If you are into hard ciders then you have probably heard about wild yeast ciders before. Wild cider may just be coming into the spotlight in popular cider culture in today’s society, but wild yeast ciders are actually the original cider. Often in the old days, people would extract the apple juice and then just let the yeast already in the juice from the apples do all of the fermentation work.
They are just as the name says, a hard cider brewed with wild/naturally occurring yeast. In modern times, we sometimes still press the apples and let the battle between yeast begin, but this method is the least predictable. The various microbes on the apples will be different for every batch from year to year and thus will yield a very different result each time.
Now consistency is far from the name of the game with “wild” hard ciders so this may not be the biggest concern but for slightly more controlled wild yeast cider the yeast can be naturally caught after pasteurizing your starting juice.
Catching Wild Yeast
The process is quite simple: leave the cider open on the counter, covered lightly with cheesecloth, for several days until some wild yeast finds its way into the bottle. You’ll know that you’re in business because the juice will begin to bubble and fizz. When you can see bubbles rising to the top of the bottle, you know that wild yeast have begun to consume the sugar in your juice and turn it into alcohol. via Creative Simple Life
The main advantage of using pasteurized juice and letting yeast find its way in is that you will likely end up with less varieties of yeast in the same juice. This allows for a more directed and consistency cider than just letting nature run its course.
So if you are okay with a less than predictable finsihed product then I highly recommend you give wild yeast cider brewing a try!
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And for an overview of brewing ciders of all kinds, check out howtomakehardcider.com