I'd say I've been experimenting with cider making but it sounds so much better to call it a micro cider brewery, if that's the right word. So, Barnhart Cider Werks it shall be. Yes, Werks, because my last name is Prussian and it's as good an excuse as any and I think it'll make a nice label and home brew sounds weird to my sous chef ears. ...but yes, it's home brew cider.
I've payed with cider making a few times over the years, it's interesting but I never took it too seriously. I also didn't bother to read enough and lay hands on the appropriate things to make a respectable batch but a few(5 or 6) months ago I worked with a cideridt turned EMT and pestered him for most of an ambulance shift about how to make cider at home. He was frustrated at my relentless questioning. Now I think that was mainly because it's easy. Very easy if you observe lab cleanliness standards.
The total cost for the first run was well under $20 to make a gallon of cider, roughly 5 750ml bottles. When you consider airlocks, the glass jug, and flip tops bottles can all be reused the investment drops below $1 per 750ml bottle. That's tough to beat.
I ordered my Saison yeast from Amazon. It calls for 1g per gallon. I sucessfully used a half teaspoon of dry yeast for a gallon batch. Didn't even mix it with water or wake it up. I'm sure that's a good idea but I've got repeat batches that demonstrate all you need to do is sterilize the bottle before opening, wash your hands and prep area before you touch anything and just add the dry yeast to the juice with a measuring spoon. Afterward go ahead and cap the bottle with your airlock and wait.
It's that easy.
Within an hour or so it'll be bubbling away.
Your next step is to wait until the cider stops bubbling and clears. That'll take about two weeks but varies with temperature, yeast and sugar content of your juice.
I've got new flip top bottles coming in the mail. That bumps the equipment budget up $10 but it's six bottles that can be used over and over. I'll save the bottling for another post.