Episode-1684- Making Dead Simple Ciders, Meads and “Fruit Wines” — 60 Comments

  1. This comment is for an idea you mentioned on yesterday’s show re 60 day video idea…

    Love the idea!

    I’ve been a listener since 2010 – one thing that would help me would be to keep the steps REALLY easy. Like limit it to doing 5 things. I’ve noticed I sometimes get overwhelmed and do nothing – like on a question about a medical kit…if doc bones lists 5 things and I’ve got 3 of them, I’ll likely pick up the other 2. But if he lists 30 things and I’ve got 8 of them, I probably will continue to only have 8 of them because of overwhelm.

    While I have adopted at a respectable level many of the preparedness areas (starting an orchard, animals and garden, moving out of urban Southern California to rural SW Wisconsin, having 3 types of heat, generator, cash reserves, firearms and firearm training, fuel reserves) I have very low level of preparedness for other areas (10 gallons of water and I’m on a well – HELLO!, a very disorganized and insufficient medical kit situation, and very inadequate documentation).

  2. Jack, glad you mentioned Edworts Apfelwein. I have made about 30 gallons of it. I bottle in Growlers and give as gifts. I never seem to have enough on hand!

  3. Jack at his best, teaching something he’s excited about!
    My mind is blown at the possibilities with this. I’ve wanted to get into home brewing for years, but didn’t need another expensive hobby that created a bunch of work. This is more like it!

  4. Jack meant “fool proof” even though he wrote “full proof”! I wish my errors were so small!

  5. Your opening comment about that ’70s car that us in our 40’s started off with – The real question could be ‘how many of us would like to have that beater back rather than worrying about the lack of driving skill of those around us?’

    • I would love to have mine in restored condition! 1972 Pontiac Grand Prix LG with a 455 and Rochester Quadrojet Carb! Paid 300 for it, put in a 150 dollar transmission after that, replaced a few hoses and put brakes on it, drove it 2.5 years and sold it for 400 dollars as basically a junk car to strip down for a guy rebuilding the same type of car with a better body on it.

    • 1974 Dodge Dart Sport (dodge version of the duster). Had the Huge Rubber push bumper on the solid steel front bumper. Some kid learning stick rolled back into me on a steep hill one time and I did him the favor of pushing him up the hill till he got the clutch to catch! Good times!

  6. Super glad that you like my way of testing. I have been brewing alcohol scene 1989 when the drinking age changed in Wyoming.

    I have over 122 different mead I have made.
    I have never had a bad mead, but I have drank bad mead.

    I mad a cabbage mead once. it was 44% and tasted like bad lemon rubbing alcohol.

    I only know Bees and Mead

    I am so Happy You liked this Jack.




  7. You can tell when someone us very knowledgeable and excited about something when they explain it and “that’s all there is to it, very easy.” And you’re thinking “ummm, ok?” Lol. I mostly got lost on after it’s fermented, then what.

    Great episode though Jack! Information overload to someone who have never messed with home brewing at all. Fortunately we can go back and listen again. I’m guessing it’s also one of those things your have to just do to really get it to click.

    There’s some apple juice in the store (Target) that has some of the “bits” of apple left floating in it. Would that work well?

    • **My edit didn’t go through on my phone. The first paragraph should read:

      You can tell when someone is very knowledgeable and excited about something when they explain it and say “that’s all there is to it, very easy!” And you’re thinking “ummm, ok? I’m lost” Lol. I mostly got lost on the part where after it’s fermented, then what.

    • Basically, the thing I missed and am wondering is what is bare bones required process after the apple juice is fermented? Is a 2nd ferment needed? Do I need another container to transfer to? Does it need to sit for so long?

      In short, I understand there are so many things I can do to add flavors and textures, but (and I’m sure Jack said it and I missed it) as someone who has never home brewed before, what do I need to do to post ferment to properly make apple cider to try and see if it’s something I would enjoy doing and can dive deeper into then? If Jack did say it, maybe point me to the time in the episode where I can listen closer?

    • LOL I have a bottle of that very brand of wine about half empty right now. Not my fave but I bought it because it is 12.50 bucks a gallon at Albertsons and a one gallon glass jug shipped on amazon is well, 11.95. So I figure the wine cost me 55 cents!

      I think I saw apple cider (good fresh pressed stuff) at whole foods in glass one gallon jugs for like 9 bucks, so next time I am there, bazinga!

