Making is hard cider is pretty easy. If you have brewed beer or wine, then this is going to seem almost too easy.
When you look for ingredients, it is best to use juice, not from concentrate. The best ciders are normally made from pure apple juice, from fresh apples.
However, unless you live near an orchard, or know someone who has access to those kind of fresh juice, your next best thing will be at your local grocery store. You want a juice that has no additives, . cloudy cider or juice. Avoid any cider/juice that has a listed ingredient (other than ascorbic acid) that says “in order to preserve freshness.” Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, etc... Those bad boys are yeast killers.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a perfectly harmless additive, for both you and your cider yeast.
If using juice, add campden tablets to your primary for 24-36 hours. Campden tabs are very well known in the wine world, as they will help kill off any wild yeast and or bacteria that could turn your batch, well down the drain.
Once you chose your kind and type of juice, the next thing to do is determine the specific gravity, which will determine your alcohol content. If you want, you can add sugars, honey, molasses, etc to raise your OG and also add flavor layers.
Most people use champagne yeast, while others have used ale strains of yeast. If you have ever brewed before, you know that a yeast starter is important... make a yeast starter
We will dive into a recipe and make some cider soon.
Stay tuned and happy brewing!