This is a still cider, so there is no carbonation involved, and is meant to be warmed before serving. Do not allow the temp to get above 170°F, otherwise you will burn off the alcohol.
If you don't own brewing equipment, ferment juice in a gallon container like the one used for juice packaging. However, only fill 3/4 full and place foil over opening. But, don't put the cap back on. The fermentation will blow off the cap under pressure.
There are two cups of sugar, one white and the other dark brown, which will move the OG from around 1.03 to 1.055-1.06. The brown sugar only adds a slight fullness, or caramel flavor. But, definitely makes it better.
I use two vials of English Ale Yeast and nutrient so that it ferments out properly. This yeast strain leaves
The tea bags add a slight tanic flavor similar to wine. I use a pinch of Sulphate to preserve it from spoiling and possibly becoming a bottle bomb (gifts that explode are typically frowned upon).
I prefer Tanic Acid additions after fermentation has completed. Apples contain natural Tanic Acid, so using this type compliments the drink. I usually start with a teaspoon and work my way up from there. Don't skip this, it gives the Cider a nice bite, or tartness. Unfortunately, some apple juice is not very tart and needs some help. There are two steps as follows:
Primary fermentation-3 Gal Apple Juice
1 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Cup white sugar
1 tsp nutrient
2 tea bags – Black tea (tanic additive)
2x Vial English Ale Yeast – White Labs WLP002
Bi-Sulphate, 1 pinch (1 gram)
When the primary fermentation has slowed, place the following spices in two cups of boiled water (low boil the water 20 minutes prior to adding the spices, which removes extra Oxygen molecules (allowing oxygen in your fermented cider will make it taste like cardboard). Make sure the spices are added at flame-out. You can add the water along with the spices. You will need a funnel, and make sure the orange pieces are small enough to easily pass through the carboy neck. Otherwise you'll be digging them out with a stick.
Secondary Fermentation - time to add the Christmas spices
Here are the mulling spices:
3-5 Cinnamon sticks
1 Tblsp all spice
1 Tblsp Nutmeg
1/4 Orange, sliced into thin 1/4 sized pieces
1 Vanilla beans, cut and scrape
1 tsp +/- Tanic Acid (preferred), Phosphoric Acid, or other (add to taste).
FG: 1.01 to 1.02
Serve warm with a stick of cinnamon and slice of orange.
Cheers and enjoy,
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