The weather has finally turned and it looks like spring may actually be here. The warming weather is also a sign that it is time to start to seeing what all of our work over the fall/winter has produced. The ciders that were started last fall have finished fermenting and are ready for some tasting! Although there has been lots of sampling throughout the winter now the cider is mostly done and ready for a more serious taste test. It was also an excuse to the enjoy the sun and sip some cider.
Most apples don’t make a great cider by themselves. The most interesting and complex ciders are usually made from the juice of multiple different apple cultivars. We still like to ferment each juice separately and mix them afterwards. This means that we can taste the cider from each apple by itself and then decide how we want to blend them.
We fermented juice from over 20 different types of local apples. While it is fun to see what each of them tastes like, at this point it takes some effort to be as specific as possible about how each of them are different.
What do they taste like?
Mich like wine doesn’t just taste and smell like grapes, cider doesn’t necessarily only taste like apples. We spent a day tasting, smelling and making notes on each cider. Some of the crabapple batches were noticeable different and unique. The differences between the rest of the ciders were generally pretty subtle, but still helpful for us to know what we are working with. Some are a bit spicy, some are more fruity and as expected, almost all of them were pretty tart.
Next step – blending
After we have notes on all the different ciders, it becomes like a puzzle. What is the best way to combine these flavours together? Which of these will mix well with the other fruit and ingredients we wan’t to play with? Sometimes the best way to figure this out it is to just mix some things together and see how it tastes, but at least with some notes on how each of them taste by themselves we can start our blending with some educated guesses.