More and more people prefer to brew their own drinks nowadays and for good reasons. A homebrew can be customized to taste almost any way you wish if you know what you’re doing and if you have the right instruments for the job. Although it’s true that crafting a beer can take months just to get the right batch, it certainly beats what most of the low-end beers on the market have to offer in regards to taste and flavor.
Now, we should point out that brewing hard cider is a lot different than brewing a common beer, in more ways than one. For starters, it is definitely a lot easier than brewing beer, not just the process itself but also in terms of the ingredients used for each batch. Considering that the whole process revolves around processing apple juice, it really shouldn’t be too hard if you have the right tools for the job.
Speaking of which, let us point out that it is nowadays a lot easier to get your hands on a good homebrewing kit; even easier when it comes to hard cider kits. These kits are designed to not only be easy to use but also easy to care for in regards to their maintenance. That said, we should perhaps mention that they’re not all guaranteed to deliver the same brewing standards. Let us then find out what are the ten best hard cider kits the market has to offer and what to look for when buying one.
Best Hard Cider Kits – Reviews
10Midwest Supplies Cider Essentials Kit
The Midwest Supplies Cider Essentials Kit features all you need to craft your own hard cider at home. With all the necessary equipment including a brewing bucket, caps and cappers, bottling bucket, and more, this kit helps beginners ferment their own cider in just a few weeks. With any unpasteurized apple juice or cider, this brewing kit would give you delicious flavorsome hard cider with minimal effort. It should also be said that the fermenter and bottling bucket it comes equipped with are both of 6.5 gallons each and are made from high-quality materials.
9Mangrove Jack’s Hard Apple Cider Recipe Kit
Mangrove Jack’s Hard Apple Cider Recipe Kit includes a recipe that is packed with the delicious taste of orchard apples. Each kit includes the freshest and highest of fruit which is individually pressed and concentrated with the help of high end evaporating machines and then put into pouches. This helps to preserve and maintain the original flavor and taste of the fruit. The kit also contains a special concentrate, a sweetening ingredient, flavoring and yeast along with a special guide with all the instructions you need to craft your own hard cider at home.
8Brewer’s Best House Select Apple Cider Kit
Equipped with all the necessary equipment and ingredients you need to create the best hard cider, the Brewer’s Best House Select Apple Cider Kit gives you 6 gallons of flavor loaded cider. Unlike others, this high-quality hard cider brewing kit delivers crisp, light and refreshing cider that is perfect for any time of the year. This recipe, however, requires 2 pounds of dextrose and includes 5.2% ABV.
7BrewDemon Hard Cider Kit Pro
The BrewDemon Hard Cider Kit Pro is considered one of the best of its kind when it comes to user-friendly hard cider kits. With all the necessary equipment and ingredients included, this kit can prepare up to 2 gallons of hard cider in just a matter of 14 days and is completely reusable. Including 5.5% ABV hard cider and a delicious fruit recipe which is blueberry hard cider, this kit brews flavor-packed brew every use. Furthermore, the kit includes an adjustable spigot, bottle caps, venting plugs, a temperature gauge, bottle filler, and spoon for mixing, a hose, and labels for personalization.
6Brooklyn Brew Shop Hard Cider Making Kit
Ideal for beginners, the Brooklyn Brew Shop Hard Cider Making Kit is easy to use and makes fermenting at home fun and exciting. Thanks to its simple guide that is easy to follow with clear instructions and steps, users can make up to 3 batches of hard cider with this kit. The kit comes with a reusable glass fermenter that can hold up to 1 gallon of cider, 3 packets of yeast, a chambered airlock, vinyl tube and clamp, 3 packets of cleanser, a racking cane and tip and a screw-on stopper. With this kit, all you need is apple juice or cider and you can create delicious, tart and bubbly hard cider at home.
5WilliamsWarn Premium Hard Apple Cider Complete Kit
This particular Hard Apple Cider Kit helps users create their very own hard cider at home without any hassle and without employing too many additional instruments. As a matter of fact, this home kit includes all you need but just requires water. Including the delicious original flavor of mixed berries, this hard cider is super delicious and makes a great addition to any party or social gathering. Interestingly enough, it can make up to 10 pints of cider per batch and takes up to 48 hours for the whole process to complete.
4BrewDemon Hard Cider Kit Plus
With the ability to prepare up to 2 gallons of hard cider in 2 weeks, the BrewDemon Hard Cider Kit Plus comes with one of the most popular hard cider recipes including 4.5% ABV. Including the smallest batch cone-shaped fermenter in the world, this entire kid is re-usable and extremely reliable. The kit also comes with a spigot that can be adjusted, a temperature gauge that can be stuck on, bottles, a venting plug as well as caps and labels. At the same time, this hard cider kit can be utilized at home to prepare dangerously tasty cider and also makes a great gift for anyone passionate about crafting their own brew.
3Crooked Apple Complete Hard Cider Making Starter Kit
The Crooked Apple Complete Hard Cider Making Starter Kit features all you need to create your own delicious hard cider. Including all the equipment and ingredients you need, this 100% apple juice kit offers a customizable delicious taste and flavor. The equipment that comes with the kit includes durable glass fermenters that are built to last and maintain the delicious flavor and aroma or your cider. With no added sugar or preservatives, this recipe includes pure liquid apple and 6% ABV. The complete kit includes a fermenter, a big mouth bubbler, a secondary fermenter, bung and airlock, cap and airlock, mini auto-siphon, tubing, stirring paddle, capper and caps and a cleaning and sanitizing tool along with a booklet of instructions and guidelines.