      I like fermenting in plastic fine, but I just am old school I guess and really prefer to rack into glass if I am doing any secondary, etc.

  8. Hey Jack. I started brewing in 1977, with my dad, and have been more or less in production since. I recently moved into a home which had in the past, a mold problem.
    Haven’t been able to get a fermentation going since. (even though the inspectors all claim that the abatement was successful.

    Your idea about fermenting in the original container strikes me as a way around this issue. Pitch yeast and airlock on the front porch, then carry into house.

    I’ll have to content myself with wines and ciders for now, and leave beer for later, when I am living somewhere else.

  9. Hi Jack,

    Great episode. Until I heard your closing comments. You stated that America was victorious in the war of 1812. I think it is in your interest to research that so-called fact again.
    I grew up in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, were many battles of the war of 1812 took place. If anything I would say and accept, ” the War of 1812 ended with everything status quo. After more than two years of fighting, both the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent, reverting the shared borders between the U.S. and the colonies of Canada back to where they were before the war. Written Jun 14, 2013 by Who Won The War Of 1812? | WYPR”.
    It is one of the only wars that took place on Canadian lands and one where we were not defeted. I do believe that during one particular battle, Americans made it as far as Hamilton, Ontario and Canadians fought back all the way to the American White House in Washington, D.C, and in fact burnt it down. The only time the White House was destroyed in battle.
    If this information from my schooling and, is incorrect then there is something wrong with Canadian education systems (there are many commercials for Canadian Heritage that also promote this information), however, if this information is correct, then maybe, American’s have been misinformed. Again.
    Either way, there are few times I feel the need to speak up in regards to anything as so many have opinions and comments, but I would like you to reconsider the knowledge you have about this one particular item. In my mind, when I am being the true human of my country, hell yeah, we burnt down that house and once we saw there was no more fight, we went home and had a great big party, but the polite Canadian in me says, sorry, we burnt down that house to say, sorry, no you can not come into my country and tell me where the boarders are, you can not have my land too. Canadians won the war of 1812 but because I don’t want to start more fights, we can negotiate to “ended with everything status quo”.

    Have a great day and enjoy the mead!

    • Sorry the US won.

      The people that still OWN your nation invaded our capital and burned it, tried to take over, they got their asses handed to them and were sent back to run your nation and the rest of their crumbling empire. Your nation still has their Queen on YOUR MONEY. Done the end go out.

      By your logic the north didn’t win the war between the states because it simply resulted in a return to the status quo. Now go be a good subject to her majesty the Queen. LOL

  10. FYI — a lot of store-bought apple juice comes from China nowadays. For those who avoid food products from that country, make sure to check your labels!

  11. Yes Jack,

    Johnny Appleseed is a real person. My 8th cousin on my Dad’s side. My Grandmother called him a bum. Dad would just laugh at her. I was all starry-eyed because I was related to a character we were learning about in school.

    It is cool though, because I have always loved trees, I wanted a tree nursery and have every kind of tree imaginable but especially trees that provided food. The knowledge that I am related to Johnny Appleseed “Chapman” probably planted the seed, –lol. But that is what the permaculture movement is all about, food forest and sustainable/regenerative earth care.

  12. PS: I actually know that food forests are just a part of a larger design system based on how the edges interact with each other to form larger patterns of dynamic activity. I am working toward understanding much more so I will be ready to get to work as soon as the weather brakes this spring.

  13. Okay one more

    Here is an excerpt from the above article:

    “The historical record is clear that hops’ supplantation of other herbs was primarily a reflection of Protestant irritation about “drugs” and the Catholic church in concert with competing merchants trying to break a monopoly and so increase their profits. The motivations were religious and mercantile. Reasons not so different than the ones used to illegalize marijuana in the United States in the twentieth century. That this occurred is…”

    • Only part of it really. Hops do preserve beer and that is a big part of their use too. I talk about it today, when you ship ale to your soldiers in India from England around the African cape, frankly heather doesn’t get it there in fresh condition, your soldiers get mad, don’t do the states bidding as well, etc.

  14. What does the ambient room temperature need to be when you are fermenting? We are trying to keep our utility bills down so the house is 60 degrees when we are home and 50 degrees while we are not there. Would that be too cold to ferment or would it just happen slower?

