The cider has finished fermenting and has been moved to secondary — to carbonate and to mellow. It is strong. It’s about 10% alcohol at the moment and very dry and tart. We’ll be sweetening one of the two gallons with some local honey (which should bring down the alcohol content) and leaving the other alone. It’s going to be good. We should probably let it age much longer than we are planning, but it might be something that we try again. Because while I am not wearing a sling, my arm is still delicate and I can’t be repetitively chopping apples. I’ve been trying to take it easy and so far so good. Next up though, Brendan is going to brew some Pumpkin Beer. Yummy.
We decided this weekend that we were going to expand brewing operations and make some hard cider. On Saturday, Brendan bought a large selection of hard ciders to try and also started working on a plan to make a cider press.
We won’t be replicating our clear favorite cider — Cherry Tree by Original Sin — but we will definitely be buying more of that; so delicious!
Yesterday we priced apples in bulk at the Farmer’s Market and decided that we’d go out to an orchard (about an hour from here) and do some major picking — dropped apples are half price!
The kids were good sports about it. Johnny was not a fan of seeing or stepping on rotten apples but Bridget got pretty good at helping us pick. Four buckets and $22 later we had the raw ingredients.
Brendan spent the rest of the afternoon and evening building us a rig for pressing. It’s just a simple frame and a bucket with holes, some circles of wood and a jack. This morning we tried it out. We chopped, processed slightly and then bundled apples in cheese cloth, put them in-between the wood circles and got to pressing. The kids were very excited at the start, but were quickly bored. We got about three presses in when we heard a crack.
We managed to get about half a gallon of cider before we had to call it quits to make repairs. The cider is pretty darn good though — it’s about 1/2 sweet 1/2 tart in the mixture — Mutzu from the orchard, a few Jonagolds from the orchard and some Fujis and Red Delicious from the store. Brendan’s out getting more bolts and we’ll be starting back up again to get all the apples processed. Hopefully the ones we put in what I’m now calling the “Fermenting Room” (just a portion of a storage area in the basement that currently has two beers working) will be delicious come Thanksgiving/MuskoX-mas.
After replacing the top 2X6 beams and adding extra bolts and screws for strength, we went back to it — this time just with Mutzu and Jonagolds.
I was a chopping machine! Things went much more smoothly.
And we ended up with about 2.5 gallons of very yummy cider. Plus, we got it all done before any bees showed up to our cider party.