Things have gone very quiet in the ciderhouse. Fermentation has finished in all but a couple of vats, and it's now just a waiting game until the cider is ready to drink/sell. At this stage, during the really cold Winter days, I like to remove the airlocks and replace them with something more solid. This gives me the ideal opportunity to see how things have developed since the racking off in January.
A Chicken Baster is the ideal tool for this task. A suck and a squirt into a waiting sample glass is all it takes, before the fermenter is screwed down and sealed. I sampled from half the fermenters, and was very pleased to find that the ciders range from good to very nearly excellent, even at this early stage. The Welland Valley Cider, which was the earliest cider we pressed, is ridiculously 'Appley' and probably ready to drink now, which is a shame as this is destined for the Welland Valley Beer Festival in June. The other fermenters are still a little young, and will certainly improve over the next few weeks, but even these are clear, fruity, and eminently drinkable. Fermentation was a little quicker this season, and the ciders seem to be more advanced than previous years, so we may be able to start supplying our cider to our regular outlets a little sooner than we thought. Keep an eye on this Blog for news.