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Old 10-08-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default First serious attempt at making cider

Been a long time homebrewer, also played around with cider a bit either by letting unpasteurized stuff go hard naturally or using apple juice with champagne yeast. We moved to Vermont last year and I wanted to look into making cider a little more seriously since we have awesome access to both unpasteurized cider and apples in general. This forum is an amazing resource, there really aren't many great books out there and there is such a breadth of experience and different techniques here. That thread from CvilleKevin has so much great info.

I built a small press a few months ago and just broke it in on Saturday, pressing about 5 gallons total. Takes awhile. Earlier this summer, our neighbor's old crab apple tree was just loaded with large, relatively sweet fruit and my wife went over and picked 30 lbs and we put them in the freezer. We got about 2 gallons of juice from those and it's actually really tasty by itself. Tart as you can imagine, but very drinkable. Reminds me of a lambic or something. I'm trying to do a 1 gallon test batch of that with wild yeast, although due to the high pH I know it's a bit of a crap shoot.

Other apples we used were Russets (not quite a gallon) and then a mixed group of mostly Macs with some Cortlandts and Empires thrown in. So I'm doing another gallon of an even mix of crab apple, Russet and the mixed batch with Nottingham and then 2 more gallons with a bit more of a blend after some trial tastings. Approximate 2 mixed to 1 crab to 1/2 russet. I'm doing one with S-04 and one with Nottingham. Pitched yeast last night, one is already bubbling this morning. Curious to see how these turn out. Plan is to try to catch them with some residual sugar, cold crash and re-rack enough times to stabilize and then bottle them as still cider. Eventually I want carbonated, but I think I'll wait until I get a keg system and have the extra fridge for it. Maybe next year.

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Old 01-15-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Just tasted one of the batches, which used 1/3 crabapple, 1/3 russet and 1/3 of a blend of Macs, Empire, Cortlandt, etc. Nottingham yeast. Started off at around 1.05 (no added sugars) and I cold crashed it around 1.01.

Tasted much better than I hoped. Pretty tart, but I kinda like it that way. Still some residual sugar. There was a very slight carbonation in the bottle, but looks like I deactivated most of the yeast between the cold crashing and racking. Worked pretty well. Really like the flavor notes you get from the Nottingham yeast. In previous attempts I had tried using champagne yeast and wasn't too happy with the results.

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Old 01-19-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
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I primarily use S-04 and nottingham yeast and have also started experimenting this year using some crabapples. There's a little ol' lady down the street and it's taken me 5 years to get her to warm up to the idea of letting me pick enough of her crabapples to get a quart of juice! haha

I'm posting here to keep this one up in the list. I'm really interested in how your experiment turns out. So far, I'm thinking the crabapples are going to need some time in the bottle to let them smooth out. BIT-TUR! is all I have to say so far.

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