FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Easy Peasy Homebrew Hard Cider

This method is so cheap easy that I cannot tell you why it took me 27 years to start making my own cider!!
It requires no skill, no special equipment and no sterilisation and you can be drinking your own amazing homebrew cider in as little as 3 weeks.

You will need:

5L water bottle
4.5L Apple Juice
1 balloon
some teabags
a sachet of cider yeast

The beauty of this method is that since everything you are using is sealed in a sterile package, there is no need to clean or sterilise anything.

The bottle of water we are interested in only for the container itself, so pour out all of the water (it is better if you don't waste it, fill up the kettle or put it to use, just don't drink it directly from the bottle as we want it sterile!)

The apple juice MUST be 100% apple juice, not apple juice drink. It is ok if it is from concentrate, just check that it is 100% juice and nothing else, anything with an additive/preservative in it will likely kill the yeast and stop you making any cider. At the time of writing this post the cheapest apple juice was either 55p per litre Sainsbury's basics, or 88p per 1.5L at Lidls.

Pour the apple juice in to the 5L container, leaving a few inches at the top of the bottle to accommodate any frothing/foaming caused by the yeast later.
At this stage add the magic ingredient, a cup of VERY strong tea (use 4 or 5 teabags, no milk)
This is the easiest way to get tannin in to the mixture.

Add the yeast last, in theory you could use half the packet but I always tip a full one in just to be sure as they are not expensive.

Stretch the balloon over the neck of the bottle as a makeshift airlock to keep contaminants out whilst still allowing the gasses to expand and the rest is just a waiting game

After around 3 weeks the cider should have cleared up nicely and you will be left with a delicious flat cider similar to scrumpy. I prefer my cider fizzy, so at the 3 week mark I pour the cider in to individual bottles, add a spoon of sugar to each and cap them off for another week. if the C02 produced by the yeast cannot escape it's container then the bottle will become pressurised and the drink will become carbonated, i.e Fizzy :)

At that stage you can put it in the fridge to chill and enjoy a great home made cider which depending on which yeast you've used should finish out around 3-4% ABV. If you wanted to turn a great cider in to an amazing cider, then try adding a full jar of honey when you put the strong tea in, this will give the yeast more sugar to feed off and will finish the cider off at around 6-7% ABV




  1. Several folk on the now defunct River Cottage forum had a go at this, and termed it 'turbo cider'. I've not tried it from juice, so have ordered some to give it a go too :)


  2. There bare basic of Turbo cider is literally just applejuice and yeast. once you start adding anything more than that you go down the slippery slope to becoming a real home brewer lol

  3. i'm so looking forward to making this :) do you make the tea hot or cold? x

    1. I put the tea in hot, it will make the juice lukewarm which is perfect for the yeast that goes in afterwards

  4. Can you use regular yeast? What is cider yeast?
    Love the blog!!!

    1. cider yeast is specifically designed/selected for turning apple juice in to cider, but if you can't find cider yeast in your area thensparkling wine/champagne yeast will do the trick, each yeast creates a different subtle flavouring so its always worth experimenting to see what works for you :)

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  6. Sorry, I should proofread my comments better! That should have read:

    Do you just drink it after the three weeks? Or do you need to kill off the yeast somehow? I've got some on the go right now! Thanks for the method?

    1. Hi chris,
      You can kill of the yeast by refrigerating if you don't want to carbonate it or want to stop further fermentation. As long as it is sealed in bottles it'll last months once it's finished so no need to rush drinking it all, unless like us you want to! ;)


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