Hey, all! Brewed beer very regularly for about 15 years, but have not brewed a single batch in the last 5 years. :^O I want to get back at it and figured a simple mead or cider might get me back in the swing, easily. My wife loves cider, so that seems the logical choice. Anyway.....
I have a relatively local (30 miles away) apple orchard where they have about 120 varieties of apples. HOW DO I CHOOSE? I spoke with the owner and she said I should give her 2 or 3 weeks of the apples off the trees to maximize the sugars. She also said that she recommends the "drop" bushels as they are more inexpensive which I interpret as those apples which drop off the trees and are probably not suitable (aesthetic enough) for eating or other purposes. Regardless of variety, they say it is $15/bushel and she says that one bushel should yield about 2 gallons.
She also will let me rent their press ($15/hour). She says I should be able to do my desired 5 gallons within an hour. True?
She said there are many varieties of apples you would never just eat....but that make very good cider. At 120 varieties, how do I pick????? She said a local customer who does lots of hard cider feels that blends tend to be more wine-like whereas single variety batches have the apple essence that many desire. She says he really likes Arkansas Black apples.
So, several questions.............
1. I assume I should try to wash the apples before I press them?
2. With these "drop" apples, will there be any problem or is this all good?
3. What variety should I get? How do I choose? Recommendations?