    • sure it will run slower but it will run fine and lower temps are great for keep off flavors down

    • Not to step on Jack’s toes in a response, but one of the yeasts he mentions is T-58, but it depends on what yeast you are using. Here is the info sheet to T-58:
      It’s a great yeast and we use it in our brewery.

      If you are using this yeast, a steady 50 degrees would probably cease or almost stop fermentation, but if we take an average temp here (day to night), your liquid would run an average of around 55 degrees. While not an ideal temp, fermentation would occur… slowly as Jack indicated.

      You may get better results with a lager yeast. This is a yeast that thrives in cooler fermentation temps and will make a decent cider.

      Really it depends on the temperature your yeast will function at. You can get this info from most common yeast manufacturers like the T-58 mentioned above.


  15. If you really screw up a batch you can still distill it into a nice brandy. The electric Megahome distiller like Steve Harris sells is great for this.

    • You can’t make brandy with a Harris still it goes to far too fast! You will dump it out at about 130-150 proof in one run and there will be almost no flavor left. It will actually taste like ass in some ways, you will need to run it a second and may be a third time, then dilute down to the proof you want it with pure water. You then have vodka no matter what you stated out with.

      If you want a brandy you want a pot still or something like that. Here is a really awesome set up for INFORMATION only because of course this is illegal and I would never recommend that, ;>)

  16. Hey Jack. Thanks you inspire me every day. By the way the ORANGE carboy caps on the link for Edworts Apfelwein fit perfectly on the TreeTop gallon jugs. I just threw a zip tie on top to seal it and done. #Gettingshitdone

    Thanks for inspiring us all


  17. Great episode! Inspired me to dust off my brewing equipment and make some cider. I found one gallon of Zeigler’s Old Fashioned Apple Cider at Big Lots for $3.00! It is pasteurized and contains no preservatives. I only have some Belgian yeasts, but think that will make an interesting hard cider.At that price, I may go buy all they have.

  18. Is there a video showing the process. For the life of me, I can’t find it but thought Jack said he’d have one showing the process. Thanks! Josh

  19. Buffalo

    We have one of the biggest herds East of the Mississippi here in Michigan. It is sold in stores and no one thinks twice about it. The meat is actually one of the artisanal draws for up north. The animals are much smaller than the wild ones out west but I’m guessing they still harvest a lot of meat from them. I am not sure what they do with the by products. As an offal eater I should call and see. It might be worth the effort and time to drive and get some buffalo heart and kidney.

  20. Hey Jack,
    Let me say up front that my knowledge of history is no doubt meager compared to yours, but I’m perplexed by your affection for Andrew Jackson. My understanding has always been that he was the first president to really just steal land from the Indians, and all that it entails, so if you wouldn’t mind taking the time, I’d love to hear you expound on Jackson. Meaning is it that you liked the things he did early but he turned to shit later, or you just like specific things and not him in general, or am I just completely wrong in my understanding? Thanks!

    • We started stealing land the day we got here, to blame Jackson as being the first is simply fallacy.

      In short I am opposed to his killing and displacing Native American’s policy but it was more a function of the time then of Jackson. I see this no different than admiring Jefferson in spite of his ownership of slaves.

      When I say Jackson was the last good president we had, I mean he kept his oath, followed the constitution and freed us from the tyranny of a central bank.

      If Jackson were reborn into our modern day and elected in 2016 I imagine he’d pick up right where he left off, and yet never bother a single native person ever again.

  21. Purchased my first jug of Motts AJ to try this project after seeing comment regarding that Tree Top is not from China. Motts I purchase is labeled as made and bottled in Plano, Tx.

    Re: airlock stoppers, does anyone know the stopper size for the square one gallon plastic jugs of juice. Thanks

    • You may want to check deeper into that. I don’t use Motts, no reason not to I just get really good deals on Tree Top at Costco like 7.97 for two gallons.

      But MADE IN PLANO means in Plano they dumped concentrate into water, mixed, pasteurized and bottled there. That says nothing about the source of the apples. So you need to id the source, on Tree Top and some others it says, “Made from 100% US Apples”.

      So if that is important to you, dig a bit deeper. I can promise you no commercial apples are grown in Plano.

