In the fall of 2000 Cliff convinced me that I needed to brew hard cider. In turn, I convinced him that we needed to brew lots of it. We soon bought barrels that had been used for Cherry Coke concentrate and found an orchard that would sell us bulk sweet cider. After siphoning the 120 gallons from two barrels in my truck into two barrels prepared in my basement, adding sugar and other flavors, and pitching the yeast, we waited.
It’s actually fairly easy to forget about 120 gallons of cider your basement. We almost never went down there, and it didn’t really need much thought. But, now and then we’d remember. Friends would become scared when we told them of it, and those who knew a thing or two about yeasts and alcohol grew scareder when they learned of what yeast we used, and how much sugar we added.
Eventually the bubbling stopped, the cider cleared, and it was time to bottle. The results were good, and best of all, they were powerful. My barrel tested out at 30 Proof, and I promptly named it Confidence Builder™. I mixed it 50-50 with sweet apple juice to make Her Little Secret™ so that we could enjoy it (at 15 Proof) more often.