How to Make Cyser
When you make cyser (apple mead), you're joining a tradition that's been around for centuries — mead was the drink of choice for vikings, and now mead (of all sorts!) is gaining in massive popularity today.
Vikings didn't exactly make it with apple cider, but we've found that honey and apple cider go really well together to make a delicious apple-y modification of the classic mead!
It can be hard to find at the store, but luckily, it's super easy — and delicious! — to make your own cyser at home.
What is Cyser?
A cyser is an apple mead. Classic apple cider is made by fermenting sugar and apple cider together, but cyser is differentiated because it uses honey instead of sugar. So, if you can imagine the floral hints of honey (without all the sweetness), combined with apples — that's a bit what cyser tastes like.
After a week, you'll have a deliciously alcoholic (usually 10% to 12% ABV) honey wine on your hands!
It can be made with different types of honey, depending on the flavor you want to achieve. You can also infuse your cyser with fresh fruit, herbs, and spices — so the possibilities are really up to you.
All the Equipment You’ll Need
First, you’ll need a glass gallon carboy — this is where you'll store your cyser while it ferments. If you don't have a glass carboy, any food-grade, sanitized gallon container will work.
You’ll also need an airlock and rubber stopper, which will make sure that carbonation can escape from your cyser while it is fermenting, but also prevent anything bad from getting into your cyser. Make sure that the airlock is filled with water and that the stopper is inserted properly, forming a full seal on your gallon jug. You can grab all of this in a meadmaking starter kit.
Gathering Your Ingredients
Besides water and (optionally) a bit of your tea of choice for flavor, you'll also need honey! The type of honey you use will partially determine the flavor of your cyser. We recommend using a light honey, like clover or orange blossom — you'll be able to taste the delicate flavors of the honey in your wine.
Not all of us have apiaries near us, but if you can use local honey, that's awesome, too. We love supporting our local beekeepers.
In order to start the fermentation process, you’ll need a wine yeast. In this recipe, we use the brewsy bag, which is a combination of an industry-exclusive wine yeast, nutrients for healthy yeast, energizer for a quick and hearty fermentation, potassium bicarbonate (to reduce strong, acidic flavors), malolactic culture (to make your wine smoother) and bentonite (a clarifier for sparkling clear wine). It's the only way to ensure that you have a reliably strong and successful fermentation.
How Much Honey Should I Use?
In this recipe, you can choose exactly how sweet you'd like your cyser to be. We'll go over it in further detail later, but we recommend using between two and three pounds of honey per gallon of mead — 1 pound if you want it on the dryer side, and 2 pounds if you'd like it to be sweeter.
Apple Cyser Recipe
Okay, now let's get started!
Step 1: Preparation
First, heat up the honey and apple cider in a pot on the stove until the honey is completely dissolved.
Stir the honey and cider mixture well, and let it cool to about 90°F. Make sure it's not too hot — when it's time to add the yeast, you don't want to kill it! Yeast is a living organism, and can only survive at temperatures below 110°F.
Once the honey and cider mixture has cooled, add your wine yeast or brewsy bag.
Then, shake it all up! You'll want to shake it up for about 30 seconds — it's a good workout, too.
Step Two: Fermentation
Pour the mixture into your clean glass gallon carboy, and attach the airlock. Insert the stopper into the top of the gallon’s bottleneck, and fill the airlock with water.
Then, fermentation begins! Put your mead in a warm, dark place.
Your cyser will start to ferment within 24 to 48 hours, and will continue doing so for about a week (sometimes longer). You'll know it's done when the bubbling has slowed down significantly (fermentation creates carbon dioxide, which causes bubbling in the airlock).
The fermentation usually takes about 7 days, but your cyser might bubble as long as two weeks! That’s totally fine — the longer your cyser ferments, the more sugar your yeast are eating — and the dryer and more alcoholic your cyser will become.
When in doubt, taste-test your cyser for sweetness, and then go onto the next step when it tastes dry enough for your liking. If it still tastes too sweet, let it keep fermenting for several more days until it tastes more dry.
Step Three: Filtering Your Cyser
Once the bubbling has slowed down significantly, it's time to get rid of the lees (that's the sediment that has settled at the bottom of your carboy) and prep your cyser to be enjoyed!
We definitely don't want any yeasty particles in our drink, so we're going to get rid of them by first forcing any leftover yeasty bits to the bottom of the container.
A great way to do this it simply to pop your cyser in the fridge! Keep it in there for at least two days. The cold forces any leftover particles to fall to the bottom of your container.
After that, you'll need to filter (or 'rack') your mead. To do this, simply pour your cyser off of the lees (all that cloudy sediment that will show up at the bottom) at into another container.
Optionally, you might want to use a clarifying agent, which works on the molecular level to bind to small particles in your mead — particles that might lead to yeasty, bitter flavors. Every Brewsy kit comes with a clarifying agent to rid your wine of any off-flavors and make it sparkling clear.
