Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gravenstein Cider 2012

Recently I've been brewing quite a bit of cider. However, if you exclude the last two months or so it actually has been quite a while since I did a cider.  I'm guessing it was probably a year or so ago that I brewed a cider that's currenlty ready f and that batch as with all the previous ones used regular apple juice from my supermarket. Those batches were pretty good, but lacked the strong appley flavor I really like in an English Scrumpy or a Normandy Cidre. Now this is unfortunately due to the complete lack of cider apples in my part of the US. I do have access to great fresh local Gala, Red Delicious, and I actually have Anna and Dorsett Golden in my yard, but while many of these are great eating apples they really lack punch once fermented.

To brew up a truly great hard cider (English style) you really need a balance of bittersweet, sweet, and sharp apples. I hope to one day be lucky enough to live somewhere that I can easily source fresh juice or grow cider apples myself, however until that happens I'm hoping that Ive come up with a good short term fix (cider experiment - as many varietal ciders as I can make)

One of my all-time favorite eating apples are Gravenstein. They are truly an amazing apple! They are to apples what Royal Blenheim are to apricots. Gravensteins unfortunately don't keep particularly well, so you don't see them very often as whole fruit in the market. To add insult to injury much of the acreage of this variety has been torn up over the years and replaced with things like Gala, Golden Delicious, etc, just because they look nicer and keep longer. Which from a commercial standpoint is great, but as far as my taste buds are concerned its a tragedy. Lucky for me though, much of the Gravenstein crop finds its way (especially in the last few years) into a varietal juice available at places like Trader Joes or Whole Foods.

This year I decided to clear out my local Trader Joes of all of the Gravenstein Juice and (hopefully) make a great appley cider, or at least something that will blend well with my other cider endeavors recently (Fuji, Granny Smith, Grimes Golden)

For yeast I decided, mostly because I have copious amounts of it around right now, but party because Ive heard/tasted good things about it, to use White Labs English Cider Yeast. I'm hoping the yeast, as White Labs claims, will accentuate the apple flavors in cider. Another addition that I'm up in the air about is whether or not I will add malolactic bacteria. Ive read bits and pieces about using it in ciders but no one seems to have done a side by side comparison to see how much it impacts the final cider. So if anyone knows of any good info about this I'm all ears!

Gravenstein Cider 2012
Amt Type
3galGravenstein Juice
3/8tspWyeast Yeast Nutrient
YeastWLP775 English Cider (Slurry)
Notes:  Its happily bubbling away at about 60F; Nutrient was boiled in a small amount of water and added to the juice prior to adding yeast.  I did this because I've noticed lots of hydrogen sulfide production in my last few ciders, and none in my starters.

Granny Smith Varietal CiderHaldi Farms Varietal Cider

Review - 2/3/2013 - Comparison w Granny Smith and Haldi Varietals


Gus said...

Well, split the batch at racking and malo-ferment half. Or not?

Anonymous said...

Any news on how this turned out?

Anonymous said...

You don't seem to finish your blogs. :( Your experiments look interesting. I wish I knew how they turn out.

Ryan said...

Anon - Its not that I dont finish, Im just patient for aging somethings and particular the cider. Though this cider and the others are probably coming into their prime soon so I will try to post some results!

Anonymous said...

It seems you have not finished...The last post was over 3 years ago with still no FG...Just sayin'!

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