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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > First Time Hard Cider
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:21 PM   #1
choppersean
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Default First Time Hard Cider

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?

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Old 09-12-2011, 02:29 AM   #2
roadymi
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Seems like an expensive way to get cider. By your figures I calculate to $10.50 / gallon. I can buy fresh pressed from my local orchard for $3.25 into my 5 gal pail or carboy.

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Old 09-12-2011, 07:36 AM   #3
dinnerstick
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wish i had your problem!
try to get some sweet, some bitter and some sharp, and bs yourself up a blend. you can find the characteristics of all the varieties online, for example
http://www.cideruk.com/cider_making/cider_apples
although you might not have those british varieties you should be able to get info on a few american varieties that match the characteristics, and look for those
i have seen various instructions to use or leave drops/windfalls, everyone seems to have a different opinion, personally i go with anything that isn't too manky so am not opposed to the cheap windfalls and small weird ones that the grower collects, just avoiding obvious rot

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