Projects and Thoughts

Cider with honey review.

A quick review of last years cider. I don’t have a lot of cider making knowledge, I try to make a batch a year, it just seems like the right thing to do living where I do. There are numerous orchards with in a short drive. There are even ‘wild’ apple trees along many of my local running routes. This is what it’s like living in converted farm county. I want to learn more about the techniques, and methods to make a more refined cider. In the not to distant future I plan on having a few apple trees. I’m not there yet, so I’m still buying local unpasteurized cider and making simple common cider. Last years batch was a similar recipe to the first year with only minor changes. I controlled the fermentation temperature better this year. Instead of keeping the carboy in the kitchen, I put it in the basement, where it’s much cooler, and doesn’t have the temperature swings we see in New England fall. I changed the sugar type, from turbinado sugar to honey, and increasing the starting gravity to 1.067. This resulted in an abv in the 8.3 range. I also changed the yeast I used for this batch, using a packet of dry us-05 yeast, instead of Nottingham like I tried the first time. Last years cider weighted in at 8.3%, a fairly potent beverage. I plan to tweak my next batch of apple cider again, going with a very similar recipe to my pear cider. 1 campden tablet over night, 1/4 tab pectic enzyme, 3/4 yeast nutrient, 3g cider, (1/2 lb local honey?), Wyeast london ESB 1968, and fermentation at cool basement temps. I’m hoping for something a little less punchy, but with similar crispness. I’m on the fence about the honey, since I’ll have a honey peary too. Future plans will have to wait for another day.

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The cider is straw like, the picture (left) looks darker than it really is. It’s also very clear, which is well hidden by moisture on the glass. This is a sipping cider. While cold you get nice apple aromas, and a cool crispness, and light carbonation, as it warms you get heat from the alcohol. It has a vinous flavor, with a bit of a wild tang, and a flavor I can’t place. It has a nice mild carbonation, but it is otherwise a little too dry. I think this a good fall beverage, it would go great with a pork roast, or roast turkey. It could use a bit more sweetness, and I wish I had bottled it in 12 oz bottles, instead of 22’s. While I can picture myself enjoying a wine glass or two over a meal, or by the fire, I can’t however picture having this by the pint if that makes any sense.

I’m looking forward to comparing this to some other local hand made ciders, perhaps when I get a chance to press some apples later this fall. I’d like to know how my results compare. I am also looking forward to holding onto a few bottles to compare last years batch to the next batch I make to see if I’m making any improvements, only time will tell.

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