Cider 2016

Plan to ferment single-varietal ciders so we can taste the flavors of each, and then blend them afterward. I posted on for local apples, and I got a lot of responses:


  • Red Gravenstein from Curt’s place in SebastapolIMG_0350

    • 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:
  • Golden Delicious frIMG_0352om backyard 2 neighbors.

    • 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.
  • Winter Banana? from Jill on Baden:IMG_0363

    • Yellow/green apple with pink blush and spots.  Possibly:
    • SG: 1.060
    • TA: 6.25 g/L
    • Juice profile: Bland, no smell, but flavor “ok”. Seems light despite high SG.
  • Green Newtown Pippin from ShermanIMG_0366

    • 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.
  • Reddish apples from Gayle on Miguel:IMG_0369

    • 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 from Priya on Laidley:IMG_0373

    • 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.
  • Crabapples at Mangels and NordhoffIMG_2890

    • 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.

img_0333dsc05290 img_0346dsc05292img_0379

Wild Fermentationimg_0357

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)


Secondary Fermentation

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.