Step Four: Bottling Your Cyser
Many meadmakers believe that aging helps to bring out the smoother, more delicate flavors in the honey and cider, resulting in a more delicious final product. But some people prefer the bright flavor of young mead!
So, recommend having a glass now, and saving a few bottles for later (this recipe will yield 4 750mL regular-sized wine bottles). You can compare the taste of younger and aged meads, and see which one you like better!
So, let the cyser-making and experimentation begin! Get started with a Brewsy meadmaking kit, which has all the tools you need to guarantee delicious and reliable cyser (or mead or whatever you'd like!) every time you make it! (and use code CYSER15 for 15% off, too).
Delicious & Simple Apple Mead Recipe - Apple Cyser At Home
Have you ever wanted to make your own mead at home to impress your friends, but feel intimidated by the prospect of a homemade cyser?
Look no further- below you will find a recipe for apple mead that will yield fantastic results in as little as 7 days. Your friends will be impressed- and maybe a little jealous- that you were capable of making such a crisp, delicious, apple mead by yourself at home!
Gather your ingredients. 🍯
For this recipe, here's what you'll need:
1 Gallon Container
1 to 2 Cups of Honey
1 Large Pot
1 Gallon Filtered Apple Juice (double check to make sure it doesn't contain potassium sorbate).
Pour 1/2 gallon of your cider into a pot. 🍎
In a large pot, heat 1/2 gallon (1.9L) of apple juice. Heat slowly, making sure it doesn't boil.
Add your honey.
For semi-dry mead, add 1 cup of honey.
For semi-sweet mead, add 1.25 cups of honey.
For sweet mead, add 1.5 cups of honey.
And for extra sweet mead, add 1.75 cups of honey.
Dissolve your honey in the apple juice, and let the mixture cool until room temperature.
Pour your apple juice and honey mixture into your gallon jug once cooled.
Top off your container with more apple juice, leaving 3 inches of space at the top of your container for headrooom.
Add one full Brewsy bag. Then shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds to help wake up the yeast.
Put on the airlock. First, squeeze the rubber stopper into your gallon’s bottleneck, and then attach the plastic airlock. Fill the airlock with water, and then snap the hole-punched plastic part back on.
Put your mead in a warm, dark place. An attic, closet, or near your water heater are all good places. The ideal temperature is 75°F to 85°F. (The fermentation will take longer in cooler temperatures).
Now, fermentation is beginning. Fermentation will take approximately 7 days.
Tip: Once or twice a day, swirl your container to make sure the yeast make surface contact with all of the mead.
Wait 7 days, then taste-test. After 7 days, take a very small sip of your mead. Right now, the yeast haven’t been separated from your mead, so it won’t taste amazing just yet.
When you taste, taste primarily for sweetness. If it tastes dry enough for you, move on to the next step. If it still tastes too sweet, let it ferment for 2 more days, then repeat the taste-test.
Put your mead in the fridge. Take off the airlock and put the hole-punched cap on your gallon jug — or, simply use a loosened cap.
Tip — make sure you never fasten the cap of your gallon jug to prevent potentially explosive carbon dioxide buildup!
Wait two days while your mead is in the fridge.
During this time, the cold in your fridge is forcing the solids in your mead to the bottom of the container, making it easier for you to separate them in the next step.
Rack your mead. Slowly, pour your mead off of the sediment at the bottom into a different container.
Your goal is to remove as much of the sediment as possible, so try not to tip your jug back up until you’ve finished pouring.
Take a sip! Now, you can taste your mead! Cheers!
You may love it away, but you may find it tastes harsh or a bit off. Don’t worry! That's very normal with young alcohol. Mead takes longer to age than other drinks made with Brewsy — it will get much smoother over time.
If it tastes bitter, you can quickly fix that by making a simple syrup.
Return your mead to the fridge with a loosened cap. Unlike store-bought wine, Brewsy doesn’t have any preservatives, so it needs to stay in the fridge with a loose cap unless it is properly prepared for room temperature storage.
If you’d like to bottle your mead for storage outside of the fridge, you can find out how to do that here.
Age your mead. The character of your mead will change significantly as it ages. This is especially important with mead!
Harsh tastes or off-flavors will dissipate, and your mead will taste smoother and more flavorful. Age your mead for at least 3 weeks, racking it about once every 5-7 days, or whenever you see significant sediment buildup.
Optional: Dilute with seltzer water. Some people like to do this if the mead feels too heavy or alcoholic!
Enjoy! Share your mead with our Brewsy communities, the First Pour Club and Club Brewsy.
And be sure to reach out to us with any questions. You can text us at the number we texted you from about your order, message us on Facebook, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because you read the fine print, use code CYSER15 at checkout for 15% off Brewsy Starter Kits & Glassware!