How to Make German Apfelwein

Apfelwein- 5 Gallon Batch

Portland may be known for coffee and beer -- but cider is the next BIG thing. This is an exceedingly simple recipe to make a delicious (and potent) Apfelwein Apple Hard Cider. The finished product should result in about 8.5% abv with a dry, crisp, tart finish. Serve cold in the summer or warm it up like cider on a chilly evening.

Ingredients:

  • 5 gallons 100% apple juice (pure, no preservatives, ascorbic acid is OK)

  • 2 lbs dextrose (granulated corn sugar)

  • 1 pack Montrachet yeast

Equipment:

  • 5 gallon carboy

  • carboy stopper w/ airlock

  • funnel

Directions:

  1. Clean and sanitize carboy, airlock, stopper and funnel.

  2. Pour half of a 1-gal container of apple juice into the carboy using the funnel.

  3. Pour 1/5th of the dextrose into the remaining apple juice in the container, shake well to dissolve sugar.

  4. Add dissolved mixture of sugar and apple juice into carboy, repeat until all sugar and juice is added to the carboy and fully dissolved except for 1-2 quarts of juice.

  5. Open yeast, and pour whole packet into opening of funnel.

  6. Use last 1-2 quarts of apple juice to rinse yeast slowly into carboy.

  7. Cap carboy with stopper and airlock

  8. Let sit at room temperature (60-75 degrees) fermenting for 4 weeks minimum.

  9. There is little need to rack as the cider will ferment very clear. Secondary fermentation is also completely optional.

  10. Bottle and store between 4 and 10 weeks – the cider will vastly improve with age.

  11. Patience! Store as long as possible, with flavor greatly improving past 6 months.

Options:

  1. More Sugar = More Alcohol, add 1 lbs more dextrose for an extra boost!

  2. Champagne yeast such as the Montrachet leads to a very dry, clean cider. For sweeter cider, many prefer to back-sweeten this recipe with more apple juice, lactose, brown sugar, or honey.

  3. Alternative yeasts (ale, mead) can be experimented with, resulting in a sweeter product.

  4. Racking, fining, carbonation etc... although not necessary with this recipe, each has their place in a winemaker’s toolbox and can be applied here.

  5. Make Grog, Mulled Wine, or Spiced Cider with your Apfelwein. Or, add cinnamon, allspice, pumpkin spice, vanilla, cloves, etc to fine-tune the flavor.

Watch my how-to video here:


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