You want to start brewing your own cider but aren’t sure what is the top-rated cider making kit? Not to worry, you’ll find the answers below. Bearing in mind that hard cider brewing is becoming increasingly popular many brands have started releasing their own cider kit. We’ve researched and discovered five top-rated hard cider making kits as well as one to avoid.
Reviews of the 5 Best Cider Making Kits, Plus 1 to Avoid:
1. Craft a Brew BK-CID Brewing Hard Cider Kit Review
Craft a Brew is a popular supplier of equipment and other products necessary for optimal brewing experience. This particular brand is the top-rated cider kit of 2020 due to the easing of use, high-quality, and the affordable price. The Craft a Brew kit features glass carboy, funnel, rubber stopper, racking cane, transfer tubing, tubing clamp, sanitizer, airlock, hard cider brewing instructions, and even a cider recipe for an amazing hard cider. It’s also important to mention the kit is easy to use. All you need to do is to mix juice and yeast, ferment for 10 days, bottle and condition, and then enjoy. Buyers of the Craft a Brew who’ve already tried the kit praise its simple instructions that are easy to follow and the result was a super delicious cider.
2. Brooklyn Brew Shop Hard Cider Making Kit Review
Brooklyn Brew Shop is a startup, based in Brooklyn of course, dedicated to helping people easily make hard cider, beer, and other beverages. The company was founded in 2009, and it didn’t take long for Brooklyn Brew Shop to become popular among brewers. What makes their set the best hard cider making kit is the fact it delivers everything you need to know for brewing process except fresh cider. The kit contains dry cider yeast, glass fermentation jug, racking cane, tubing, tubing clamp, screw-cap stopper, airlock, and a cleanser. While beginners can benefit the most from this kit, it’s also suitable for more experienced brewers. You can make three batches of hard cider with this kit, which is quite amazing.
3. Home Brew Ohio Brewer’s Best House Select Apple Cider Kit Review
People who are looking for the best homebrew cider kit have multiple options to choose from, and one of them is Brewer’s Best’s set. Brewer’s Best is the most widely distributed brand of kits and equipment in the US. The company has over 25 years of experience in the home brewing industry, so it’s easy to conclude they know what they’re doing. Basically, this is a six-gallon cider recipe full of flavor for an amazing cider. The kit is suitable for all users regardless of how much home brewing experience they have, which is always a plus. Users describe it as a great guide for a super delicious hard cider, the process is fast, straightforward, and without unnecessary complications.
4. Northern Brewer Cooked Apple Complete Hard Cider Making Starter Kit Review
Northern Brewer is one of the most popular names in the home brewing industry in the United States. Their primary goal is to make sure home brewers have everything they need to make a great beer, hard cider, or some other beverage. They do so with high-quality products and an exceptional customer service that keeps getting better year after year. What makes their kit the best cider kit it is a fact it’s probably the complete set you can find. Sure, it’s a bit pricier compared to other kits, but the equipment you get is beyond amazing. The kit includes grimhilde one-gallon cider recipe kit, complete instructions, little big mouth bubbler primary fermentor, bung, and airlock, secondary fermentor, cap and airlock, plastic stirring paddle, mini auto-siphon and tubing, cleaner and sanitizer, and caps.
5. Mangrove Jack’s Hard Apple Cider Recipe Kit Review
If you’re looking for a cider recipe and mixture to make a wonderful hard apple cider, then this kit is definitely worth considering. Mangrove Jack’s distributes kits and ingredients obtained from high-quality sources for an optimal experience. This kit gives brewers the taste of orchard apples, and it’s incredibly easy to make a great cider using simple instructions. The mixture requires 2.2. lbs of sugar and yields six gallons of delicious crisp cider. The kit is gluten-free, and you can bottle and label it like wine. Bear in mind this product only contains cider ingredients, and you still need some equipment though.
Avoid – BrewDemon Hard Cider Kit Pro Review
Some kits are amazing and give you everything you need for a great apple cider, but others aren’t that good. In fact, many brands make all sorts of promises, but they don’t deliver. One of the worst hard cider brew kits on the market is, definitely, the kit made by BrewDemon. The kit includes world’s first small batch conical fermenter, hard cider + fruit recipe, adjustable spigot, and other pieces of equipment. That being said, users complain that spigot easily breaks off and the kit is cheaply made, so it’s quite stressful to deal with it. Some users also had problems with the quality of cider they made using the kit and cider recipe.
