Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sulgrave Orchard Slider

The making of Slider fits nicely into the natural order of the cidermaking year. The Sloe Gin we made in November is now ready to decant, filter, and bottle-up; and by a happy coincidence the new-season cider is ready to receive the gin-soaked sloes.

Slider is a longer, less potent version of the many spirit-based fruity concoctions which are traditionally made throughout Europe. The sloes from a batch of Sloe Gin are given a second life, re-used to flavour a similar batch of cider. We made a Slider last season, but got the timing slightly wrong, meaning there was only a limited amount of our own cider available for the experiment. Nevertheless, what we did manage to make came out very well indeed, so this year we've decided to do things properly.

The cider we've used is our Sulgrave Orchard Cider, fruity and sharp which should take the herbal richness of the sloes well. We've made up a gallon this time, so the flavour will probably be less pronounced, but we hope that a longer maturing time will help draw out more of the sloe character. The Slider will be under airlock throughout the 2 or 3 months of maturation, so there should be no chance of the whole experiment becoming explosive through fermentation!

The Slider should be ready in time for the Welland Valley Beer Festival in June. It's a strictly non-commercial experiment so if you see me at the festival do ask for a sample, I'll be carrying a bottle or two for the purpose.

As you can see, Dolly insisted on getting into this picture. I think the hens were very disappointed that the sloes didn't come their way. Patience girls, your time will come...

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