Cider making is often thought to be an exacting art, by many people. There are similarly many who treat it as a totally random process, often ending up with some rank and unpleasant drink. By dint of great skills (I like to think!) I have had only glowing tributes thus far for my cider.
The apple varieties may be less relevant than their maturity and the season which produced them - with sugars and subtle flavours all changing annually. This is no different to the grapes which create a great wine versus a mediocre one.
My preference has always been to keep it simple! All the apples are pulped, as when making juice, using the electric masher. The extracted juice is then poured into a variety of barrels, yeast added and a fermentation bubbler attached.
Eventually the bubbling will stop indicating that the fermentation is complete. Some of the cider is decanted into “bag-in-a-box” containers. Once in these containers the cider will keep for several years if you really wanted it to! We send the rest to local processors to be carbonated and bottled.
The alcohol content: measuring this is something of an art form with a little control, and starts with the juice before fermentation! This identifies the specfic gravity. Our bottled cider is at 6%, while the dry bag-in-a-box is c.5.5%
You should be aware that drinking this cider, which is always best at room temperature for “bag-in-a-box”, unless part of some elaborate chilled cocktail or in mulled form, makes it very “drinkable” and knocking back 2 or 3 pints is an effortless achievement. Drink carefully!
The bottled cider is best served chilled, and is of a medium dry nature.