Jumping into the Hard Cider process midway is as good as any place to start. At this point in the process you could actually drink what you have made, which seems to be a good thing when ever it come to alcohol. Even though it will (should) be alcoholic at this point, it may not taste all that great just yet.
Why? There are two why’s and I will explain them in chronological order. First of all, you will (should) have alcohol in your cider at this point (1-2 weeks fermenting) because the yeast has spent that time eating away at sugars, turning them into alcohol. Now, for the second why. It may not taste that great because there may still be yeast in there, over time it should fall out of the cider, allowing you to siphon again in a few weeks.
This process illustrated in the photos is called “racking”. Racking is the second major step in the cider making process. The first general step is fermentation. I am racking this micro batch after about 12 days of fermentation. During those first 12 days the yeast in your cider will eat away at the natural and added sugars turning them into alcohol. I will be making more batches of cider which i will document so you can see how to begin the fermentation. This is a nice introduction for now to set you up for the next few posts which will explain in detail how to make hard cider at home.
You may have noticed above my note that you (should) have alcohol at this point. You might have, as I actually have in one of my jars, vinegar. eww, gross. Some bacteria will actually eat the alcohol and turn it into vinegar, not cool. This is why it is important to keep things sanitized. There are many microscopic biological happenings between the living yeast, and other living organisms and available sugars and other compounds which will affect the eventual taste and alcohol content.
In order to get a better understanding, I have been taking advantage of online resources, however there are as many ways to make cider as there are people writing about making it. It is healthy to take in many approaches, read from some books, and run a few experiments of your own. This is by no means a definitive or expert guide (yet), however I expect to learn quite abit along the way and will pass that along as it comes.
Some current influences and interest: