With juice and strain, whole apples go in the juicer at one end and clear apple juice is drawn off at the other. It couldn’t be simpler and the whole process is relatively mess free. Once you’ve got your clear juice, simply add yeast and store in a vessel sealed from air by an airlock and you’ll have crystal-clear cider in a matter of weeks.

To make five gallons of cider, you will need…


• 8kg (18lb) of apples per gallon (demi-john), washed twice. I make 40kg (88lb) batches

• 5g (¼oz) champagne yeast

• Campden tablets for sanitising

• Sugar (optional, for making sparkling cider)


Brewing kit

• Whole fruit juicer (the greater the wattage, the better. Ensure it has an outlet that will attach to a hose)

• Food-safe plastic hose, 40cm (16in) long with 2.5cm (1in) internal diameter

• Spring clamp

• Fine straining bag, 60 x 60cm (24 x 24in) 

• 5 gallon open-top brewing bucket with a tap at the bottom

• 2 x 2 gallon buckets. Drill 30 small holes in the bottom of the straining bucket. It should be the same diameter as, or slighter larger at the rim than, your brewing bucket, so that it can slot into the brewing bucket leaving plenty of room for the juice to flow through

• Hydrometer 

• Funnel

• 5 gallon carboy or 5 x 1 gallon demijohns

• Airlock(s) and rubber stopper(s) 

• 1 pint measuring jug


Note: speciality brewing items, including fermenting bins, straining bags and food-safe plastic hoses are all available from most home-brewing suppliers.


Racking and bottling kit

• Rubber tubing for siphoning

• Siphon tap (optional, helpful for pausing the flow between bottles.)

• Serving tray (or any tray with a rim)

• Beer bottles (recycling boxes are full of them!)

• Crown-style bottle caps

• Hand-operated bottle capper


Obtaining the apples

If you don’t have your own apple tree(s), you could ask a neighbour with a surplus if they wish to donate their apples in exchange for some cider, or you may be able to negotiate a deal with a local fruit grower. Alternatively, you could buy apples from your local market. I’ve had many enjoyable haggling sessions with Bradley at Guildford Market, but invariably end up paying about £1 per kilo, regardless of the apples’ country of origin or variety. The fruit I’ve bought has always been exclusively dessert apples, but the finished ciders have all proved to be refreshingly enjoyable.


Photography: Philip Hartley

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