Cider makers FAQ

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Cider Making FAQ - information for cider makers

These pages help develop frequently asked questions and answers about cider making, gleaned from the group knowledge as it flows through the ukcider mailing list from cider makers and other sources. The aim is to help new and existing cider makers to setup and improve all aspects of small scale cidermaking, whether as a hobby or small business. Once people have been aquainted with the product, there is a growing demand for real cider and perry so the more people who begin to get involved in making at at any level, the better for the industry overall.


General cider making issues

  • How much cider can you make before the taxman wants his bit?
  • What is a 'personal license'?
  • Is there a form you have to fill in to get the exemption?
  • anything else I should know?
  • How much duty is currently payable on production above 70hl
  • What's involved in obtaining 'Organic' certification?

Above questions and more answered at General cider making issues

Fruit Tree Orchards FAQ

  • Planting a new Orchard
  • Pruning advice
  • What makes a 'good blend' of apples for cider?
  • crab apples
  • Bittersweet, Bittersharp, Sharp, and Sweet apples

Above questions and more answered at Fruit Tree Orchards FAQ

Getting started - first steps FAQ

  • Do I need to wash the fruit?
  • What about mould and brown patches?
  • How do I avoid contamination?
  • Why Campden Tablets?

Cider Press and fruit pressing FAQ

  • Yield
  • Cheese Building
  • Contract Pressing Services

and more at Cider Press and fruit pressing FAQ


  • Sulphiting - Use of Campden tablets
  • 'semi-natural' fermentation
  • Malo-lactic fermentation
  • Keeving

And more on the Fermentation FAQ page

Alcohol Content

  • methods for calculating alcohol content
  • Specific Gravity and Hydrometers
  • Refractometer
  • Rough guide to potential ABV
  • Raising the SG (and potential ABV)

And more at Alcohol Content FAQ

Blending - the art of making a great cider

There are two aspects of blending to consider. The blending of juice from different cider apple and possibly other apple varieties prior to fermentation, and the blending of different made ciders to make a final product to taste. Some of the the qualities which can be adjusted by bending are dryness/sweetness, acidity, alcohol strength, flavour, tannin and liveliness.

Q How can I correct for over-acidity? I know our cider is very acid as it's made from whatever apples we can get my hands on, mostly cookers and it tastes very acid, not tannin.

A Don't add chalk if you can avoid it - better is to add potassium carbonate (you may need to order Potassium Carbonate BP from a chemist). Go up in steps of about 1 gram per litre till you get to an acceptable place.

The alternative is to try using a malo-lactic bacterial culture. You can buy them from Vigo or Brouwland. But it's best to delay till springtime when it's warmer. They don't perform in the cold.

pH will tell you very little about acid *taste*. You really need a measure of titratable acidity to do that. - Andrew Lea


  • A Summary of Options for A Small Producer

and more at the Bottling FAQ.

Bag-in-Box Containers

A summary and links to providers can be found in the Cidermaking Equipment FAQ

Faults and additives FAQ

  • Problem corner
  • Sweetening
  • Pectic enzyme

and more at Faults and additives FAQ

Cidermaking Equipment

  • Presses
  • Apple Mills/Scratters
  • Bag-in-Box Containers and Bottle Suppliers

and more at the Cidermaking Equipment FAQ

Rural Myths about cider and cidermaking

  • Debunking your favourite cidermaking myths
  • Real Cider should be cloudy
  • They used to put a Rat in it didn't they
  • Scrumpy' is the name for real cider
  • Drinking real cider sends you a bit funny"

and more at Rural Myths about cider and cidermaking FAQ

Other sources

If you are looking to learn in a pleasant way you might spend some time reading through The Cidermaking Year by Rose Grant, the Craft cider page, Homemade Cider Press and for offline reading, - 'Real Cidermaking on a Small Scale' is a very good introductory book to cider making.

Talk pages

On the wiki here, please remember to check out the Talk pages. These are the discussion tabs at the top of each page. If the text is blue, that means the Talk page has some content, whereas red text means the Talk page is still blank. Some of these discussion pages contain a great deal of extra info and questions, and are regularly updated; for example the Talk pages for the Talk:Homemade_Cider_Press and Talk:Homemade_Scratter