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Old 11-08-2011, 11:10 PM   #1
MizooBrew
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Jul 2011
Missoula, MT
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Hey HBT. I've been reading up a lot on cider and I am thinking if I ever want to get serious about this I need to get myself some books on the topic of blending cider with sufficient emphasis on cider apple varieties, including English varieties and crabapple varieties. Anyone have any suggestions for some literature I need to get my hands on? I've been told The Art of Cidermaking is amazing, but it goes for $45 a copy since it is now out of print. However, a resounding endorsement for this text might convince me to dig into my wallet.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:34 AM   #2
RobWalker
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Nov 2009
Birmingham, England
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I have a book written from the west country about nothing but making cider from fresh apples. I'll have a look tomorrow and scan in anything interesting.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:40 AM   #3
Jacob_Marley
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Sep 2011
Detroit
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I'd say save your money for the moment and instead, digest everything you can from this website.
http://www.cider.org.uk
Then, when reviewing a book to purchase you will be better able to judge the one that fills in the gaps in your knowledge.
Yeah, I know a book is pretty attractive, people might not believe this but, I've got a book fetish myself. However I'd really go the online route first. Try searching and reading stuff from google books as well.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:32 AM   #5
CvilleKevin
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Oct 2007
Charlottesville, VA
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Ben Watson's book is good. So is Annie Proulx's.

Yeah the Art of Cider Making is a great book. You get the sense from it that this is a guy who has actually spent serious time making cider as opposed to talking to a lot of commercial cider makers. Try looking for it in your local library

However - all the info about english varieties, blending various sharps and bitters, etc is mostly useless knowledge unless you are going to plant your own orchard. All you need for a good hard cider blend is a good base apple, a good tart apple and one or more aroma/flavor apples. As far as what specific varieties to use, you will be limited by what your local cider press can get ahold of, so you are much better off IMHO calling around to the various orchards near you and seeing what they recommend for a hard cider blend

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:12 AM   #6
Jacob_Marley
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Sep 2011
Detroit
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Very true about having your own orchard.

Looking thru one of my seed catalogs ("Seeds of Change") I've been grinding my teeth flat, wishing I would have been thinking ahead and planted some cider apples 10 years ago when I bought the house I'm in. They've got a nice assortment of cider apples available as two year old trees ... Baldwin, Black Twig, Ashmead's Kernel, Cox's Orange Pippin, Roxbury Russet, no bittersharp's tho. That's what I rely on my crabapple trees for.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 04:31 AM   #7
CvilleKevin
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Oct 2007
Charlottesville, VA
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Quote:
wishing I would have been thinking ahead and planted some cider apples 10 years ago
yeah, but then you are spending a lot of time tending to trees. Besides which, most of the traditional English cider apples are a PIA to grow in the States and IMHO the flavor is overrated. Seeing that you are in Michigan, this time of year, I'd put a mix of Northern Spy, Mac, Winesap and whatever crabs you've got up against any traditional cider apple blend, plus you can fill up carboys all day long at your local orchard.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:32 AM   #8
Jacob_Marley
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Sep 2011
Detroit
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It's true, it would be more work. I'm already growing blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, serviceberries, sandcherries, mulberries, grapes and crabapples as well as hops and various vegetables ... as well as 10 different varieties of roses. Damn TV gardening shows made it look so easy. This Old House hasn't helped either. Bought a large 1892 house ... had some romantic notion of restoring an old house. Uh huh. I think I've worked that mostly out of my system finally. Have rewired and restored most of it. Might as well have put in heirloom apples too while I was at it.

You're right about the crabs though, they really work out nicely in the cider.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:55 AM   #9
MizooBrew
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Jul 2011
Missoula, MT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob_Marley View Post
I'd say save your money for the moment and instead, digest everything you can from this website.
http://www.cider.org.uk
This website is a goldmine!
Thanks for all the replies everyone, I am a bit of a bibliophile myself, so I will definitely look into the texts listed. I would like to get some trees, perhaps I should look into the science of grafting... Then I could get a few trees with multiple varieties! I will definitely contact local orchards and see what they suggest for hard cider blends in my area.

 
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:27 PM   #10
Joe_in_CT
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Sep 2011
Greenwich, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob_Marley View Post
digest everything you can from this website.
http://www.cider.org.uk
Andrew Lea is also active on the Cider Workshop Google Group.

http://groups.google.com/group/cider-workshop?hl=en

Lea's book "Craft Cider Making " is nice.

For those who can read a bit of French there are some nice resources.

http://www.ifpc.eu/kiosque.html

The "Guide pratique de la fabrication du cidre" was recommended by Andrew Lea...

 
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