What apples or apple blends make the best cider?

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Srimmey

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I have a great store I live next to, it’s called Safeway. They have so many kinds of cider, all is under $10 a gallon.

My choices are listed below, which single or blend makes the best cider? The only thing I can’t find which I would love is a cider made from gravinstine apples. I will have more luck when the local orchards harvest again next September/October.

I understand that it’s best to use multiple apple types to get a good complex cider (especially when dry). That being said I’ve had some AMAZING cider purely from gravenstines. I can get bowermans stander dry cider there too which is phenomenal. Maybe someday I can hit that level…preferably at a price less that $10 for a single 12oz bottle.

1. Honeycrisp
2. Opal
3. Pink lady
4. Treetop 3 apple blend (Granny Smith, red and gold delicious)
4. Treetop Sweet and tart (Granny Smith)
 

Chalkyt

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Well... another "long-winded" reply... There are as many views on this as there are cider makers. Although we would all like to have access to traditional cider apples like Kingston Black, Dabinet, Yarlington Mill etc, that ain't the real world because we don't all live in Europe or the U.K..

We are all pretty much locked into making do with what is called "new world" cider, i.e. cider made from what is available either from trees we can access or store-bought juice.

I can only speak from my experience here in Oz where our market seems to be split into two segments... the big producers who unfortunately seem to go down the path of AJC plus water plus yeast plus filtering plus sugar plus bottling, or the multitude of craft producers who use eating apples to make a "new world" cider that is about 5% ABV with about 10g/L of sugar to cater to the general public (or sometimes fully fermented "dry" cider... google, Willie Smith or Simple Cider)

From the little information available. it seems that blends of Pink Lady, Fuji, Royal Gala, Granny Smith (i.e not so sweet eating apples) seem to be used a lot by the small producers. There may be an emerging move towards single origin ciders like Pink Lady or Granny Smith... a bit like wine (shiraz, pinot noir, etc)

My experience from using my own apples (Red Delicious, Pomme de Neige, Ballerina, Granny Smith, Cox,s Orange Pippin plus crab apples when I can get them) is that almost any blend is quite good as long as you adjust (i.e add malic acid where necessary) for pH and TA, so that you start with a pH of around 3.6 and T.A. of about 6g/L. Most of the above apples will start with a pH greater than 4.0 and a T.A. in the order of 3g/l, so inherently they will be a bit "flabby" without some intervention.

I have certainly had some good results from a Red Delicious and Granny Smith blend with some malic acid adjustment, fermented to 1.008, bottled then heat pasteurised to stop fermentation and keep a touch of sweetness at 1.004 for a slightly carbonated quaffer.

Thus endeth my "rave-on" for a Sunday evening! I am sure you can produce a good cider from the list you have.
 

hawkwing

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For me it’s whatever apples I get for free. Lately that’s been green apples of some kind. I always have to add sugar to hit my preferred ABV then I sulfite and sorbate before back sweetening.
 
OP
OP
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Srimmey

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Made up another 5 gallons today using a blend of what I had available at the store. Listed my notes and plans below. As always, feedback is much appreciated.

Cherry cider
Started 11/20/22
OG = 1.080
Target abv = 10%

5 lb honey, 1 gal sweet/tart Granny Smith cider 2 gal pink lady cider, 1.5 gal opal cider

71b yeast, rehydrated with 6 grams of gofirm 3 hours prior to pitching
Added 8 grams of fermaide K with pitch

6-10lb of frozen tart cherries, pectin enzymes and 5oz of med toasted American oak chips planned for secondary after cider is stabilized.

Rerack after 2-4 weeks in secondary for clearing, bottle/keg by march. Drink on Easter Sunday.
 

Old Medic

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We have an Orchard next door, and permission to get whatever. We always wait till after a freeze and hunt for left over Pink Ladys... extra sweet, picked about 15 gallons yesterday. Always canned them up, but wanting to try doing a cider.
 
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