crab apple cider

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mooney

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I made a batch of cider a few years ago, up where I used to live there was an abandoned orchard of only about 30 trees I used to play inn as a kid. all the apples just rot so I went out scrumping with my little
Sister and cousin. We got allot if apples and could have got so many more if they had been as enthusiastic as I was. not knowing any thing we picked allot of the small apples in the small trees which I suspect were crab apples.
And lots of wind fall and a mix of everything. When I got home I literally filled my bath to overflowing, showered them down and had a loan of a cider press off my local home brew shop £10 for 3 days. Took a hell of a time to press but ended up with 60 pints at about 1.045.
Chucked in a pack of champagne yeast to try win a turf war with what ever wild yeast were in there. It fermented dry, I chucked a t spoon of Sugar in each 500ml bottle and bottled and it was the worst thing ever. Was so tart. even with a year in the bottle or mixed with diluting juice it was still never quite drinkable.
where did I go so badly wrong? It put me of brewing for a year or two and now i'm back brewing mead. I want to try cider again.
I have no way of knowing what apples are growing in the orchard otter than every tree is different. is there a was to taste apples and tell which would be good for cider? And dose mixing types usually work? I think I'll avoid the easy to pick small apples but also some residual sweetness would be nice. Would stabilizing and back sweetening be the way to do this as is the way with mead? Thanks for reading my rambling disaster story.
 

sashurlow

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I had a similar disaster story with local crabs. Myself and a friend tried to improve my bad cider and neither one of us accomplished anything drinkable. Simply put, know what apples you are putting in.
If you wanted to use crab apples, you could start with a solid base of sweet apples and then use crabs in give it taste. But don't add too many of them. Maybe do a couple small batches with different amounts of the old orchard's apples.
 

gregbathurst

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When you use a generic term like crab apples, it is difficult to make useful conclusions. There are so many different species and cultivars, and a great deal of genetic diversity. I have bitten into a lot of different crabs, some are so bitter your mouth makes the "cats anus" expression and all the saliva disappears from your mouth courtesy of the tannin. Others are very sweet with just a modest amount of bitterness. Mostly they are fairly high acid, what you could call bittersharp. I pressed some crabs yesterday from a tree that is a seedling of "John Downie" and the sg was 1.073 with pH around 3.5, very nice juice with plenty of body. (southern hemisphere summer here). Crabs can be well worth experimenting with, but there are no hard and fast rules.
 

Pommeau

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Astringent crabs add body to cider. Try a Norman cider apple, it'll suck all the moisture out of your mouth.
Try backsweetening with apple juice (uk equivalent to US's sweet cider).

Tart is no problem at all, you can balance with sweet.
 

Aber1a

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Maybe you should have tried some camp den tablets or potassium metabisulphite in the beginning about 24 hours before pitching yeast it will help to kill any nasties left on the apples along with the wild yeast so your champagne yeast had room to grow and produce alcohol on its own there are many recipes on the net to use as guidelines just b sure to check gravity b4 adding sugar so you can add the right amount to hit your target alcohol%age
 
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