Cider advice

I wrote these brief words of advice for an old buddy who's about to embark on his first batch of cider. To get the most mileage out of it I'm recycling it here.

I love to make cider, and it's very easy. I STRONGLY recommend a few things:
1. Keep it really simple. You can make a great batch with regular store brand apple juice and almost no other additives. The cool cloudy, earthy stuff you get from a roadside stand isn't necessarily pasteurized, and may have other yeasts and fungi which make it go off in some strange directions. It might be good, but it's harder to predict.
2. Almost any yeast will make a cider for you, but try Wyeast's #4766 cider yeast. It's been bred for over a thousand years to love apple juice and do great things with it, and it shows. It makes a dense pack of yeast at the bottom of the carboy which makes racking a one step thing instead of two or three- it essentially makes a better, clearer, tastier batch in one month instead of two or three. It's like the difference between adopting a wild wolf cub and a pedigree Labrador.
3. There are a few sanitation products that are well worth the price. I use Iodophor. A friend of mine who's a great brewer uses an oxygen based cleaner- I think it's OneStep. Either is WAY better than soap or bleach. Less rinsing, much faster, and because they're easier to use it encourages you to sanitize things properly. Oh, and clean off gunk first, THEN sanitize.


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