For what it's worth here's some details of the cider I and some friends made last November. We bought 3.5 cwt of Cider Apples (I think they were called something like "Debunettes"? Dabinettes, ed.) from Jim Franklin, of Franklin's Cider & Perry Fame, Little Hereford (01584) 810488. Jim couldn't have been more helpful - he was happy to sell us the apples and gave us a lot of advice on how to go about making cider.
I had constructed what can only be described as a big food processor to pulverise the apples. It was basically a blade mounted on a spindle driven by a domestic electric drill. The apples were placed in a plastic bucket and pulverised using this device - it works very well, but is rather dangerous and needs a lot of care! All the apples were pulverised on the same day and allowed to stand (in a large Stainless Steel container) for a day or so until they started fermenting of their own accord. We also sprinkled Ascorbic acid on top to reduce browning.
The pulp was then placed in hessian cheeses and pressed in a home made press. This was least successful part of the process - the press was not strong enough to extract all the juices from the pulp. The whole thing would start to bend long before all the juices had run out. Next time we intend to build a stronger press and take much longer to do the pressing (e.g. overnight) to extract the maximum juice. Jim reckoned that we should get at least 30 gallons from 3.5 cwt of apples - in the event we only got 20 gallons at 1055. There again, Jim's press clocks in at 2000 LB's per square inch!!!!
The juice was collected in a 30 gallon plastic bin that was once used to carry Strawberries around. We added 5 LB's of Raisons and let it ferment outside for 3 months. After 3 months we racked it off into 5 gallon barrels and started drinking it a few months later. Next time I'll wash the hessian more thoroughly since the cider had a distinct hessianny taste! - this lead to some wag christening it as "Sacks'N'Socks Cider" (Anglo pun intended!). The cider also matures much better in the barrels than it did in bottles - it keeps so well it doesn't seem worth the effort to bottle.
So all in all very successful - and sooooo easy compared with beermaking!
Ifor Williams: mailto:Ifor_Williams@euro1.ccmail.compuserve.com
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