      • Correcto-Mundo Jack. Just purchased the TreeTop brand and it clearly states 100% Washington State apples bottled in Selah, WA. Been there many times over the years. Placed a call to Motts, a Cadbury Schweppes company and now bottled by Dr.Pepper Snapple in Plano, Tx. No where on the Motts packaging or website do I find the origin of their apples. A call placed to their HQ reveals they are closed for the Holiday. I will follow up next week to find the source of Motts apples.

        Now that I have a gallon of each I’ll run a side by side fermenting comparison.

  22. I had never tried brewing before. After this recent series of episodes, I now have 5 1 gallon batches going with various types of juice and yeast, etc.

    So far it really is easy, but I’ll know for sure when I taste it in a few weeks.

    I have to say I vote yes for the rhino fart smell. It smells like independence to me.

    Thanks for everything you do Jack.

    Jack in Alpharetta GA

    • Got 5 gallons of homebrewed red ale and some small batch cider over here in Marietta, GA. Good luck on your first tasting Alpharetta

      PS: Nice farm! Plan on doing very similar things here but on a lot less land.

      • Thanks. Good luck on your projects. Keeping moving forward. Some days it will feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Then you’ll look back and realize how much progress you’ve made. Take lots of pictures. It’s fun to compare them over the years.

  23. Jack,
    thanks for the inspiration. I have been meaning to do this for a while now. I work right across the street from so I have no excuse for not doing this sooner. I went ahead and picked up a few glass gallon jugs at $4.50 each and some cheap apple juice from walmart. I think I paid about $3.50 a gallon. I am starting out with an ale 04 yeast and a cider yeast.

    Does anyone have experience reusing yeast? I know there is a lot of controversy about washing and not washing yeast. If this is done continually it will save about a buck a gallon depending on the yeast.

    • We’ve propagated and washed yeast here and have had pretty good luck. There are a ton of articles out there on doing both. If you are washing yeast, one school of thought is to not go beyond 5 generations, but you’ll hear different numbers from just about everyone.

      Also, you’ll have better luck washing your yeast if you are targeting cider strength alcohol content. Full strength meads/wines may kill off a lot more of the yeast making washing a little less effective.

      We plan on 3 generations. Afterwards we’ll use fresh yeast, but having off flavors in a 220 gallon batch is a lot more costly than in a one gallon batch.

      US-04 is a great yeast. We’ve used it in some of our beer and light meads. It is pretty resilient… I’d say wash it until you start noticing different flavors, and at that point you’ll know how many generations you’ll get.


  24. Thanks Will. After looking at some of the yeasts Jack recommended in the show I can see why it was not covered. At 60 cents a packet it is probably not worth the effort.

    I have seen a few threads on home brew talk discussing this. They mention separating the yeast from (I don’t remember the term used). When things begin settling out is the yeast the bottom layer or the top layer?

    • Hi Peter,

      I think you may be referring to yeast rinsing instead of washing. In rinsing you are extracting the most viable yeast. Trub is the sediment at the bottom of your fermenting vessel. With cider from filtered apple juice, it’s mostly composed inactive yeast. Fresh pressed apple juice will have a bit more trub in the bottom of your fermenting vessel.

      If you are rinsing, you are adding sterile water and the slurry (trub + liquid that didn’t get bottled) from the bottom of your fermenting vessel in a jar and shaking to mix well. When things begin to settle out, there will be some stratification in your jar. The top layer (if visible) will consist of mostly water which can be poured off carefully. The middle layer will consist of active and viable yeast which should be poured into a different sanitary jar (save this), and the bottom layer can be discarded.

      Since you are dealing with cider, the stratification may not be so apparent between the water and the active yeast cells. Beer produces a bit more trub (more proteins, fats, hop particles, etc) and the stratification is more apparent. If the stratification isn’t apparent between the water and the active yeast particles, you could save all of it, but still discard the bottom layer.

      If you are interested, here is a good article explaining the difference between rinsing and washing yeast… and the steps involved.

      Good luck!

  25. My first batch with 04 is at the 2 week mark. It is pretty clear now, activity in the airlock has slowed but there is still a bubble every few minutes. Should I rack to a secondary or go straight to bottles?

    Also once I have put in my 1/2 tsp of sugar and capped the bottle how long will it take them to carbonate?

  26. I may of had a well duh moment, or an aha! moment. You should be able to make apple cider vinegar from your hard apple cider. I think you can make any fermented beverage into vinegar. There’s red and white wine vinegar why not mead vinegar, ha! Might be a fun experiment, gotta get me some cider going first.