Cider Space
Cidermaking for Beginners

Cidermaking for Beginners


by Dave Matthews.


I won't pretend to be an expert cidermaker, but I have learnt from making loads of mistakes! The idea of this article is to help you avoid making the same ones!


Ideally, you need to source proper cider apple varieties. There are different categories - Bittersweets are rich in tannin, Sharps provide acid, Bittersharps provide a bit of both. The idea is to blend them to give a cider that is a balance of tannin and acid - a blend of about two bittersweets to one sharp should do the trick.

If you have no access to cider apples, as is the norm in the east of England, then you can use eaters and cookers. Neither has any tannin, but the cookers are a source of acid, and so should make up about a third of any blend.

The apples must be ripe. Ripe apples have a strong aroma, and 'give' a little when pressed with your thumb. Don't use rotten apples (black), and I wouldn't use apples that have gone partially brown, though many cidermakers do. Rotten apples are full of the microbes that can make your cider develop faults. 

The French Way

Le Bubble

by Dave Matthews

This document is based upon the notes I took at a Welsh Perry & Cider Society meeting on the 2nd March 2006, when Adam Bland was the guest speaker.

*Supplementary notes, in italics, are based upon a talk given by Dr Andrew Lea to the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, on the 19th April 2006.

French cidermakers use a technique called Keeving to produce a naturally sparkling, naturally sweet, bottled cider. This is also thought to be the technique used by British cidermakers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Adam Bland is an Englishman who makes cider in Normandy. As well as cider sales, he and his wife Anne offer B&B, evening meals, and have a caravan campsite.

Bottle-Conditioned Perry and Cider

A Bit of Sparkle 

WPCS Cidermaking Consultant Dave Matthews wants to add some sparkle to your lives

Producing a sparkling, naturally carbonated, cider or perry is relatively straight forward. All you have to do is to rack off your fermenting cider into a bottle before fermentation is complete, and the remaining sugar will ferment in the bottle, giving bubbles of carbon dioxide. But beware! Too much sugar will give too much carbon dioxide pressure, resulting in exploding bottles with all kinds of injury and death!

Bottle Fermentation of Cider and Perry



Michael Penney

I do not profess to be any sort of expert on this subject but some of my experiences and observations may come in useful to anyone contemplating having a go. There are two basic natural ways to fizz up a bottle of cider or perry – finish the primary fermentation in a sealed bottle (méthode ancienne) or carry out a secondary fermentation on what is essentially a finished primary product (méthode  traditionnelle). I use the latter as to my mind it is more controllable and predictable, but the choice is yours.


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