How Long Does Hard Cider Take to Ferment?

Hard cider is a popular alcoholic beverage that has been around for centuries. Hard cider is produced from fermented apple juice.

The fermentation process of hard cider can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the type of yeast used and the environment’s temperature.

Different types of yeast will ferment at different rates and temperatures, so it’s important to understand what type of yeast you are using to determine how long your hard cider will take to ferment.

Additionally, the amount of sugar in the apple juice can also affect the time it takes for your hard cider to ferment.

What is fermentation, and How Does it Impact the Flavor of Hard Cider?

Fermentation can be defined as the process of converting sugar into alcohol. To break down the sugar, yeast is added to water at around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius) and allowed to work for about 24 hours.

After that time, or before it gets too dry, you can use your cider as it is or let it sit in a secondary vessel for several days, where it will continue to ferment.

The process of fermentation is the chemical change that occurs in food or beverage while making, storing, or brewing. The word “ferment” comes from the Latin word fermentare, which means “to cause to turn sour.”

Fermentation is often applied to alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer. However, it can also refer to hard cider, which is made by adding yeast to apple juice and allowing it to ferment. The resulting product contains:

  • Alcohol (either naturally occurring or added).
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Other gasses are produced by yeast during fermentation.

The longer fermentation time allows for more complex flavours to develop in your cider because the yeast will have time to eat away at the sugars until there are no more left in the solution.

It also allows for acids from fruit to be produced, giving your cider a tart taste and ensuring that any off flavours from other ingredients in your cider does not linger on your palate after drinking it.

After fermentation has been completed and all of the sugars have been consumed by yeasts and bacteria present in your cider, you can squeeze out any remaining juice from the yeast cells that have died off during this process and then press them into bottles or kegs.

You may even want to bottle fresh juice and carbonated hard cider to enjoy these different products at different times!

What Are The Different Types Of Fermentation For Making Hard Cider?

There are several different types of fermentation for making hard cider. Fermentation can be done in various ways and will depend on the type of hard cider being made. It usually involves adding fruit flavours and sugars to the liquid before it goes through another round of fermentation.

There are three main types of fermentation for making hard cider: top cropping or primary fermentation, bottom cropping or secondary fermentation, and mixed cropping or spontaneous fermentation.

The rate of fermentation will determine how sweet the final product will be.

Top cropping or primary fermentation:

In this type of fermentation, yeast is added at the beginning of the process and ferments the juice. This fermentation is used to make hard cider that has already been sweetened.

Bottom cropping or secondary fermentation:

Here, the yeast is added at the end of the process and ferments a portion of the juice. This type of fermentation is used to make hard cider that has not been sweetened yet.

Mixed cropping or spontaneous fermentation:

In this type of fermentation, the yeast is added during both the top-cropping and bottom-cropping processes, allowing the yeast to ferment sweetened and unsweetened juice.

How Long Does It Take To Ferment Hard Cider?

The time it takes to ferment hard cider depends on several factors, including the alcohol content of the cider and how long you let the cider sit before adding yeast and sugar.

The alcohol content of the cider:

More sugar means more alcohol is produced by yeast cells; therefore, it will take longer for fermentation to complete. The amount of alcohol in your hard cider will determine how long it takes for the fermentation to complete.

How long your cider will sit before adding yeast and sugar:

If you add some yeast and sugar at once, then fermentation will begin because there are not many yeast cells left in your must (the liquid after all fruit has been removed).

If you add yeast and sugar later in the process (after most fruit has been mashed), fermentation will take longer because fewer yeast cells are left to consume all that extra sugar provided by the added ingredients.

Furthermore, Hard cider is a fermented beverage made from apples. It can be brewed in two ways: cold-fermented and hot-fermented.

The process of cold fermentation takes anywhere from three weeks to six months, while hot fermentation takes anywhere from one week to one year.

Cold Fermentation:

A cold-fermented hard cider consists of a mixture of sweet and tart apples that are not fully ripe when harvested. The fermentation process begins when yeast is added to unpasteurized juice that contains natural sugars and acids.

This mixture ferments into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas over several weeks or months, depending on environmental conditions in the storage vessel.

Hot Fermentation:

Making hot-fermented hard cider involves steaming or boiling fresh apples (both sweet and tart varieties), then allowing them to stand undisturbed in an open fermentation vessel at room temperature until they reach near ripeness (90 per cent).

What Are The Factors That Determine Its Length Of Time?

The primary factor determining how long a cider will ferment is the amount of sugar in the juice. There are two ways to measure this: weight or volume. The first method is easier and more accurate, but the second one will give you a slightly more accurate measurement.

It’s important to remember that both measurements can be used interchangeably, so don’t sweat it if you’re not sure which measurement method to use.

If you’re using a hydrometer (a device used for measuring specific gravity), you’ll use volume measurements because they’re more likely to yield an accurate reading. If you’re using a refractometer (which measures specific gravity), you’ll use weight measurements because they’re easier to read on a scale.


Hard cider is made by fermenting apples, and the fermentation process can take two weeks to several months.

It is crucial to understand that the amount of time it takes to ferment hard cider depends on several factors, such as the yeast type, the temperature of the environment, and how much sugar is present in the cider.

Additionally, different types of yeast will produce different flavours and aromas in the final product.



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