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Old 04-15-2009, 02:21 AM   #1
gregbathurst
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Default Cider making

Hi, I am new to this forum so doing a bit of intro.
I live in Australia, 100 miles west of sydney in the ranges. I have 50 acres with a couple of dozen apple trees of various cultivars plus seedlings. The trees have been in about 10 years and starting to produce good harvests after the birds take their share.
Last year I started making cider using a garden mulcher for a mill and a homemade press powered by a car jack. Last year I made 10 gallons and this year 35 gal. My batches are based on whatever is in fruit at the time, I use dessert, cooking apples , cider apples, crabs and pears. ( pear juice is fairly bland and lacks acidity so I only use it at 20% of total.)
I have some experience as a casual worker in a winery, so my approach is from a winemaking perspective. I use a champagne yeast, rehydrated, and then a secondary malo-lactic fermentation using commercial oenococcus bacteria. (this is to remove sourness and to make the cider more stable). I don't use sugar or yeast nutrients and minimal camden tablets.
After a month in the fermenter I bottle under crown caps with sugar to make it sparkling. It takes a couple of weeks to get fully fizzy and drinkable and after that seems to continue to improve for months, until finished. If I had the patience to wait longer it would be interesting to see when it stops improving.
Anyway, it is very interesting to read about the variety of styles and experiences of cider makers on this site. Its a pity I can't taste some of those brews I have been reading about, in Australia the range of ciders available is very poor.
Greg.



Reason: spelling
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:45 AM   #2
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First, Welcome to HBT, from the other side of the globe.

I'm quite jealous of your land, sounds like you have a good variety of fruit at your disposal (even if you don't have to let the birds get their fill first haha) Your methods all sound great. Are you bottling when it is clear or are you not waiting for crystal clarity? The one thing I'm not sure I understand is your decision to use malo-lactic. It is often avoided in cider making because it takes away that sharp/bitter/bite of the juice that is supposed to be there in ciders.

Either way, if you're enjoying the brew sounds like your making a good brew. I will suggest hiding some away from yourself and trying a bottle every month or two to see how it does improve. That way when you know how long you want to age it, you can get enough brewing on a schedule so that while one batch is aging the last is perfectly aged for drinking already.

Oh and PICS! Show us your trees, your cider press set up and of course show us the bubbly!


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Old 04-15-2009, 03:20 AM   #3
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Hi Tusch, the cider this year was pretty clear, though it isn't something I'm too fussed about.
I realise a lot of home cider makers don't use malo-lactic, I think it depends partly on your palate. I'm not so crazy about that sour malic acid flavour, I prefer the softer flavour after malo.
From my experience of commercial cider in Australia, i think they all do a malo, probably to get consistency. I imagine most cider would go through a malo eventually because of the high levels of malic acid in apple juice, unless you keep up good levels of SO2. It is much easier to get cider through a malo than red wine, I know most winemakers tear their hair out waiting for the malo to complete but cider goes through very easy.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:23 AM   #4
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Ok here are some photos, taken today (late autumn). You might need to right click the icon and "open in new tab". It doesn't seem to be easy to post photos here.
first the press

The frame is an old workbench, the base a slab of gum tree wood cut by chainsaw.
Also the orchard.

From left, a pear tree, apple twenty ounce and apple Kid's orange web.

Apple egremont russet and apple sweet alford.

A visitor to the garden under a crab apple.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:18 AM   #5
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Nice press set up, unique to what I've seen.






Do roo's eat your fruit as well? I admit I know almost nothing about them, just curious.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:30 PM   #6
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Thats actually a wallaby not a roo, just a matter of size. He won't eat fruit but will take all the leaves off a young tree if he gets a chance. We get lots of kangaroos as well.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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grebathurst: Cool DIY fruit press. As for trying all the ciders you've been reading about, you might be able to get some mailorder, depending on AU laws & shipping costs; I can see where a $10 bottle of cider could easily become a $30 or $40 bottle of cider after shipping from the US to AU. Just out of curiosity, do you ever get that buttery flavour (think chardonnay) from the MLF? Regards, GF.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:39 AM   #8
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Hi GF.
I haven't been aware of any buttery flavour, I think you mean diacetyl which is common in beer and wine. i don't know if it is found in cider. Anyone know?
I would only do MLF in a dry cider, I think in a sweet cider you would need the extra acidity.
My press does about 3 gallons per hour so its pretty slow. I get about 50% yield i.e. 1 litre of juice from 2 kilograms of fruit (I don't know how to convert that to imperial.)


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