This recipe makes a 1 gallon batch, If a larger batch is desired, all ingredients will scale proportionately.
***Note that 1 pack of yeast would be enough for 6 gallons.
Sweeter eating varieties, especially Delicious, are to be avoided. Winesap, McIntosh, Jonathans, and crab apples are best.
12 lbs. of ripe apples (mixed varieties are OK)
2.0 lbs. sugar
80 oz. water
1 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 crushed Campden tablet
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 pack of Lalvin K1-V1116 or EC-1118 wine yeast
Primary fermenter, stirring spoon, hydrometer, straining bag, siphon tubing kit, 1 gallon carboy or jug, an airlock and bung. A thermometer and brewing belt may be used to monitor and control temperature.
Helpful hint: make sure all equipment (i.e. stirring spoon, etc.) is sterilized. Contaminated equipment can ruin the quality of the juice and the ending product.
Stage 1: Preparation
Chop the apples into small pieces, avoiding the core so as not to cut any seeds. Put into primary fermentation vessel, add the water and crushed and dissolved Campden tablet and cover the mixture with sanitized muslin or towel. The water will not cover the apples, so stir every two hours to bring bottom apples to the top. After 12 hours, add the pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient, recover the primary, and continue occasional stirring to circulate the fruit. After additional 12 hours, add activated yeast.
Yeast Hydration and primary fermentation: in a large cup add 4 ounces of warm chlorine free water. This water is to not exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir contents of yeast packet into warm water and be sure to break up any clumps. Let mixture stand in cup for 15 minutes. Bubbling or increase in mixture size is a good sign of rehydration. Add an equal part of juice to the hydrated yeast mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. Pour yeast mixture into bucket and stir gently. Next, measure and record the Specific Gravity and temperature to establish a fermentation starting point. Recording your S.G. and temperature in a log will be helpful especially if you would like to duplicate your results next season.
***Place primary fermenter with lid lightly on (can use a cheese cloth or clean hair net over bucket) and in a location, that is 65-75 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Consistent stirring: Stir gently twice daily for 5 minutes. Stir once in the morning and once in the evening. Continue to monitor the yeast activity (bubbling, foaming, etc.) that is most active in this stage. Readings of S.G. decrease as sugar converts to alcohol.
Stage 2: Secondary Fermentation
Once the vigorous fermentation has subsided, rack to the secondary fermentation vessel, a one gallon carboy or jug, gently press the fruit to extract remaining wine, add remaining sugar and fit the airlock with bung in the opening. Although yeast activity will decrease as the fermentation process proceeds, the process will continue on in this phase.
S.G. Monitoring: Check S.G.: if 0.990-0.996 the wine will be dry, if 1.000 it will be medium- sweet, if greater than 1.000 it will be a sweet wine. Allow fermentation to continue longer if needed for desired dryness. You should taste the wine to find the dryness or sweetness level that is desired. When the wine is ready, proceed to stabilization. Remember temperature controls the rate of fermentation, cool temperature will extend days required for fermenting your wine or stop the process prematurely leading to problem wine.
Stage 3: Stabilization
Stabilize the racked wine to the STERILIZED plastic bucket or carboy, and add stabilizer (potassium metabisulfate and potassium sorbate). Dilute the contents with some wine from your carboy. Pour contents on the bottom of the bucket or carboy. Next, rack the rest of the wine, leaving dead yeast and sediment behind. (Note: further fermentation will not occur after this step). Stir to de-gas the wine before final stabilizing and clearing.
If transferring to a bucket, STERILIZE the carboy and refill with stabilized wine to the top (it is essential to fill the carboy to the top with no room for air), fit airlock and place in a cool area. Make sure the carboy is topped off. Wine exposure to oxygen can oxidize the wine and cause spoilage. Go by the “thumb rule”-there should not be any empty space beyond the length of your thumb from the opening of the carboy. Fix the air lock and bung. When siphoning wine, make sure the wine that needs to be racked is higher than the new, sterilized, vessel. Once stabilized, sweeten to taste.
Stage 4: Aging / Bottling
Store the wine in a dry, cool place for 35 to 45 days to allow further stabilization. You should notice the wine clearing and sediment collecting on the bottom of the carboy. Repeat the racking process several times every 35-45 days to achieve maximum clarity, if desired. At this stage, you may also consider clarifying agents (SuperKleer, Gelatin, etc.) if the wine is still cloudy or aging materials like oak essence or chips are used to add tannin, or astringent, oak flavor. When wine is clear, it is ready for bottling. Make sure bottles and closures are clean and sterilized. Filtering your wine is an option, but is recommended. Allow the wine to age for six months in the bottle, but for best results age for one year.