2Mr. Beer Hard Cider Homebrewing Craft Cider Kit
The Mr. Beer 2 Gallon Hard Cider Homebrewing Craft Cider Kit includes a reusable, heavy-duty keg with a tap that is resistant to damage and impressively light in weight. Made from BPA-free plastic, it prevents any alteration in taste or flavor while brewing. Unlike most kits, this one comes with an additional apple cider refill. These are free from gluten and GMO and are made from all natural ingredients. Featuring 8 plastic bottles with a capacity of 1 liter each, the kit comes with caps and labels for additional personalization. Interestingly enough, the entire kit and equipment included is reusable and only requires added refills for every new batch.
1Craft a Brew Hard Cider Kit
Featuring a glass jug, airlock, rubber plug, tubing/clamp, racking cane and funnel, the “Craft a Brew Hard Cider Kit” comes with all the necessary ingredients and equipment you need to make the perfect hard cider. The kit includes a guide to help you create your own recipe without any hassle. This kit can make up to one gallon of delicious beer and works great with any type of apple juice or cider. However, it does not come with bottles or a brew pot as these must be purchased separately. Even so, it is definitely one of the most convenient and practical hard cider kits money can buy at this point in time.
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What To Look For In A Hard Cider Kit
Considering the fact that the whole brewing process is pretty straightforward in terms of technique and ingredients, you really shouldn’t have too many difficulties in crafting your own brew. The challenge, however, comes in the form of creating a quality brew by most standards; and not just one that you and your moderately refined taste can enjoy. For that to happen, you must first develop a deep understanding of the brewing process, which needless to say, may take you quite some time without the right gear. In this respect, let us find out what characteristics should a good hard cider kit have and what to look for when buying one.
Even though not all these kits are built to the same standards, they mostly contain a set of common components that you can employ at various times during the brewing process. These components usually include a mouth bubbler, primary fermentor, bung & airlock, a secondary fermentor, a cap & airlock, adhesive temperature strips, a plastic paddle, auto-siphon & tubing, a bottle filler, capper & caps, and a cleaner & sanitizer for good measure. For the most part, all the good kits possess most of these components, although their shape and form may change ever so slightly from one kit to another.
One thing to remember when buying a hard cider kit is that no matter how seemingly easy the process appears, it still couldn’t hurt to have a guide you can rely on in a pinch. Not only can a guide help you through the more tedious parts of the crafting process but it can also help you improve the quality of your brew long-term. You should, therefore, lean towards kits who pack a cider brewing guide, no matter how comprehensive it may be.
Although you shouldn’t be using the kit for anything other than crafting hard cider, you still want a certain degree of liberty when it comes to the ingredients you use. As such, you should look for an accommodating kit, one that can make good use of all types of apple juice, yeast, and Camden, regardless of their quality. At the same time, look for a kit that uses versatile fermentors and tubing, as they can help you craft cider with more peculiar flavors.
Another thing you want to consider is just how many times you can reuse the kit. While some kits are equipped with single-use components, the good ones usually enable you to use its comprising utensils over and over again. It may seem counter-intuitive to use a single-use cider kit, and yet many homebrewers prefer them for their ease of use and because they don’t have to do a lot of cleaning and maintenance afterward. If, however, you are committed to not only crafting your own cider but also developing your brewing skills in the process, then a long-term, permanent, reusable kit is what you want.
Once you have figured out which kit to buy, you can safely proceed to actually prepare the brew; which depending on the type of cider you want to brew, can be a more or less tedious process. What you want is to get a hold of the ingredients and set them up in a way that allows hem to ferment over a few weeks until the process is complete. Depending on the kit you use, this process can take between 2 and 6 weeks.
The most important ingredient when making cider is the fresh-pressed apple juice. Although there isn’t a specific type of apples that you are required to use, you should probably choose apples that are borderline mushy and ripe. You then need a packet of champagne yeast which you can purchase from a variety of vendors. Afterward, you only need to add a Camden tablet to prevent wild yeast, bacteria growth, and the oxidation of your brew.
Hard Cider Brewing Tips:
- To avoid using sub-par apple juice, you can go ahead and mash the apples yourself with a press or any similar tool.
- Do your best to stay away from store-bought ingredients as they often contain preservatives which can seriously inhibit or prevent the fermentation process altogether.
- Sterilize all your brewing equipment with Star San or similar sanitizing chemicals before you get into the brewing process itself.
- Make sure that the room temperature doesn’t go under or above the 18-23 degrees Celsius margin when waiting for the brew to ferment.
- Ensure that your airlocks are half-filled with clean water to make sure that the liquid won’t be squirted out of the airlock.
- To guarantee that the siphoning components don’t get clogged with sediment that gets draw up from the bottom, fit them with a tap at the top or a clip of sorts.
- If possible, try to employ a hydrometer for the job as it allows you to better measure the specific gravity of the liquid and the alcohol contents.
- When using a barrel, make sure that it has a pressure valve fitted to the cap so as to release any excess pressure that builds up during the fermentation process.