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Apfelwein (German: apple wine) is a German style of cider. Unlike many other cider traditions that rely solely on the naturally occurring sugars in apples, this German variant usually includes added sugar, resulting in a higher gravity beverage.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

EdWort's Recipe


  • 5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives), recommend Tree Top Apple Juice
  • 2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
  • 1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast



  1. First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
  2. Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
  3. Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
  5. Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
  6. Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
  7. Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
  8. Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon fermenter. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
  9. Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the ABV.

There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no krausen, just a thin layer of bubbles. I'm able to fit all but 4 oz. of my five gallons in the bottle. Ferment at room temperature.

It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is OK to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, ).

There are reports of Apfelwein being left in the primary for 12 weeks with no problems.

If you want to bottle and carbonate, ¾ cup (5oz) of corn sugar will work fine. Use as you would carbonate a batch of beer.

You can also use 7-Up to sweeten it up and add some carbonation

Variations in recipes

The normal recipe is dry. There are those who like it, and those who prefer a sweeter cider. To attain a sweeter cider, the solution is to back sweeten.

There is a possibility of adding spices to complement the apple taste.

Common spices include:

  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin spice

Ingredient variations: Some have used brown sugar, honey

Some have replaced two gallons of apple juice with other fruit juices such as white cranberry and blueberry.

Sugar cane is not recommended because it will make it taste cidery. It should be noted, however, that this IS a cider.

Priming variations:
For carbonation similar to that of champagne, use 7.5 to 8 oz per 5 gallons. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/567441-post2787.html

Yeast variations:
Nottingham - This yeast finishes very sweet. No off flavors, no hint of yeast/esters. It has a relatively low alcohol tolerance so it will ferment a bit quicker and die off and clarify a bit quicker than expected. Final gravity at around 1.015-1.020 can be expected based upon my results. That gives you a calculated ABV% of about 5% which is low for the recipe but makes it much more "sessionable." Due to the sweetness and lower alcohol, I would say that using this yeast will produce something much more suited to parties or for people who are very picky about alcoholic beverages. My sample is quite drinkable and not overly sweet but is certainly closer to an English style cider than a German one. I highly recommend carbonating this to give it a slight acid counter-point. (TrojanMan)
Pasteur Champagne - comments
Lalvin EC-1118: Finishes quite dry. Doesn't add any flavors. If not rehydrated, the Kraeusen is quite small, requiring only a few inches of headspace and does not require blow-off tube.

Amount of Apfelwein brewed

25,951 U.S. Gallons as of 17 Mar 2013.

Historical figures:

25,000 U.S. Gallons: February 12, 2013 (reached by [post=4895063]BAJones[/post])

20,000 U.S. Gallons: May 20, 2011(reached by [post=2941735]fijidave12[/post])

15,000 U.S. Gallons: December 4, 2009 (reached by [post=1718219]miahpage[/post])

12,000 U.S. Gallons: April 3, 2009 (reached by jgbrown)

5,500 U.S. Gallons: April 8, 2008 (reached by EBAR)

5,000 U.S. Gallons: March 11, 2008 (reached by lostforatime)

4,500 U.S. Gallons: February 2, 2008 (reached by tbeazlie)

4,000 U.S. Gallons: December 29, 2007 (reached by POLISHALE)

3,500 U.S. Gallons: November 26, 2007 (reached by Adolphus79)

3,000 U.S. Gallons: October 29, 2007 (reached by smoke76)

2,500 U.S. Gallons: October 3, 2007 (reached by justinmcdevitt)

2,000 U.S. Gallons: August 20, 2007 (reached by EdWort)

1,500 U.S. Gallons: June 29, 2007 (reached by Drunkensatyr)

1,000 U.S. Gallons: April 23, 2007 (reached by JeepGuy)

500 U.S. Gallons: March 6, 2007 (reached by johnsma22)

Also see External Links section below.

Frequently asked questions

How does it taste? 
It ferments quite dry. Some people have tried different yeasts in order to achieve a sweeter taste. It may take you a few glasses to get a feel for the flavor. It is very reminiscent of a sort of Apfelwein produced locally in Germany. There really is no comparable product in the United States. It's drier and less sweet than commercial hard ciders.
What is the difference between Apfelwein and hard cider? 
EdWort says, “Most ciders are a bit sweeter. Ciders and Apfelwein are about 6% abv, but I like the little boost I give it with 2 pounds of Dextrose. It adds no body or flavor and still tastes like Possmann's Apfelwein, only it will kick your butt much quicker.”
Is this like Apfelmost / Apfel Korn? 
No. Apfel Korn is a German liqueur made from wheat spirits. Apfelmost is spontaneously fermented with fresh-pressed apples or apple juice. It is probably similar, but the results may vary as a result of the spontaneous fermentation. Either way, Apfelmost is most certainly has a lower alcohol content since the initial gravity is not increased by the use of concentrate or corn sugar.
What’s the difference between apple juice and cider? 
Cider (in the USA) is made by pressing apples. Juice is then filtered to remove all of the stuff that makes it cloudy. Cider in other parts of the world is fermented apple juice.
Can I use apple cider instead? 
Sure! You can use whatever you want. However, there is not enough information in this thread to give you any better details as to how it will turn out. I recommend starting a new thread or ask more experienced cider-makers. Posted experiences suggest that it will almost never clear up, but it tastes just as good.
What kind of Apple Juice should I use? 
Ideally, you want to use 100% natural apple juice with no preservatives. The only acceptable preservative is ascorbic acid, which is a source of vitamin C and does not affect fermentation. Pasteurized juice is preferred, since it will have less bacteria.
How much will this recipe cost me? 
5 gallons of Apfelwein can be made for between 20 and 25 dollars.
What else can you do with this recipe? 
EdWort says, "this makes a great Grog in the winter time. Take a quart in a sauce pan, add some rum, turbinado sugar, and float a cinnamon stick in it and simmer for a while. Serve hot in mugs. It'll warm you right up."
Can I brew this in a 5 gallon water jug? 
Most are not PET so you should not. If it is PET, then you can. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/571178-post2821.html
Can I just reuse the yeast cake that has settled from the previous batch? 
You can. Some suggest that you run the risk of a previous infection that can grow in your new batch. Some have done it many times with no problem and have noticed that fermentation starts faster. For about $1.00 for a fresh packet of yeast, most just sanitize and re-pitch rather than risk the $20 for juice and 4 weeks of waiting.
Can I bottle in the plastic jug the apple juice came with? 
Yes, as long as your don't carbonate it, you can also use wine bottles.
Can I bottle in PET bottles (i.e. 2-liter soda bottles)? 
Yes, for short-term storage or aging up to a few months. For longer aging, use glass, as the PET bottles may leach chemicals into the Apfelwein. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/570682-post2814.html
Do I need to keep this in the dark like beer? 
No, because there are no hops to get skunked.
What smells? 
EdWort says: "The aroma that some folks experience as "rino farts" only lasts a couple days of the multiple weeks it takes to ferment. The finished product has a nice aroma and a great taste that gets better as it ages." There is some discussion about the yeast causing the smell here and here.


External Links

Main Apfelwein thread

Amount of Apfelwein brewed

Wikipedia article on Apfelwein