Plan to ferment single-varietal ciders so we can taste the flavors of each, and then blend them afterward. I posted on nextdoor.com for local apples, and I got a lot of responses:
- Old apples and drops, very waxy when pressed. Sweated for 1-3 weeks.
- SG: 1.052 (after 2 week sweat)
- TA: 4.9 g/L
- Juice profile: was great fresh. low tannin, moderate-low acid, very sweet. Smells great, apple aroma.
- Fermentation start:
- First Racking:
- Sweated apples for 1 week. They were already pretty ripe.
- Juice/Pomace =
- SG: 1.052
- TA: 6.25 g/L
- Juice profile: lighter in flavor than the Gravenstein. Simple and clean. Smell was more “green apple” or grassy, not as interesting as the Gravenstein.
- Left in garage for 2 weeks to ripen
- 6.5 gallons apples = 4 gallons pomace = 2.4 gallons juice.
- SG: 1.062
- TA: 8.04 g/L
- Juice nice, aromatic, good flavor.
- Red mottled striped, with bloom. Old tree.
- SG: 1.06
- TA: 3.13
- Juice profile: ok aromatics and flavor, similar to red delicious
- 2 gallons of juice from approx 3 gallons of pomace
- Green apples of unknown type, some russeting. Left for 2-3 weeks to sweat.
- SG: 1.053
- TA: 4.47
- Juice profile: Super boring, thin, and no aromatics.
- Sweated apples for 1-2 weeks, very waxy
- SG: 1.050
- TA: 24 g/L (after fermentation for ~1 year, so could have Malolactic fermentation)
- Juice profile: super sour and very long, dry tannic finish. Great aromatics, though!
Grinding and Pressing
I used my homemade apple grinder and press to extract the juice. Most of the juices were just fine to drink fresh.
On all the ciders this year, we decided to do everything separately so we could taste the differences between the juices and see how mixing makes a difference. In general, I just left the juice in a fermenting bucket (often with an airlock, but just to keep out bugs), and only stirred the ones that didn’t start fermenting quickly. Most started bubbling within 3 days.
On two batches, I tried to do a keeve by adding PME enzyme, and the juice was REALLY clear right off the bat, but one batch got really cloudy after I added the calcium (green apples), and one stayed clear. Neither really keeved, but the Reddish apples had really clear juice (on the left carboy in the picture below), so I just racked it and it fermented really slowly, which was good! (to be determined)
Most of the juices fermented very quickly, and were done in about a month or so, which is not ideal, but they (mostly) taste ok. Add more details later after fermentation is complete.
10/7/2016: The Gravenstein was at 1.009 and the Newtown Pippin was at 1.005, so it was almost time to bottle some… so Shannon, Curt, and I decided to do some taste testing and see if any mixing would be good. Results:
- Newtown Pippin good on its own, but
- Better mix was 20 Gravenstein, 20 Newtown, and 1Crabby 2015 to add some extra tannin.
- Need to try mixing some of the Crabby into the Golden Delicious.