Cider No.2

cider no.2 pressing

I have to say that two of the ciders from last year have aged well – Tally Ho! and Half-Cock (and Cock On – the naturally carbonated cider which was essentially Half-Cock). Tally Ho! was our random cider, but as it’s so good I’ve decided to try and recreate it, throwing a few other varieties in but keeping the core varieties the same – namely Harvey, Sanspareil, Ashmead’s Kernel and Barnack Orange.

It also had Ribston Pippin and Wyken Pippin, but we had neglible amounts of those this year, so chucked in Allington Pippin’s instead.

The make up, by rough volume, was as follows:

Harvey (19%)
Sanspareil (19%)
Allington Pippin (15%)
Hoary Morning (15%)
Queen (8%)
Barnack Orange (6%)
White Melrose (3%)
Medaille D’Or (3%)
Dabinett (2%)
Yarlington Mill (2%)
Marriage Maker (2%)
Random apples (6%)

The apples were a mix of windfalls and plucked from the tree, about 1:2 ration, and were left to sweat outside in baskets for a fortnight. We lost about 5% before pressing. I also took specific gravity and pH readings of the four main varieties, to keep as records. They were as follows:

[avia_table]

Edit Specific Gravity pH
Sanspareil 1.046 3.3
Harvey 1.055 3.2
Allington Pippin 1.060 3.0
Hoary Morning 1.050 3.2

[/avia_table]

The Allington Pippin was a shock as records from BRSquared’s website shows an SG of much less – around 1.048

I also broke the various apple’s attributes down roughly into the acid/sweet/bitter mix I wanted.

Roughly – very roughly – the above broke down into the following percentages:

45% subacid
42% sweet
7% bittersweet
6% random (unknown)

Rightly, or wrongly, I assumed sub acid (such as the dual purpose Queen) to count as half sweet, half acid. Sweets are sweet. Bittersweet again, half bitter, half sweet.

The following percentages popped out of the rather dubious maths:

22.5% acid
68% sweet
3.5% bitter

For a good mix in a cider we actually want to get as close to a 35/65 mix of cookers to eaters – or acid to sweet. Some suggest down to 20% cookers, especially if they’re quite a tart cooker like a Bramley. For me, the numbers above seemed about right.

In practice I measured the final Specific Gravity and pH of the pressed juice and it came to 1.054 and 2.9 respectively. Slightly more acid than I’d have hoped, but still good nonetheless – better too low than too high (too acidic than too alkaline), as it’s more likely to preserve better. The potential alcohol is level is also good – if fermented to dryness then we’ll be looking at an ABV of just under 7%.

Having failed miserably to intercept the first cider early enough to rack it with some residual sugar so that it could naturally carbonate in the bottle, I’m determined to not miss this one.

Cider No.1 & Perry Pressing Day

True to form, the weekend nearest the 1st October seems to be our first early pressing. The varieties uses can be seen in the Cider No.1 post from a few days ago and all we did was add a few Bountifuls – a subacid cooker that is quite sweet. It seems to be a decent filler apple, not upsetting the balance too much.

A beer-making friend, Matt (aka “Random”), came down from Yorkshire for the experience, and went away with a gallon of juice pressed from his own trees – sounds like there’ll be another cider-maker his way soon! We took it reasonably steady and managed 68 pints – 50 pints of Cider No.1 (SG 1.052), 8 pints of Matt’s “No Name” (SG 1.046), and 8 pints of a Blakeney Red perry pear and Cider No.1 50/50 mix (SG 1.048).

It’s the first time I’ve used perry pears, and as they’d fallen from the tree over a week ago, I thought it best to experiment rather than lose them. It’s the first crop from that tree and I’ve read it makes a decent single variety perry, but we only had a half-demijohn worth! As the books said, we scratted them the day before, leaving 24 hours before pressing.