramel flavor”. How much molasses, do you reduce the amount of cane or brown sugar, and does this change the fermentation process?
If you want that, I’d suggest just using brown sugar in place of cane sugar in the recipe. That has just a bit of molasses, enough to give good flavor there without overwhelming.