Opinions on eating apples for cider

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Chalkyt

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Due to adverse weather conditions last spring, most of the apple trees in our district lost their blossoms and are producing hardly any fruit. I will be lucky to have 50 assorted apples from my trees this Autumn, not even enough for a gallon of cider. In fact my Fameuse/Pomme de Neige has none! So, I will need to use "bought" juice.

Typically, my ciders will be any combination of Fameuse/Pomme de Neige, Cox's Orange Pippin, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Crimson Knight Crabs, Ballerina plus a couple of unknown wild trees, so normally I have scope to make some interesting stuff.

The question is, in the absence of my usual selection what varieties of "drinking" juice are useful for cider. Fortunately, I have access to "drinking" juice from an orchard that wasn't affected by the sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds. They have five single varieties of juice as well as some undefined "family favourite blends". Two of the single varieties are relatively high TA/low pH (Granny Smith and Pink Lady), and three are the opposite being low TA/high pH (Fuji, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious). They should start picking and processing over the next few months.

The only guide that I have is from a popular Tasmanian cider (which I quite like) which lists its ingredients as 70% Fiji, Royal Gala and Pink Lady with 30% "traditional" English or French cider apples but without any idea as to the mix. Unfortunately, "proper" cider apples are quite rare here in Oz unless people grow their own, so there is no chance of getting hold of any.

It seems to me that the right blend where I have some control would be better than a nondescript supermarket juice, even if it costs twice as much. I imagine that whatever I get may need a bit of fiddling with malic acid and tannin.

What do people think? All opinions are welcome.
 
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When I used to make a lot of hard cider in Vermont, we used apples from the many feral trees near the farm I was at. They were a random combination of older varieties of mostly eating apples and yield from any given tree varied from year to year. The cider varied too, but was always pretty good.
 
black tea tannin works very well also
Meh.... as long as it doesn't taste like tea, which could taste sort of like raisins and leaves 'n' stuff. I've had several tea beers. Not a fan. I'll stick with walnut shell tannin, which tastes poisonous enough but without so much of the additional flavors that tea brings.
 
I like Jonagold or johnathan as a base (50%) then add 10% macintosh, Granny Smith, and whatever else you can find, but for my taste, I keep the high acid varieties no more than 10-20% and try to find small growers (and pay more$) that sell tree ripened fruit. Your results may vary since your preference and availability of apples will likely be different.
These days, I only make cider if I can get really good apples since I have a large inventory from previous years that needs to be used, but one of my favorites with eating apples was a blend of 10 different varieties.
Sadly in just the last few years all of our local orchards have “pushed over” all the Smokehouse, Northern Spy, Ashmead’s, York, Macoun, Paula red, Grimes golden and other interesting apples I used to get. Most of the trendy apples sold now do not make a fermented cider that I want to drink. Just too much acidity for me.
 
Meh.... as long as it doesn't taste like tea, which could taste sort of like raisins and leaves 'n' stuff. I've had several tea beers. Not a fan. I'll stick with walnut shell tannin, which tastes poisonous enough but without so much of the additional flavors that tea brings.
not tea beer.

i dont like tea beer either.. have you tried black tea tannin in cider or juice wines . i have many times.

2-4 lipton decaf tea bags in 1 cup of water per 1 gallon of juice wine or cider is completely tasteless. and works great IMO.

Supermarket Juice Wine How To guide and Recipes.

this is 165 page thread with hundreds of juice wine recipes most calling for 2-4 bags of black tea.

it works and ferments out completely flavorless.

cheers
 
This is what Thomas Chezem, the author of The Art & Science of Cider, says about ways to add tannins:

The wine approach to adding tannins is to add powdered oak tannins (available thru Amazon). A similar way is to age the cider on oak. My preferred method is to add certain fruit juices. Add them to the cider when you ferment or add them after fermentation. For example, add organic pomegranate juice or concentrate to cider and ferment them together. If you have dried fruit, like elderberries, you might want to add those after the first racking. If you’re using juice, target 6-8 ounces per gallon and add to the primary fermenter. The following will add tannins: pomegranate, elderberry, Manzanita berry, cranberry, citrus peel, oak chips or planks, oak leaves, grape leaves, hops, black tea.
 
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