Author Topic: Cider Apple Variety Blending  (Read 4014 times)

Offline gandelf

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Cider Apple Variety Blending
« on: February 05, 2011, 07:06:10 AM »
I have made two batches of cider last fall, a natural dry and one ever so slightly backsweetened. They actually
are turning (3.5 mths old) out better than I had anticipated. In preparation for next fall, I would like to blend and
press my own cider. So, I would appreciate any advice, comments or data concerning blending ratios, apple
varieties and any other pertinent info. I'm located in central WI and Door County has numerous orchards, which
makes apple retrieval fairly easy. As a result, I wold not be interested in cider apples grown in England or Zimbabwe.
Thanks
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Offline alikocho

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 10:34:40 AM »
My advice on varietals would be English, so I won't give you that.

But, you should think about how you want to blend. You can do it by weight of apple, or by volume of juice (pressing each variety separately). The latter will allow you to taste you blend pre-fermentation and adjust.
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Offline gandelf

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 02:05:09 PM »
Thanks alikocho, I didn't think of pressing each apple variety separate and then blend the cider
from each to derive the flavor profile I'm looking for. That would also be a great way to derive a
sense for each apple's flavor/aroma characteristics and it's contribution to the cider blend as a
whole.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 02:30:46 PM »
Check with the orchards, they may have some suggestions for blends and they may do a fermentation blend for you.  The place I get cider blends for drinking, but one of the clubs in my area knows of an orchard where they blend with fermentation in mind.  I missed it this year, but plan to get some for next year.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 08:04:44 PM »
I'm planting my own friggin orchard.  Already got the Cortland, Honeycrisp, and Sweet 16 out back for the past year, and this year I'm thinking of planting either a Foxwhelp or Kingston Black to provide not just flavor but also astringency and acid -- these are the most popular of the so-called "bittersharp" varieties.
Dave

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Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 07:25:15 AM »
You know what would be an interesting venture?  Setting up a company to grow exclusively the bittersharp apple varieties...foxwhelp, kingston black, and others...and then juicing them, and pasteurizing them to the point of shelf stability and bottling in plastic 1gal jugs.  Then sell through brewing supply channels.

You can get apple juice blended for basic drinking that is given this treatment for 3 or 4 bucks a gallon, sometimes cheaper.  I imagine the bittersharp juice would be much more expensive, but imagine buying bittersharp juice for 10 bucks a gallon, blending with 4 gallons of sweet juice, for cider making?  I would totally do it. 

As it is now, I'm pretty much stuck with lesser ciders.  Never have found a fermentation-friendly orchard.  Besides, its a bit of a hassle! 

Offline bonjour

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 09:12:10 AM »
We had an Orchard/Cider Mill do custom pressings for our club, 3 pressings

Qty is in crates of apples
Cider tart 12.3 brix 12.7 100 gal
10 ri green
16 Arkansas black

Super sweet 13.6 brix 13.2
6 runkle
3 red delicious
4 Joni gold
3 jonathan
4 mixed

sweet 13 brix
Red Rome 3
Honey crisp 2.5
Jona gold 5
Northern spy 2
Arkansas black 4

This can move a lot of cider for them so ask.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 11:28:30 AM »
I have no idea if they sell 'sweet' cider or apples or what but this place looks pretty cool for you new englanders

http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/

I saw an interview with the guy who started this orchard in Michael Pollen's Botany of Desire

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 03:03:21 PM »
imagine buying bittersharp juice for 10 bucks a gallon, blending with 4 gallons of sweet juice, for cider making?  I would totally do it. 

Initially this sounds like a fantastic idea.  But then I'm thinking... you'd need to be able to sell it, and I'm not certain of how huge the market would be.  Though I guess nowadays, with dirt cheap internet advertising, it might be doable.  But for small local markets... I guess I don't know.  But I'm totally with you.  If I could buy a couple gallons of bittersharp cider every year to blend with my own, I'd be all set.  For $10 to $15 per gallon, yeah, I wouldn't even think twice -- just do it.  Every year.  Could be an interesting venture.
Dave

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Offline euge

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 10:57:29 PM »
We had an Orchard/Cider Mill do custom pressings for our club, 3 pressings

Qty is in crates of apples
Cider tart 12.3 brix 12.7 100 gal
10 ri green
16 Arkansas black

Super sweet 13.6 brix 13.2
6 runkle
3 red delicious
4 Joni gold
3 jonathan
4 mixed

sweet 13 brix
Red Rome 3
Honey crisp 2.5
Jona gold 5
Northern spy 2
Arkansas black 4

This can move a lot of cider for them so ask.

I'm surprised there's eatin apples in that list. And Jonagold is probably my favorite.

You know what would be an interesting venture?  Setting up a company to grow exclusively the bittersharp apple varieties...foxwhelp, kingston black, and others...and then juicing them, and pasteurizing them to the point of shelf stability and bottling in plastic 1gal jugs.  Then sell through brewing supply channels.

All you gotta do is make it happen... It's a great idea. Walmart's $3.99 so I would pay extra for the real thing.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline enso

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Re: Cider Apple Variety Blending
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2011, 11:49:43 AM »
You know what would be an interesting venture?  Setting up a company to grow exclusively the bittersharp apple varieties...foxwhelp, kingston black, and others...and then juicing them, and pasteurizing them to the point of shelf stability and bottling in plastic 1gal jugs.  Then sell through brewing supply channels.
I have no idea if they sell 'sweet' cider or apples or what but this place looks pretty cool for you new englanders

http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/

I saw an interview with the guy who started this orchard in Michael Pollen's Botany of Desire

Poverty Lane/Farnum Hill does grow and sell cider apples and other heritage varieties of apples.  They will also sell cider stock for fermenting in the fall.  Just bring your carboy(s) and they will fill it.  Last I checked it is about $8 a gallon.  Not much help to you in WI, but ask around.  You may find a source out there.  You can buy apples direct from them online I believe.  They also supply regional grocery stores with some varieties.  Less so of the cider apples at stores.  Steve Wood the owner is a pretty nice guy.  Knows his apples!

You can make decent cider with common eating apple varieties, but if you want the good stuff you need at least some bittersweet/sharp varieties in the mix.  I have made loads of cider from apples growing unnattended.  Many abandoned orchards up here in VT.  They are ususally pretty acidic though.   :P

I will bet you can find some orchards over there which grow some cider varieties.  They will likely be English/French varieties but grown there in WI.  You do not need large amounts, in fact it can become unpalatable if you put too many of certain bittersharp varieties.  There are only a few that will make good "singe varietal" ciders.  Use more familiar apples such as Liberty for the base cider and then "spice" it with some cider apples like Kingston Black, Harry Masters Jersey, or Somerset Redstreak.  If you cannot find anyone growing any cider varieties (though I bet you will if you ask around) then you can add very small amounts of crab apples to get some of the tannins and acidity.  Be careful though.  These can over power quickly!

If you do want to grow your own or just read about some cider apple varieties check these folks out.

http://www.cumminsnursery.com/cidervar.htm

Get out and start talking to the orchardists.  If you show some knowledge and interest I am sure they will be happy to talk apples with you and point you in the right direction!  Sharing some of your cider efforts can't hurt either!
Dave Brush