Cider Time

It’s a time of year when some-time beer brewers think about turning other things into alcohol. Personally I’m not a great fan of putting fruits into beer, for me it’s all about the malt and hops. I am, however, partial to the occasional cider, and I particularly like my cider to taste of apples (I know, how strange, Kopparberg are definitely not aiming at me). Mass-produced cider tends to be homogenised beyond taste to produce the cheapest possible alcohol content, although the recent “cloudy” versions have added some more interesting flavours.

So, producing home-made cider is definitely on the agenda, and this year we’ve been lucky enough to procure enough apples* and have invested in a scratter and a press, and roughly 30 litres of cider has been the result. The first effort was a mix of some Ben’s Reds and other local (unknown) apples, which seems to have produced a pleasant apply dry cider which we’re trying to leave for a few months to mature. Since we know the taste you can guess that we’ve tried a bottle of the dozen or so we made – and of course shared a few with the apple donators! Our second, larger effort was again from Ben’s Reds, all the way from Cornwall, plus a decent quantity of Bramleys from a tree across the road. It’s in the second racking stage waiting for me to get around to bottling it, so I can’t report a taste test yet.

Yes, you’re supposed to use mixtures of sweet and sharp apples and specific varieties are grown for cider, but when the raw material is effectively free apart from the time to pick it, it’s hard not to. It’s certainly simpler than beer brewing, at least at the basic level, although a little more physical effort if you’re scratting and pressing by hand!

* Thanks to the tree owners who generously offered their trees for picking

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