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Old 08-30-2008, 12:37 AM   #1
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Default 5 apple trees, 1 ornamental crabapple - how would you blend?

My wife and I are long time beer and wine brewers, and have just moved into a house with 5 different verities of apple trees:
Old Fashioned (like Yellow?) Transparent,
McIntosh (or something similar),
Golden Delicious.

In particular the first three are producing a ton right now - we have almost 100 ponds of apples ready to use! While we are excited about making cider (and have access to a small crusher and press), we have no idea about which mix would make good cider. We have decided to make a dry carbonated cider, but do not know if these apples would be good for it. Does anyone have experience with using Lodi or Transparent apples as a base? I couldn't find anything online for either. They are supposed to be good for applesauce, but we'd rather have cider. We have so many of them, but they aren't supposed to keep for long, and the other trees are still a bit underipe. Can we use slightly underipe eating apples to make up for a lack of tart apples? Should we try a batch now and save the other varieties for a late-season mix? What would you do?

We also have a crab-apple tree that produces the small (<1/2 inch diameter) burgundy leaves, blossoms, and crab apples and don't know if they are usable to bring up the tannins (or even useful for any type of human consumption). Would it be better to throw in a handful, or add grape tannin powder, or just let it be?

Thanks a ton for your advice, I look forward to reading sharing & brewing tips!


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Old 08-30-2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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From wikipedia article on crab apples "A small percentage of crab apples in cider makes a more interesting flavour."

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Old 08-30-2008, 02:03 AM   #3
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I wouldn't mix the ornamental crab apples in with the apples. I have two crabapple trees that make awesome wine- but they are actually crabapples grown to eat. You can taste the crabapples you have and see how they are. If the taste well, like apples, you can use them. But I think they might not be very flavorful. True crabapples have a spicy taste to them that is hard to describe, but excellent in cider and wine.

I'm familiar with only transparent apples of the ones you list. I think they make ok pie apples, so that would make a decent cider, I would think. I guess the best thing to do is to press them, and see how the juice is.

I freeze my apples and crabapples before using, since I never seem to have enough at one time. You could do that if you're planning on mixing them and some aren't ready yet.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:56 AM   #4
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I don’t know my apple types, but you could press them and then freeze the juice for later. Then blend to taste.
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