2020 Buyers Guide to the Best Cider Making Kits
Brewing hard cider isn’t that hard, but thanks to the above-mentioned kits it can be a lot easier to get the job done. When it comes to brewing cider on your own, it’s important to pay attention to the type of apples (see below) and yeast you use. Of course, quality of the cider also comes down to the hard cider brew kit you buy, so you need to think things through before you make the purchase.
3 Main Points to Consider:
- Type of Kit: Not all cider brew kits are equal. They contain different pieces of equipment or ingredients. Therefore, the most important factor to consider is the type of kit you want or really need. That way you can narrow down the choice and find an ideal kit easily. While there is a multitude of hard cider brew kits on the market, they usually fall into two categories: premium and standard. Premium kits range in prices from $80 to $100, more or less, but they contain everything you need. These kits feature yeast, containers, airlock, cleaner, and basically everything else that is necessary for the brewing process. Standard kits are priced about $40 to $50, more or less, but you may need to buy some stuff separately. Of course, if you have some pieces of equipment home, then the standard kit is a better option. But if you have no stuff for cider making or you’re just a beginner who’s trying to learn a thing or two, then the premium kit is suitable for you.
- Price: Taking the price or budget into consideration is very important mainly because it helps us narrow down the choice of items available to us. Cider making kits are not the exception here. They come at a wide range of prices, so if you don’t have a specific budget in mind, it’s difficult to choose one and be confident that you made the right decision. Take some time to think how much you’re willing to spend on cider making kit. Then, do a little research to find the best kits that fall into that category. Remember, an ideal hard cider making kit combines quality and affordability.
- Feedback: It’s easy to act like customer testimonials, and product reviews don’t really matter, but they do. In fact, it is incredibly important to pay attention to user reviews and learn more about the experiences that other people had with some product. One can learn a lot just by scrolling through the review section. For example, you can learn whether the product has some flaws, is it reliable, and what not. Before buying a cider making kit try to take this factor into consideration too. It can help you avoid wasting your money on some kit that isn’t that good. If a product has mainly negative reviews and customers don’t find it suitable for their brewing needs, then it’s definitely something you need to take into consideration so you can dodge the bullet.
What are the best apples for making hard cider?
While it’s easy to assume we can choose just about any kind of apple for hard cider that’s not how it works. Choosing the type of apples has a major impact on the taste and quality of hard cider. After all, to make a good hard cider, you just need a little bit of skill and good apples. Ideally, you need to use apples with a lot of sugar for a tasty cider in order to promote fermentation with specific levels of tannins and acids.
Apple varieties for a cider are grouped into the following categories:
- Bittersweets (tannins higher than 0.2%, malic acid lower than 0.45%)
- Bittersharps (tannins higher than 0.2%, malic acid higher than 0.45%)
- Sharps (tannins lower than 0.2%, malic acid higher than 0.45%)
- Sweets (tannins lower than 0.2%, malic acid lower than 0.45%)
Below, you can see a breakdown of apples that are suitable for hard cider making:
- American varieties: Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Gold Rush, Arkansas Black, Black Twig, Stayman’s Winesap, Liberty, Harrison, Baldwin, Northern Spy, Ribston Pippin, Wickson, Ashmead’s Kernel, Cox Orange Pippin, Newtown Pippin, and Crimson Crisp
- Bittersharps: Kingston Black, Porter’s Perfection
- English bittersweets: Chisel Jersey, White Jersey, Herefordshire Redstreak, Major, Stembridge Jersey, Ashton Bitter, Ellis Bitter, Brown Snout, Yarlington Mill, Somerset Redstreak, Tremlett’s Bitter, Bulmer’s Norman, Harry Masters Jersey
- French bittersweets: Dabinett, Zabergau Reinette, Nehru, Kermerien, Muscadet de Dieppe, Frequin Rouge, Muscat de Lense, Vilberie, Medaille d’Or, Michelin
- Sharp: Brown’s Apple, Tom Putt, Calville Blanc d’Hiver, Bramley’s Seedling
- Sweet: Saint Edmund’s Pippin, Belle de Boskoop, Nova Spy
What is the best type of yeast for making hard cider?
