Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed was a Bible wielding, apple seed dealing man who traveled around the US planting apple orchards in rural areas.
We took advantage of Johnny’s labors and the season this year to made 60 gallons of hard cider.
Our cidery produces dry, champagne like ciders. To achieve this we employ champagne yeast, both Lavin ec-1118 and Red Star Premier Cuvee are ones we like.
After crushing and juicing, fermentation occurs towards the lower end of the yeasts temperature range, around 60 degrees. A cool and slow fermentation helps to preserve delicate aromas that would otherwise be lost during a very vigorous fermentation.
Cider will fully ferment in approximately four weeks with final gravity approaching 1.000. At this point, in the absence of sugar, the cider’s flavor will be dominated by harsh acid which will mellow during secondary fermentation as malolactic bacteria convert malic acid into lactic acid. This process can take approximately six months And will result in a pleasant acid that will eventually become the backbone of the cider and will provide you with a gentle reminder that you are not drinking water!
Like wine, cider will benefit from extended aging past secondary fermentation. I have found cider to reach its peak flavor after one year, resembling a light Riesling. At three years, cider continues to develop complexity and can assume charicteristics similar to that of intense and full bodied white wines like Muscat.
Most of our cider is kegged and served carbonated. Several gallons are kept separate and bottled along with exactly 5 dehydrated blueberries per 12oz to achieve a naturally carbonated and slightly flavored cider. We also aged 5 gallons on wine soaked medium toast oak for 5 months resulting in A profile of soft apple with hint of vanilla and a nice tannin presence with moderate tartness.