My wife got me this hard cider kit from Brooklyn BrewShop for Christmas:
Unfortunately apple cider was very out of season at the time. As we get back into the height of cider season, I want to tell you how easy it is to make hard cider with three (3!) ingredients and have it ready to drink in about a month.Continue reading
The Brooklyn BrewShop kit is an easy single fermentation kit that contains a gallon jug, airlock, siphon, sanitizer, and enough yeast to make three batches.
The only other thing you’ll need are bottles. I like the swing-top E-Z Cap bottles. You can get them at your local brew shop.
Like I said, this is super-simple, there are only three ingredients:
- Apple Cider with no preservatives (no potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate)
- Champagne Yeast – the kit includes 3 packets of Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast
- Honey or Fizz Drops from your local brew store
Finding apple cider with no preservatives can be tricky. I’ve noticed that almost all ciders use it. Luckily, the SugarBee brand, which is available at my local grocery store, contains no preservatives. And it makes fantastic hard cider!
Brewing is as simple as pouring in room-temperature cider and adding yeast. You should follow the kit instructions to make sure your equipment is sanitized. But it’s really as easy as pouring in a gallon of cider and a packet of yeast.
Put the airlock on and set a reminder for two weeks later. Maybe give the bottle a light shake after a week to re-activate any live yeasts that have settled to the bottom.
After two to three weeks of fermentation, we’re ready to bottle. During bottling, we want to make sure a majority of the yeast stays on the bottom and doesn’t get transferred during the bottling process. You should be carefully moving around your fermenter to keep things settled.
Before bottling, we need to decide how you’re going to add the priming sugar – are you using honey or fizz drops? If you’re using honey, follow the instructions and heat it with water. Then you need to combine it with the cider.
Since you don’t want to stir the cider in the fermenting vessel and get all the yeast off the bottom, you either have to:
- Siphon the cider into a sanitized bucket or pot and combine with the priming sugar OR
- Put equal amounts of priming sugar into your bottles.
If you’re using fizz drops, just add a drop to each bottle for 12-16oz bottles – the E-Z Cap bottles I like are 16oz, and a gallon of cider fills eight (8) of these.
Either way, watch this video on How to Bottle to get used to their simple (but effective) siphon:
I suggest following their instructions by trying out the siphon with some water first. It goes fast, so you’ll want to know how it works before spilling your precious cider (that you’ve waited weeks for) onto the floor, making a huge sticky mess.
I like to keep the jug or bucket on the counter and put my bottles on the dishwasher door while it’s open. That gives me the elevation I need for the siphon to work, and if I spill it will stay in the door, and go down the drain once I close the door when I’m done.
Bottle Conditioning and… drinking!
Leave the bottles condition at room temperature for two weeks. I like to put my E-Z Cap bottles back in the box they came in. The box will make sure no UV light gets to our cider, which can impart off flavors.
After two weeks I put one bottle in the fridge to test drink. I’ve never had to condition longer than two weeks, but in the spirit of science we must test! Once I’ve verified that the carbonation is good, I put them all in the fridge to prevent further fermentation (which can lead to explosion).
When you pour, go slowly and use the shoulder of the bottle to trap sediment (excess yeast) before it goes into the glass. Alton Brown does a darn good pour here:
There it is, from the package to your glass in one month. It’s super-easy and has turned out great every time I’ve done it.
Have you found any other brands of no preservative cider you like? Let me know in the comments!
I am not a gun nut, but this build was inspired by this comic and conversation:
Looking at it made me think that a similar, but more useful application of vertical bike rack storage, would be for fishing rods. Moore Lake is just down the hill from where I live, and it’s stocked with Bluegills and Bass 🎣
I made this fishing rod holder that attaches to my bike rack for less than $20, mostly from scraps I had in the garage. It holds four rods, but you could adjust it for as many as you’d like, as long as your bike rack setup will accommodate them.Continue reading
This is everything I used for this build:
- 1-1/4″ PVC Pipe – find a scrap piece to get it cheap
- 1-1/4″ PVC Coupling(s) – one for every rod you want to hold
- Tube Strap(s) for 1 1/4″ PVC – one for every rod holder
- PVC Primer & Cement
- 1/2″ thick plywood or fiberboard – I had a scrap laying around, you can get a small 2’x4′ project panel if you don’t have any scraps.
- #10 x 1/2″ sheet metal screws
- #10 x 3/4″ sheet metal screws
- Steel sheet metal – I had a scrap laying around. It doesn’t need to be thick – it’s just used to stick to the bike rack magnet.
- 3D printed rack hooks – If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, comment below if you’d like me to make one and mail it
I chose 1-1/4″ PVC because all of our rod handles will fit into that size pipe – you should test fit your thickest fishing rod before you buy.
I attached a PVC coupling to the pipe and then cut the pipe (with the coupling attached) using a hacksaw to 9 inches. This was both the size of my scrap wood and the size of the longest rod handle. You should go longer if your handles are longer than 9 inches.
To make a permanent connection, I used PVC primer and cement to bond the couplers to the pipes.
The couplers are there to serve as stops for the tubing straps – so they don’t fall through them.
To fasten the tube straps to the board I used #10 x 1/2″ sheet metal screws. I pre-drilled holes in the wood with a 1/8″ drill bit, then used a screwdriver on the screws.
I designed 3D printed hangers because I couldn’t find any readily available hooks that I liked at the hardware store. I like Topeak racks because of how their bag systems attach. I designed the hangars to conform to the Topeak’s 10mm rod construction – which I believe is a standard size for many bike racks.
To fasten the hangers to the board, I used #10 x 3/4″ sheet metal screws.
Backing and Hangars
The board I used was some leftover 1/2″ plywood. Mine was 9″ wide so I went with that – luckily that’s how long our rod handles are. You can cut the width to however many rods you want to hold. For my 4 rod holders it wound up being 15″x9″.
To make sure everything lines up well on the back, I used my Thule panniers as an example. The metal plate that sticks to the magnet is approximately 9″x4″ – so I cut a piece of sheet metal that size. You can use a hacksaw to (slowly) cut it. I used a cutting wheel to make quick work.
I also used the Thule pannier as a reference to gauge the placement of the metal backing position relative to the hangers so they’d be generally in the right place. It will ensure the steel plate is the right place so it will line up with the rack magnet without having to move it around on the rack.
I used 3/4″ screws to fasten the hangers, and 1/2″ screws to hold the steel plate. I pre-drilled the steel with a 3/16″ drill bit, and the wood with a 1/8″ one.
There’s no provisions on this rack for bait and tackle, but you can use the opposite side of the rack for a pannier, or just put your bait and tackle in a backpack.
When I’m fishing while paddling, I keep a very small tackle box on the boat with me, and that is also perfect for local fishing by bike.
Riding around with 6-foot fishing poles is like riding around with a whip antenna – it’s real tall. Just beware of any low tunnels or doorways, tree branches, etc.
Also, you’re not going to be able to put a leg over the back like you normally would. A pole (and hooks) will prevent you from doing that. Be mindful while you’re getting on and off.
I (perhaps stupidly) tried out the purple worm seen in my tackle box above – set up as a Texas Rig. I felt some serious bites, but I didn’t land anything. In the end I’m lucky because I didn’t bring a net if I actually had caught a tenacious bass.
While I didn’t bring one, you could certainly put a net in one of the holders. This is more of a catch-and-release type of rig, and I wasn’t planning on any big bites my first time out, just a couple of sunfish 🐟
Want a set of 3D printed bike rack hangers for your DIY project? Comment below so we can connect!