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Author Replies
SteveG
11/07/06 03:55 PM  
Anyone here do cider?
I've been making cider (hard) for years now, been sort of entry level the whole time but that's worked out. Attending CiderDay this past weekend has me interested in kicking up a notch. Is it just me? I would not be opposed to starting a separate home cider makers board if there was interest.
N8
11/07/06 04:03 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
As I've stated in the Message Board, I've made cider a couple of times.

The few times I've done cider, I've added cider yeast to one batch, let the other ferment from the natural yeast on the apples, and the most recent, I pitched the apple juice onto a cake of Bastogne Belgian Ale yeast.

It's not something I do much of. Usually one carboy full each year. Kind of like wine, it's a nice alternative on occasion, but I don't get all ga-ga over it like I do beer brewing. Cider and wine are rather boring to produce. Just juice 'em, pitch the yeast, let it sit.

I'll certainly get in on a cider/mead/wine discussion. Though I don't have alot off input, I'm always open to new ideas about how to do things.

Mkgrist
11/22/06 09:25 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I've done some ciders too...

Currently, I have some odd ball fermentations going on...

A Asian Apple Pear Mead, Asian Apple "APPLE" Pear Cider and Apple Pear Cider (obviously, I have an apple pear tree!) and a Belgian Crand Cru with a Couple pounds of Poison Oak Honey.... Tasty!

SteveG
11/27/06 03:00 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Neat, is the blending of pear and apple something you've done a lot? Pears can be pretty high on the acid scale, my attempts at perry are about 50/50 because of that. The pears I pressed this season sat a few weeks after harvest, that seemed to really enhance the juice. I'm hoping that will help beat back the effects of acid.
Mkgrist
11/27/06 07:55 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
>>Neat, is the blending of pear and apple something you've done a lot?>>

Actually, I'n using Asian Apple Pears,it's in the pear family, but looks round like an apple...So, it's a single product.

>>Pears can be pretty high on the acid scale, my attempts at perry are about 50/50 because of that. The pears I pressed this season sat a few weeks after harvest, that seemed to really enhance the juice. I'm hoping that will help beat back the effects of acid.>>

The Asian Pears are very sweet to the taste, but I don't think they're that acidic or at least as acidic as a regular pear... Funny, I am having a hard time fermenting the straight ASian Pear wine. The Asian Pear Mead is doing fine, but the ASian Pear wine is rather sluggish... Maybe I need to chcek the pH??

SteveG
11/28/06 07:10 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Ah, you mean those round VERY crispy and juicy fruits? Sorry for the confusion, I've only heard those called Asian pears before. But I agree with the Ph thing, personally I find regular pears sweet as well. Was actually a bit surprised to hear about the high acid content. Those CiderDay folks were really on top of it though, if they said it then I'm sure its right. And sometimes I do pick up the acids effects in the fermented product - which does go very slow.
DanM
12/16/06 12:46 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
My understanding about cider and acidity is that more is more better. Cider apples are bracingly tart and have very little in common with table apples. I believe there's a malo-lactic conversion performed by a bacterium which lives on the apples toning down the acidity. And that's one of the major barriers to doing cider at home: finding the tart cider apples.

That said, I've done a couple ciders: one gallon of scrumpy with Trader Joe's pure gravenstein cider and three gallons of fresh pressed juice from a local orchard/cider mill. I was planning on doing a large, barrel-fermented batch with a friend this autumn, but ended up needing to move in a hurry. I would be very interested in further cider discussion.

SteveG
12/19/06 09:57 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Actually I don't think "tart" is the right word, more classical would be "astringent". A general classification that the Brits swear by is "bittersharp", tanney apples like the Kingston Black. But I have to say, after 10 years of making cider (1 5 gallon batch a year, pressing my own) I don't really buy it. I'm not so sure I can really sense a huge difference between classically pressed cider and the stuff I make out of local varieties. Winespa, Mitsu, Jonagold, McCoun, even golden Delicious - pretty normal varieties like those.

I've definately encounter cider with a malo-lactic character, it needs to be real controlled. It can be an enhancement in small doses but it gets objectionable quickly.

Al B
02/14/07 01:16 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
After quaffing down a bottle of Canadian Ice Cider, I am quite interested in this (Ice cider).

I think I need an apple book. I didn't know all these categories of apples as "bitter" Bittersharp", "acid", and "sweet".

Al Bitter

SteveG
02/14/07 03:04 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
>>I think I need an apple book<<

Knowing me is a close second.

