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A tall glass of maple hard apple cider, surrounded by brightly coloured fall maple leaves.
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5 from 2 votes

Maple Hard Apple Cider

Hard Apple Cider is easy to make, and SO tasty. This Homemade Maple Hard Apple Cider recipe leans in on the fall flavours even more!
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Resting time130 d
Total Time130 d 2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 Gallons
Calories: 1030kcal
Author: Marie Porter

Equipment

2 gallon fermenter bucket and lid
1 - 2 1 gallon glass carboys
1 air lock and stopper
Siphon, siphon tubing.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon Apple cider*
  • 2 cups Light Brown Sugar packed
  • 2 cups Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 Packet Wine or Cider yeast We like Red Star “Cote de Blancs” for this recipe

Instructions

  • In large stock pot, combine apple cider, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Heat to almost boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  • Once cider starts bubbling, turn the temp to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Think more “keep it warm”, than any kind of active simmer.
  • While the pot is simmering, prepare your fermenter bucket:
    Wash and sanitize a 2 gallon plastic fermenter, lid, stopper, air lock, and wire strainer.
  • Place acid blend and yeast nutrient into the plastic fermenter. Affix the stopper to the lid of the fermenter, cover and set aside.
  • Once the 20 minute simmer is up, remove from heat, allow to cool.**
  • Carefully pour cider into the fermenter.
  • Once mixture has cooled to room temperature, use a sanitized funnel to transfer cooled mixture to a sanitized 2 gallon fermenter.
  • Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading. Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)
  • Sprinkle yeast into fermenter, cover with sanitized air lock. Let sit, undisturbed, overnight.
  • Within 48 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the cider must. This means you’re good to go! Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.
  • Using sanitized equipment, rack the clarified cider off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 1 gallon carboy (and an extra ½ gallon carboy, if you need it!). Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
  • When you’ve let it clarify as much as you have patience for – with no more sediment being produced – you can move on to bottling:

For Uncarbonated Cider

  • Using sanitized equipment, take a final gravity reading, then rack the cider into clean, sanitized beer bottles, and cap them. Allow to age for a month or so before drinking. (Like wine, the flavor improves with age!)

For Naturally Carbonated Cider

  • In a small pot, mix together 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar or brown sugar. Use a sanitized funnel to pour this into a sanitized large carboy. Rack the cider over into this carboy, swirling it as you go. Bottle cider as described in the previous step. Allow to age at least a month or two – residual yeast will ferment the added sugar, carbonating the cider.

For Force-Carbonated Cider

  • Alternatively, you can rack the cider (without the added sugar syrup!) into a keg and force carbonate it, if you have the set up for that. That’s what we did with our last batch, and blew through it pretty quick during the tornado clean up! Chilled hard apple cider is just what’s needed for that sort of thing, LOL!
  • Enjoy.. and start planning for next year’s batch(es)!

Notes

*Apple Cider: You want it to be preservative free. This is absolutely key! If your apple cider has anything like sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, etc, your yeast will not be able to ferment it. Worst case scenario, most grocery stores will carry a pasteurized apple cider in plastic bottles, near the apple juice. Go for it!
** Sugar: While sugar is technically optional, NOT adding any sugar will result in a very, very dry cider. Any amount of sugar will result in a higher alcohol content. At around 7 lbs, you should have a good, semi sweet cider. We like to use brown sugar, as we find that it gives the final cider a richer flavor. Feel free to use either type, raw cane sugar, or a mixture of any/all of these.
** It doesn’t have to be all the way to room temperature, just cool enough that if it splashes on you, it won’t hurt - that’s a good guideline!
IMPORTANT:
Software generates nutritional information based on the ingredients as they start, and is unable to account for the sugars consumed in the fermentation process. As such, the calories, sugars, and carbs are shown WAY higher than reality.
Additionally, the listed value is for the entire recipe, NOT per serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 1030kcal | Carbohydrates: 259g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 1171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 235g | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 274mg | Iron: 2mg