Yeast plays a crucial role in making of hard cider. In fact, the yeast you choose can either make or break your efforts to brew a delicious cider that everyone’s going to love. This isn’t a type of decision that one can easily make, it requires a bit of researching and even experimenting. Many brewers try out different types of yeast in order to determine which one is the best. One thing you should never use is the baker’s yeast.
What many people don’t know is that you don’t always need to use a specific yeast. Why? There’s plenty of wild yeast in the apple for the process of fermentation. To get yeast from apples themselves you need to opt for unpasteurized, raw cider. Also, many manufacturers make their own cider-specific yeast which makes it easy for brewers to get the best yeast for this purpose. Neutral yeasts are also a valid option.
Make sure you take notes when making your cider and choosing the yeast. That way you’ll find it easy to make another great batch again, but also to correct some mistakes that you’ve been accidentally making. When it comes to yeast, you’ll probably need to try different options (wild yeast, neutral, cider-specific, etc.) until you find the one that gives you the best cider.
DIY: Delicious homemade hard cider recipe
Buying cider in the store is easy, but it’s always better when you make it yourself. The sense of accomplishment combined with healthy, and natural product are unmatched, and there’s no store-bought alternative that can compare to it. If you’ve wondered how to put your kit to good use or you’ve always wanted to learn how to make hard cider, then we’ve got you covered. There are all sorts of recipes for delicious homemade hard cider, but some of them are way too complicated and not suitable for beginners. Here is an easy recipe that will help you make a great hard cider without all the unnecessary hassle.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Apple cider – 1 gallon
- Honey or sugar – 1-1 ½ lbs
- Food-grade bucket or glass jar
- OPTIONAL: brewer’s yeast
- Campden tablets
- Glass bottles
- The very first thing you need to do is to make your own apple cider. To make it happen, you need fresh apples, or you can buy them at the farmer’s market. While you can buy apple cider, it’s always better to make your own to make sure hard cider is entirely homemade. Grab as many apples as you can and process them with a press or in a juicer.
- Once you have the apple cider, it’s time to move on to the yeast. You have different options here: you can use skins of apples or brewer’s yeast and Campden tablets. Make sure you don’t use baker’s yeast.
- Combine yeast and apple cider in order to proceed to fermentation which includes adding sugar or honey. Basically, you need to add one pound of sugar to one gallon of liquid, i.e. cider in order to make dry cider or to combine one and a half pound of sugar with one gallon of cider in order to make a sweeter version. Stir the mixture over heat in order to dissolve honey or sugar, but make sure the heat is not too hot (80-100°F is enough)
- If you opt for wild yeast, all you need to do is to pour cider into a sterile and glass container and use an airlock to seal it. On the flip side, if you’re using brewer’s yeast, it’s necessary to follow the instructions on the Campden tablets’ packaging. You’ll need to wait about 48 hours before you actually add brewer’s yeast (one gram per gallon). After sprinkling yeast over liquid just seal it again, don’t shake the bottle or mix it. The actual fermentation process may take between two weeks and two months depending on a variety of factors including the temperature in your home. As the yeast consumes sugars in the liquid, you’ll see bubbles appearing on top. Bubbling means fermentation is in the process, but when it subsides, you need to decant the cider, i.e. transfer liquid from one container into a different one, but make sure you leave the sediment in the previous container (don’t scrape it into the new one). Allow it to settle for a week.
- Once the fermentation process is over, you need to decide whether you’d like cider to be carbonated or non-carbonated. If you opt for the non-carbonated option, all you need to do is to transfer cider into sanitized bottles or jugs and allow it to sit for two weeks. Bear in mind that non-carbonated cider is still hard cider. However, if you’d like to make sprinkling or carbonated cider you’d need to boil a ¼ cup of water together with ¼ cup honey or brown sugar. Pour this mixture into the sterilized, food-grade bucket or a jar together with one gallon of apple cider and bottle it. Let the mixture settle for two weeks
Best Cider Making Kit Review (2020 Buyers Guide):
Final Thoughts on Buying the Best Cider Making Kit
With the best cider making kit of 2020, an easy recipe, and useful recommendations you can make wonderful cider without stress, frustration, and hassle. Once you see how easy it is, you’ll never want to buy hard cider again. Before choosing the best kit for your needs, take into consideration all the factors that were outlined, and you’ll make the right choice.