CDH
02/15/07 03:54 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I've done a couple of batches of cider, both apple and pear. The most successful so far has been a pear cider produced by juicing everything that fell down from the three different pear trees in my yard and letting the natural yeast do their thing. Ended up with about 4 gallons, added a pound of table sugar dissolved in a half gallon of apple cider, and let it go.

It went through a bit of a leathery-bretty phase, but that has aged out and now it is floral and tart and delicious.

SteveG
02/16/07 06:47 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I tried something a little different with this years perry batch, I let the fruit sit a couple weeks after harvest. Like you, my fruit came from a nearby tree. I lost maybe 15% of the pear to over-ripening, but the ones I pressed yeilded the best juice yet. I've never had a bretty phase, but pears can be high in acid. As a result sometimes it gets vinagery. I havn't sampled this years yet, but I expect an exceptional batch.

Racked this years cider batch last weekend. I employed a few prinicples I learned at CiderDay06. Most definatley my best cider yet.

CDH
02/16/07 11:24 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I agree that letting pears age a bit really does bring out some very interesting flavors. The pear trees in the yard are all different. One is a huge ancient tree that produces small sweet pears that have a russet skin sort of like boscs, but no pronounced "pear-shape", i.e. no neck leading to a belly... just an oblong fruit. Number 2 is a modern Bartlett tree that produces modern bartlett pears. Number 3 is a bit of a mystery... it produces larger neckless pears that don't soften at all until they're frozen. These are rock hard, acidic and tough to deal with until they've been off the tree long enough. But then they hit an almosr rose-like floral aromatic stage and are wonderful.

I think next year I'm going to make sure all of these get a night in the freezer and a week in the basement before any further processing.

Al B
02/16/07 05:04 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
From what I've reading....the best apples(or pears) for this sort of goodliness are those not intended for eating, and that the fruit stay on the trees as long as possible before falling off themselves. A couple of weeks in the basement for "maturing" helps. A blend of something like 60% sweet, 30% bitter, and 10% acid varieties is something to shoot for. cool.
ErikH
09/15/09 10:16 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Reviving this thread as I may have a lead on some fresh-pressed cider this weekend. Very interesting to read back through the discussion above!

Steve, you mentioned incorporating principles you learned at Cider Day 2006. Would you mind sharing what those were and how they helped?

Mallace
09/15/09 10:22 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
This page has some specific details on the apples involved in a few blends that have been available here in SW PA. I made a dry cider from the 2006 blend, and it was quite nice--bone dry, crisp, acidic, an absolute dream with roasted chicken or pork.

http://www.keystonehomebrew.com/index.cfm?pgid=cider

troybinso
09/16/09 09:42 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Just wondering if anyone puts in yeast nutrients, or some kind of acid blend in their ciders.

I did my first cider last year pitched on American ale yeast, and it turned out fine, but there is certainly room for improvement this year.

mallace
09/16/09 04:17 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I didn't add acid, but it is not uncommon, especially if the cider itself is not particularly acidic (for example, if you are fermenting grocery-store cider made for unfermented drinking). Yeast nutrients always help. I used a champagne yeast to achieve dryness in mine.
SteveG
09/16/09 04:50 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
I only use apple juice - though it may help that I press the apple juice - and natural fermentation. If you are going to pitch, the experts use a wine yeast, I think its called D2 but I'm not sure. I tried that once, my first year after having attended Cider Day up in western MA. Boringest cider I ever made. Once you get the feel of natural fermentation I think there is really no going back.
Adrian
09/16/09 05:51 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Speaking of acids, is there a way to reduce the acid level in cider? Every cider I've made so far has ranged from "very tart" to "tastes like lemon juice".

The cider is made from Tree Top apple juice. Why? Because it's super cheap at Costco and it has no perservatives.

Ryane
09/16/09 07:05 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
There are some wine yeasts that will metabolize malic acid, 71B-1122 Narbonne will do just that

In my experience though, ciders/wines are rarely too tart and if anything taste a bit flabby and need a bit of acid to make the fruit pop

tripel beam
09/17/09 03:41 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
<<I've definately encounter cider with a malo-lactic character, it needs to be real controlled. It can be an enhancement in small doses but it gets objectionable quickly>>

ML in my experience starts out kind of smelling like popcorn, but when the conversion is done it mostly just raises pH, lowers harsh malic bitterness, and in many cases makes for better stability.

If you're interested Steve, I'll send you some ML cultures in a month when things slow down a little for me (I'm in grape season right now).

