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Old 11-14-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
chevalcider
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Default Apple varieties from the northern prairies.

I am wondering if there are other members from the northern prairies who are brewing cider from locally grown varieties.

I am in southern Manitoba, about 14 miles north of North Dakota. I live in a town known for its "Corn and Apple" festival (without any commercial apple growers!) In the past the Agriculture Canada research station located in town produced a good collection of apple varieties hardy enough for the region. One of the best know varieties was the Goodland, a eating/baking apple.

http://www.hardyfruittrees.ca/catalo...-early-harvest

Another variety that is popular out here is an apple/crab known as Trail. I made my first ciders (single variety) ever this fall from three locally grown apples; 5 1/2 gallons of Trail, 6 gallons of Goodland, and about 5 gallons from a mystery apple I was allowed to pick in a stranger's backyard. Of those three, the Trail is my favourite. It seems to be balanced and when back sweetened and carbonated, some say it tastes like a Strongbow. The other varieties come across as sour and a little watery. There are still in secondary and may improve if I back sweeten and carbonate.

Here is a list of trees hardy in our region. (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3A)
http://uniquegardencentre.com/info_sheets/Apples.pdf

Are there any others here who are making local ciders in the area...southern Manitoba, all of North Dakota, and north western Minnesota? If so, what varieties are you growing/fermenting? I'd like to be able to share notes.

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Old 11-15-2013, 01:22 AM   #2
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I'm in La Salle so not far from you! I've only done ciders with store bought juice, but I try to use a variety. I've looked into pressing apples but there is only one place nearby that does it, and it's pretty pricey.

I should keep better track of what I make. We have one bottle left of a cider I bottled a year ago, and it's sure aged nicely.

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Old 11-15-2013, 01:39 AM   #3
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Default here you go!

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Originally Posted by CanFarmer View Post
I'm in La Salle so not far from you! I've only done ciders with store bought juice, but I try to use a variety. I've looked into pressing apples but there is only one place nearby that does it, and it's pretty pricey.

I should keep better track of what I make. We have one bottle left of a cider I bottled a year ago, and it's sure aged nicely.
We if you don't mind going out to Summerland, then this is the thing for you! Press your won. Can't see it for selling anywhere near the reserve bid...$250 just seems too cheap.https://www.gcsurplus.ca/mn-eng.cfm?...1&sf=ferm-clos

There is a business near Landmark that custom presses apples.http://www.johnboyfarms.com/Apple%20...20hand-out.pdf

I took mine to a mom & pop operation that they ran out of their garage in one of the villages south of Winkler. They charged 40c a litre.

Nice to see another Manitoban on here! Hopefully there are more from here and neighbouring states who will add to the discussion.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:40 AM   #4
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Default Hutterites

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Originally Posted by CanFarmer View Post
I'm in La Salle so not far from you! I've only done ciders with store bought juice, but I try to use a variety. I've looked into pressing apples but there is only one place nearby that does it, and it's pretty pricey.

I should keep better track of what I make. We have one bottle left of a cider I bottled a year ago, and it's sure aged nicely.
Are there any Hutterite colonies in your area that might do custom pressing? I teach at a colony and they have a press but don't do custom pressing.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:53 AM   #5
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Johnboy is the nearby operation. Way cheaper to buy fresh cider when it's available rather than pay them to squeeze mine. I am near the Vermilion colony but they are more into manufacturing.

I have 5 gallons of Kreuger's fresh cider from Costco - best before Dec 6th so I better toss some yeast in there soon! Picked up a keg last weekend - just kegged a batch I've had in a pail since the start of October.

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Old 11-30-2013, 01:30 AM   #6
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I Google searched "Manitoba" and "cider" and came upon this book. It seems as if most of the apples that grow here are crossed with crabs in order to make them more tolerant of the cold and as such are viewed as good cider apples.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=mrXp...0cider&f=false

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Old 11-30-2013, 01:54 AM   #7
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Interesting! I see Goodlands are on the list. They are the omnipresent Winnipeg apple. Tasty and prolific. We have a freezer full right now, all sliced for apple pie.

I picked up a keg kit and it's full of cider, aging right now. I think I will go test some.

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Old 03-13-2014, 01:38 AM   #8
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I just bottled my last batch of cider. The cider from Goodlands apples has turned out super tart. So mush so that I might not drink it all. There is another variety that remains a mystery to me that I will be trying as well. I tried it still and dry and it was fairly tart as well. So far my vote is with the Trail apple crabs. They give a nice tartness along with a pleasant "bite" that I think I can attribute to tannins. Too bad I only made 5 gallons of it and it is almost all consumed. Next year I am going to try and get a variety called "Kerr". Supposedly it is at its best after a killing frost and yields and interesting flavour.

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Old 03-13-2014, 02:51 AM   #9
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If it's too tart, forget about it a year and then you might have a really nice dry cider.

I've used the Lalvin EC1118 yeast a few times - and it always ferments out super dry. It takes a long time to age. After maybe 9 months or so (bottle carbed) you get a champagnelike cider that I really enjoy.

The stuff I kegged in November is just getting drinkable. A little disappointing in that it is taking a long time for a yeasty aroma to go away, and it dispenses foamy but is pretty still after that. However, it's my first batch with Nottingham yeast and is sweeter and more appley than with the Lalvin.

I also have a batch I bottled in September - they're getting pretty good too, but they are the dryer taste.

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Old 03-13-2014, 07:27 AM   #10
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I am in zone 6 so cant give you local knowledge, but there is St Lawrance nursery that lists cold hardy apples including some for cider. We have a couple NW Greenings, we like tart apples and this is a nice apple for us to use in our cider blends, most consider it just a cooker. Our best bitter apples are wild crabs also. WVMJ

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