Saturday, 17 November 2007

Christmas is coming...

With no cider left from the 2006 vintage to sell, and only a bottle or two left for our own drinking pleasure, there will be no Rockingham Forest Cider delivered by Santa this year. We'll have to remember to put a few bottles by next year, but in the meantime we've created a few branded items we're sure friends and family will be only too happy to receive as a Christmas stocking filler! The design used for the various items is our lovely logo, which was designed for us by the outrageously talented Leicestershire artist, and old friend of ours, Diana Fegredo (that's old friendship, not old Diana!). Diana has just begun an exhibition of her work at the Victoria Hall, Oakham, which will run until 28th November. Another great Christmas shopping opportunity.

There is a link at the bottom of this page to our expanding range of branded items, and with the exchange rate as it is, this is a good time to buy from this American site.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The Final Turn of the Screw

Ok, so this is perhaps not the most exciting video to be found on the Internet, but it's highly significant for us nevertheless. This is a video record of this year's very last pressing, a juicy blend of Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Brown's Apple; and absolutely the last cider apples that will pass through these hands until next year's cidermaking season. Enthusiasm for the hard graft of cidermaking was definitely on the wane, and those old injuries, and the inevitable strains and pains of lifting and shovelling were starting to take their toll.

Having said that, there is something very satisfying about watching several gallons of dark, sweet juice flowing from a well made 'cheese' of apple pulp, and the steady burble of gasses escaping from airlocks has a busy, industrious cadence, which drives you on to press more apples, fill more barrels, make more delicious cider........

Oh dear! I think it's definitely time to hang up the rubber gloves for another year. This cidermaking malarkey could become a bit of a habit.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

The Ciderhouse is now filled with a fizzing, bubbling assortment of juice-filled fermenting tubs. We've almost hit our target of 1000 litres, and still hope to achieve this when the final few sacks of apples are pressed later this week. The juice has been checked with a hydrometer, and should give us a cider with an alcohol level of around 6.5%, which is just about where we like it to be. High enough in alcohol to prevent the cider from spoiling in storage, but not so strong as to put cautious drinkers off from trying our cider.

The yeast is merrily doing it's bit for the cidery cause, and in the process creating the unmistakable, slightly skunky odour of fermenting fruit. This is a good thing, even though Karen wrinkles her nose up at the smell whenever she ventures into the ciderhouse. The racket coming from below our bedroom is not so good. I've had to put large pebbles on top of some of the airlocks to stop them rising up and crashing down with a hollow 'thock' every few seconds. If things don't calm down soon (unlikely to be honest) we may have to take a short vacation in the spare bedroom, at least until the snap, crackle, and pop of fermentation eases off a little.