ErikH
09/17/09 11:38 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Regarding tartness, can citric acid be added at the time of packaging to taste?

Yeast-wise I'm thinking of doing a batch with the natural yeast and one with Lalvin EC-1118 (Saccharomyces Bayanus / Champagne) for possible control/blending.

ErikH
09/22/09 01:56 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
So, had an interesting start on a first cider experience last weekend. Was lucky enough to have capacity to try a couple of different blends of fresh fruit and unpasteurized ciders. Red Delicious, Cortland, Pippins and more all got into the mix.

Even got to use some teeny-tiny wild crab apples - they looked more like berries, really. Funny thing was, while all the other batches of cider have stayed pretty cloudy in the carboys so far, the batch with maybe 20% crab apples dropped clear within an hour or so of going in to the fermenter. Wonder why?

SteveG
09/24/09 11:45 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
>>The cider is made from Tree Top apple juice. Why? Because it's super cheap at Costco and it has no perservatives.<<

My guess is the acidic results you are getting are tied to what you are fermenting. Super cheap is great, but you get what you pay for.

Hey tripel beam, what a nice offer, thanks. I'm really sold on letting nature take its course though. The pro's warn against relying too heavily on natural fermentation, but after wandering a bit I'm as convinced as ever that its the way to go.

Eric, puzzling question. My understanding is that crab apples tend to be more acidic and astringent, maybe something about that encourages the clarification?

ErikH
09/24/09 05:41 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
>>My understanding is that crab apples tend to be more acidic and astringent, maybe something about that encourages the clarification?<<

Indeed. This looks so radically different from the other batches that it is making me scratch my head. It's really clear, and there's still no action in the airlock after 4 days now. I wanted this to be a spontaneous batch, but I think I'm going to cave and add some champagne yeast.

The batch consists of:

2.5 gal of blended unpasteurized cider from Delicious Orchards in Colt's Neck

0.25 gal of juice extracted from the mixed leftovers and cores of some fresh fruit (Red Delicious and Cortland)

1.125 gal of juice extracted from the tiny wild crab apples.

0.75 lbs white sugar

OG was 1.061. So the crab apples make up like 30% of the fermentables. Guess I could test it with a pH strip.

SteveG
09/25/09 09:13 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Hey, can you send me some pics? I'll bring this question to Cider Day for you. Won't have an answer till November, but if anyone can answer this those guys can.

BTW, pippins in the mix - nice! What kind of pippins? I know of two varieties, both tough to come by, both excellent cider apples, and each totally different from the other.

wetherel
09/27/09 03:13 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Can you get DMS aromas from cider fermentation. I've done a couple of ciders, and they smell pretty bad after a couple of days. I used to call it skunky, but now I'm starting to think it's DMS. The bad aroma dies away eventually.

I made a small 750mL sour beer from apple juice poured into a Cantillon bottle with some other dregs and an airlock on it. I drank it after 9 months. It tasted pretty clean, dry and sour, except a little bit of mold in the aroma.

ErikH
09/28/09 09:56 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Wetherel, one of the batches of cider I am making now is definitely pumping out some sulfury odors. Using Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast, which I had not experienced these smells with before, so (?)

SteveG, regarding the batch with crab-apples discussed above, we added dry yeast to this also and it took of like a rocket and is happily bubbling away. So, whatever the inhibitor of spontaneous fermentation was, it doesn't seem to be an environment that won't support yeast.

Also, as for the Pippins I don't know which kind. Delicious Orchards had a 'regular' cider for sale (blended from several varieties) and one labeled 'TART', which tasted great. When I asked the guy there about it he said that that batch was '100% Pippin' and I didn't think to ask any further.

Rudy Watkins
09/28/09 09:20 PM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
It isn't possible for me to press my own apples but I'd love to give cider a go this year. Has anyone experimented with adding crushed crab apples to a blend they've purchased a-la adding fruit to a beer? I have a crab apple tree in the front yard that could contribute a whole bunch of tannins to a local sweet cider.

Also, I've got some extra Brett C. laying around - does anyone have experience with a 100% brett cider?

-rudy

SteveG
09/29/09 09:24 AM  
Re: Anyone here do cider?
Hi Rudy, I did a 100% Brett C cider last year, basically cause at cider day they said you can't. You can, mine was predictably well attenuated and fruity.

I've never used crab apples, but there are those who say that's the real way to make cider. I think they're wrong, but either way crab apples certainly have a place in cider making.

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