Last fall I made a very short trip down the highway to a local cidery, where I picked up 20 gallons of fresh-pressed apple cider. Some of this was kept unfermented for the offspring, but I did make two separate batches of adult cider for my/my wife’s enjoyment.
The first of these is now done and in the keg. This is my traditional cider that I brew each year – 5 gallons of fresh-pressed cider to which I add a teaspoon of pectic enzyme, and 12 hours later a packet of Nottingham yeast.
After 3 weeks of fermentation the cider was transferred to a secondary carboy. Here it sat until it was ready – AKA, I ran out of beer and needed a keg of something (roughly 4 months). At kegging I add a bit of acid blend and wine tannin, to taste, roughly 1 tbsp of acid blend and 1 tsp of tannin. This adds a bit of body and balance to the cider. The cider is then kegged, force carbonated, and is ready for enjoyment.
2018 Traditional Cider – Tasting Notes
Appearance: Golden and highly effervescent. No head to speak of.
Aroma: The cider smells very “bright”, with strong notes of apples and yeast.
Flavour: A strong apple cider flavour that is very dry. Balance is provided by a bright acidity, rather than by the more common back-sweetening you find in many commercial ciders. After taste is a lingering apple flavour and dryness.
Mouthfeel: The tannins give the cider a bit of body, making it medium-bodied and not overly thin. The tannins are important, as without backsweetening, the cider would lack any sort of body to balance the dry apple character. The cider is highly carbonated, which alongside the acidity of the cider, has a bit of a “bite” on the palette. Despite its dryness, it is whetting on the palette and very thirst quenching.
Overall: I brew this cider using this recipe every year for a reason – it is exactly what I like in a cider. It isn’t a sugar bomb like so many commercial ciders. Instead it is dry, light, crisp and refreshing. You can easily pound a pint of it, but it also has a depth of flavour that allows it to be enjoyed more slowly. This would be the perfect summer drink…if only I could keep it around that long.